21 September 2016

National Cupcake Week: Chocolate Rose Cupcakes

This week is officially National Cupcake week, the 8th annual one organised by British Baker magazine, absolute geniuses. It is from the 19th-25th September, so you have plenty of time to stuff your face still. It has been a hashtag on Twitter this week and quite frankly I think it should be on the news. So I wanted to share a recipe with you for Chocolate Rose Cupcakes that I made a while ago.
The recipe is from the Home Sweet Home recipe book by The Hummingbird Bakery, which contains some great recipe inspiration. These cupcakes are full of flowery fabulousness and has a gorgeous chocolatey taste with a surprise custard inside. What more could a cake lover ask for?
This recipe has several components which can seem overwhelming at first, but you don't need to do them all in one day. The cake contains a Rose water custard which can be made the day before, just remember to put it in the fridge and not leave it out in a warm kitchen, salmonella isn't much fun.
You can also make the cakes the day before you put them all together, as well as the buttercream. I decided to add some crystalised rose petals as decoration, which are super easy to make and can be a good excuse to either treat yourself ,or demand ask that special man or woman in your life to buy you some. Just call me the cake Cupid.
When I make a sponge I usually use my Mum's tried and tested recipe of using the same number of oz for each ingredient and half the number of eggs. E.g. 6oz of butter, self raising flour, sugar, 3 eggs and 1tsp of baking powder for a 6 inch cake, which equates to around 12-14 cupcakes. I then bung it all in (that's a technical term by the way) the food processor and go back to raiding the biscuit tin and dreaming of Bradley Cooper. However this recipe requires a little more attention, you can still consume an obscene amount of biscuits while making it though.
1. First you need to preheat your oven to 170C which is 325F or gas mark 3 and pick yourself out some gorgeous muffin cases.
2. Mix the butter, flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt together in an electric mixer to form a crumb-like consistency. You can use a bowl and a non eletric whisk, but if you are able to it is best to use an electric whisk, otherwise you are going to need some serious Popeye muscle. You also need to sift the cocoa & flour to get some air into the mixture, but if you're letting electricity do the hardwork you don't need to bother.
3.In a jug mix together the milk, eggs and rosewater by hand.
4. This part may seem a bit laborious, but it forms a great batter, so be patient with it and try not to get distracted by thoughts of Daniel Craig smothered in cake batter, yummy or what.
Pour half the milky mixture into the crumb mixture on a slow speed until it's all combined.
Then speed it up and beat the batter until it's smooth, thick and lump free. No one wants clumps of flour in their sponge.
5. Turn the speed back down and gradually add the rest of the milky mixture.
Remember to scrape the sides down regularly when you are mixing the batter.
Don't worry if your mixture is different to any that you've made before. No need to panic that it's pretty watery, it's meant to be. If yours isn't you need to keep mixing until it is.
6. A good way to get the mixture into your beautiful cases is with an ice cream scoop, it helps you bake even cakes so there isn't a fight over the biggest cakes. It depends how big your scoop and cases our, but mine work out around 2 scoops per cake.
7. Bake them in the oven for 20-25 minutes which is a perfect amount of time to check out the new Oasis collection. Make sure the sponge is bouncy to the touch and you can use a skewer to know they are cooked inside, as it will come out clean when you dip it in the sponge.
8. Leave them to cool for a while in the tin, as this will make sure the cases stay tight around the cake.

1. Place the milk and the rosewater in a saucepan and bring it to the boil.

2.In a bowl mix together the egg yolks (keep the whites for the roses), sugar, flour and cornflour to form a paste. If it needs a little oomph to unstiffen it you can add 1 tablespoon of the hot milk.

3.When the milk has boiled remove the pan from the heat and mix 4-5 tablespoons with the paste.

4.Pour it back into the pan with the rest of the milk and return it to the heat.

5.Put those arm muscles to good use and whisk it as fast as you can for 3-4 minutes to make sure the flour and cornflour are fully cooked. Be careful not to overcook your custard, otherwise the eggs may begin to scramble.
L6. Remove from the heat and pour the custard into a baking tray, cover with cling film and set aside until it's completly cool.
1.Mix the icing sugar, cocoa powder and butter on a low speed until it's all combined.
2.Before you give into temptation and eat it all, add the milk and rosewater while mixing on a slow speed.
3.Put the speed on turbo power and beat the buttercream until it's light and fluffy.
Crystallised Rose petals:

These taste exactly how roses smell and are great for when you'd rather get on with eating your cakes, instead of spending hours decorating them.

You will need around two roses depending on how many petals you want to crystalise and how big your roses are. I originally wanted to only crystallise around 25 petals and estimated that there were 12-14 petals on each rose. It turned out that there were 29 on one rose and 23 on another.
So I suggest before you say bye bye to the stem, take apart one rose at a time and you may be surprised how many petals are on one rose. There are lots of flowers that are edible which you can crystalise if you don't fancy buying any roses or cutting them out of the garden (yeah, sorry about that Mum.)
If you have the luxury of a garden you maybe surprised how many of your beautifully grown creations you can actually eat. Here is a great guide on what flowers you can add to your dishes.

1.Paint your petals with egg white both sides to make sure the sugar sticks. You should only need one egg white, so you can freeze the rest or put them in something else.

2.You can either just dip the petals in the sugar or use a spoon and tap off any remaining sugar on the sides of the bowl. Your hands may get pretty sticky so have some wet kitchen paper or a flannel handy.

3.Leave them to dry for a minimum of two hours in a warm room on a sheet of greaseproof paper. An airing cupboard can also help speed up the process and you will know they are dry when they feel hard and brittle.
Don't feel you have to use them all as decoration now because they will keep for several months, maybe even a year if you store them in an airtight container with kitchen or greaseproof paper in between layers.
Putting the custard in the cake:
1. After you've let your cake and custard cool, take a knife and carve a small hole in the middle of the cake. I use a cake hole maker Father Christmas gave me, who I believe bought it off eBay. He's pretty thrifty these days.
2. Spoon lots of custard into the centre of the cake and place the piece of sponge you cut out back in the hole. Don't worry if your custard seems thicker then you'd expect it to be, it's ok and will still taste great.
You can trim the cake you've put back if you want to, but the buttercream will cover it.
I had quite a lot of custard left over, even though I squashed as much as I could into my cakes. If this happens you can put it in the freezer and use it in another batch of cakes. Any excuse to make some more spongey goodness.

Finishing touches:
For a simple way to apply your buttercream use an ice cream scoop. Dollop (another technical term) some on the top of a cake and use a knife or pallette knife of you have one to smooth it out while turning the cake. This will help the buttercream form a swirly shape.
Finally place a petal on the top and enjoy one of your creations, or two or three or even four, let's make it half a dozen.
I hope my explanation doesn't seem like a load of gobbledygook (Delia I'm not) and you don't end up tearing your hair out and crying into your rose water. Using rose as a flavour may seem a little daunting to use and I was ominous to try it. It really does taste good, goes well with the chocolate sponge and the taste or smell isn't overpowering. I really hope you've enjoyed this recipe and I wish you lots of luck with making these beauties. Oh and if you have any leftover buttercream, I'll happily eat it for you.
A giant lemon cupcake I made with lemon buttercream swirl roses and fondant flowers, decorated with pearls and encased in a purple chocolate case.
Second Hand Rose

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