These hot chocolate cupcakes were so 'hot' they were flying off the stall faster than I could keep track of them. I'm not sure whether it was because everyone liked the look of that chocolate covered wafer peeping out the top, or because it was a rather chilly day here in Wales and maybe it was just what people needed to warm up!
Either way people 'oohed' and 'aahed' over them and one lady told me my cupcakes looked so perfect she didn't think they were real at first!
What makes these hot chocolate cupcakes special is that they have a mug of real hot chocolate blended into the batter, and paired with swiss meringue buttercream they are a delightfully decadent festive treat!
I know many people are terrified of making swiss meringue buttercream but I'm here to tell you that it is not scary at all. As long as you follow all the steps carefully and keep going beyond the stage where it looks like it's going to curdle, you will end up with some of the silkiest frosting ever that is my favourite kind of piping to frost with because it just looks so glossy and awesome once you're done!
Hot Chocolate Cupcakes:
Makes 12 Regular and 12 Mini's
310g plain flour
450g caster sugar
115g cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 heaped tsp hot chocolate powder mixed with 180ml warm milk
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
In a free standing mixer, combine all dry ingredients: flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt.
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients: eggs, hot chocolate/milk mixture, vegetable oil and vanilla extract.
Beat on medium speed until well combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
Fill cupcake cases 2/3 full with batter.
Bake for 16 minutes or until knife inserted in middle comes out clean.
Let cupcakes cool in pans for 10 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to finish cooling.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
Makes enough to frost the above
5 large egg whites
250g caster sugar
pinch of salt
450g unsalted butter
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Combine egg whites, sugar and salt in the heatproof bowl of a standing mixer set over a pan of simmering water.
Whisk constantly by hand until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar has dissolved.
Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Starting on low, gradually increase to medium-high and whisk until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy and glossy and completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl) about 10 minutes.
Add the butter a few tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition. Once all butter has been added, whisk in vanilla.
Switch to the paddle attachment and continue beating on low speed until all air bubbles are eliminated, about 2 minutes.
Scrape down sides of bowl with a flexible spatula, and continue beating until the frosting is completely smooth.
Pipe Swiss Meringue Buttercream onto the cupcakes using a narrow opening star nozzle to ensure that you get lovely ruffles to create the whipped cream effect.
Add 3 mini white marshmallows to the top of the frosting.
Lightly sprinkle some cocoa powder over the top using a sieve.
Stick your pre prepared wafer into the frosting at a diagonal angle. (The night before I melted some milk chocolate and dipped the ends of all the wafers in the chocolate and left them to dry on a sheet of parchment paper, and then transferred them into an airtight container.)