Thursday, 26 September 2013

Dark Chocolate and Cranberry Cupcakes

As I typed the opening lines - "A couple of weeks ago" it occurred to me that it's only here in South Africa that we use "a couple" to mean three or four, and the rest of the world knows it means two! (Could it be because we permit polygamy here in this glorious Kingdom of KwaZulu Natal?! Oh, boy - let's not go there!)

Anyhoo... back to safer territory - baking : )

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about Lindt inspired choc-mint cupcakes and my brain went off on one of its there-could-be-a-theme-here tangents. So, here I am trying out another Lindt Intense inspired combination - dark chocolate and cranberry.

I was in two minds about including cranberries in the cupcake batter (instead of just the icing), but in the end I did. Not many -  just a couple few per cupcake, but enough to add some taste and textural interest without overwhelming the chocolate.

Cranberry Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
Recipe by Tea, Cake and Create

Preheat the oven to 180'C
Prepare 2x 12hole muffin trays with cupcake cases.

2 cups cake flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup boiling water **
1tsp Vanilla (8-10drops of Vanilla Girl vanilla extract)
1/2 cup dried cranberries

** for an extra intense flavour, replace boiling water with a cup of strong, hot, black coffee

Sift together all the dry ingredients. Whisk to combine. Mix in the cranberries.
Make a well in the centre, and pour in the eggs, buttermilk, oil and vanilla.
Mix well.
Add the boiling water. Mix until combined.

Pour into the prepared cupcake cases - do not fill more than halfway!
Bake at 180'C for approx 20min, or until a skewer inserted comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it.
Remove cupcakes from muffin trays to cool.

Ice when completely cool.

Cranberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Recipe by Tea, Cake and Create

5 egg whites
1 cup white sugar
1tsp vanilla extract (or 8-10 drops of Vanilla Girl vanilla extract)
300g butter at room temp, cut into cubes.
125 ml (1/2 cup) cranberry jelly.

Put the egg whites and sugar into a mixing bowl, and place that over a suitable saucepan of simmering water. The bottom of the mixing bowl must not be in contact with the water, and the water should not be boiling.

Whisk constantly, until the sugar granules have dissolved and the mixture is hot to touch.

Move off the stove, and to the mixer.
Using the whisk attachment, whip until it forms a thick and glossy meringue.

When the mixing bowl feels neutral to touch, change over to the paddle attachment, and add the butter one cube at a time, beating on low-medium speed.
It may curdle, but just keep whipping until it reaches a satiny smooth consistency and holds its shape. Add the vanilla extract and cranberry jelly, beat well to incorporate.

Pipe onto cooled cupcakes.

Enjoy...a couple or 3 or 4...
; )


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