Another new recipe from The Hummingbird Bakery – Cake Days cookbook.. hot chocolate cupcakes. The recipe calls for instant hot chocolate powder, so they really are hot chocolate flavoured cupcakes. I found that these cupcakes aren’t as chocolatey as the standard chocolate cupcakes but you can still taste the chocolate flavour in them. For me, the sponge was just right – soft and springy and the buttercream icing was just a little sweet for my taste. I might have to stick with the meringue buttercream recipe from now on – uses a lot less icing sugar and might be slightly healthier?! The consistency of the buttercream wasn’t as stiff as I would have liked it, I should have stopped adding in the milk when the buttercream was already stiff.. lesson learned! In any case, the buttercream was easy enough to work with and piped out quite well.
The first step is to dissolve the hot chocolate powder in warm, but not boiling milk in a saucepan. I found that I got a few clumps of hot chocolate powder where it didn’t dissolve properly, so I turned up the heat a little more and they eventually dissolved. Once the mixture comes together, it really shows the difference of using hot chocolate powder as opposed to cocoa powder. Even though it is a chocolate flavoured mix, the overall colour isn’t as chocolatey looking as you would think – and when the sponges were done, they were a light brown colour, that looked a little like darkened vanilla sponges. However, you could taste the hot chocolate flavour in them!
The cupcake recipes in the new cookbook makes between 12 – 16 cupcakes, compared to the old cookbook where it would make 8 – 12 cupcakes. Somehow I ended up with 24 cupcakes – I wasn’t particularly generous on any of the cupcakes, just the same amount in each case! I did make a few mini cupcakes, so perhaps that contributed towards it. When I was preparing the buttercream, I thought I wouldn’t use as much as the recipe states because I don’t like to have too much buttercream on top – so I only used 3/4 of the recipe. I definitely made an error here – because I was piping most of the cupcakes, I ran out of buttercream before I could ice all the cakes as the new piping nozzle I used is quite a large tip, so more buttercream comes out. I ended up doing a few cupcakes by hand with what was left in the bowl that couldn’t be piped out – and attempted (but failed) the Hummingbird Bakery’s way of frosting. The uniced cupcakes didn’t go to waste – Mum, who doesn’t like buttercream happily ate them!
The buttercream also uses instant hot chocolate powder – the same process as before when dissolving the powder in warm milk, then adding it to the butter and icing sugar mixture. This is the point where I should have stopped adding in all the milk to create a stiffer consistency of buttercream.
I wanted to stick to the chocolate theme, so I decorated the majority of the cupcakes with milk and white chocolate hearts and added a light dusting of cocoa powder on top. All in all, very tasty cupcakes!