I had been planning my cupcakes for the Iron Cupcake competition ever since I found out the theme was 'celebration'. I initially thought I wanted to incorporate something that would go pop! my friend suggested putting a party popper on the top of each cupcake that people could pull before they ate it! an awesome idea...but not edible, so it got me thinking along the lines of popping candy. I know you can't really bake popping candy into cakes, I've read up alot about it and something about the chemistry of it makes it stop popping! but I do know it works in chocolate.
So alot of thinking later and I decided on doing some kind of chocolate lollipop to go on top that would have popping candy inside. I had also been thinking along the lines of balloons, one of my original ideas that was laughed at by my sisters was getting real balloons and blowing them up with just a tiny amount of helium and standing them up on top of the cupcakes...maybe a little far fetched but I thought it would be fun! so I moved onto edible lollipops! I found some fantastic moulds on american ebay, ordered some popping candy in four flavours/varieties, ordered brightly coloured greaseproof cases that wouldn't lose their colour when baked, and got to work!
I was so pleased that the popping candy comes in the four colours that matched the cupcakes cases I had ordered. I am all about the colour co-ordination! All last week I made up batches of chocolate lollipops just by melting down Dairy Milk with a touch of oil to make it 'pourable' and then I mixed the popping candy in. It was fun to hear it pop as I was mixing!
Then I poured it into the balloon moulds. I had two varieties, one which made four smaller bunch of balloon lollipops and one mould which made two larger bunch of balloon lollipops with a 'Happy Birthday' banner across the front, which seemed very appropriate since it was Iron Cupcake's 1st birthday.
This is what they looked like once they had set in the fridge.
After that I set to work on the cupcakes. I made my ultimate favourite brownie cupcakes from my Martha book. They are so easy to make, no kitchenaid involved here! and they just turn out beautifully every time I make them. Here is the recipe for all those who want to try it out:
Brownie Cupcakes a la Martha Stewart
225g milk chocolate
1/2 cup unsalted butter (at room temperature)
1 cup caster sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1/2 cup plain flour
1/4 cup sifted cocoa powder
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Place chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir occasionally until just melted, about 4-5 mins.
2. Remove bowl from heat. Whisk in sugar and salt until mixture is smooth, whisk in eggs to combine. Gently whisk in flour and cocoa just until smooth (do not overmix).
3. Fill cupcake cases until 3/4 full. Bake, rotating tin halfway through, until a cake tester inserted halfway in centres, comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached, about 25-30 minutes.
Of course after my recent success of my Vanilla Bean Frosting there was no other option but to use it to frost these.
I divided the frosting into four bowls and coloured each one and piped it on to contrast with the colour of the cupcake case. I then finished each cupcake off with a balloon lollipop (containing the hidden popping candy) and each popping candy colour matched the cupcake case too. So depending on which cupcake you picked up you could have experienced blackcurrant, raspberry, strawberry or apple flavoured popping chocolate! and a little sprinkle of popping candy over the icing finished them off.
Unfortunately they flew off the platter so fast I didn't have time to take a picture of them altogether, which is a shame because I think they would have looked fun! so here is an individual shot I managed to take before it got eaten up:
Now I want you to bear all of this planning and preparation in mind and see what happened next...in my Iron Cupcake post! and how they nearly never made it to the contest!