Friday, 19 April 2013

Double Chocolate Vanilla Bean & Chocolate Malt Frosted Mini Cupcakes

It's been a while since cupcakes graced the blog...and without cupcakes this blog just leaves me as crazy Gem! so that needed to be rectified! 

One of my favourite things about our time in Canada has been the kindness and friendliness of the people here! From the very first day we arrived, and we had no change for the bus but the driver let us on anyway to people lending you cars! Yes, that's right! The colleague I work with went to Mexico during spring break and knew that we don't have a car here so he offered to lend us his so that we wouldn't have to hire a car everytime we wanted to go somewhere! How kind is that! So thanks to him we were able to have crazy amounts of fun that you can check out here and here.

I knew that I wanted to bake something for him to show my appreciation and since I can't think of a tastier treat than cupcakes, I baked up some of my favourite chocolate buttermilk cupcakes and topped them with a generous amount of ganache and then finished them off with two frostings: vanilla bean and chocolate malt.  Can we just talk for a minute about how amazing ganache is? It's something I make very rarely...but I had so much fun making it that I can see it is going to pop up more frequently in the future! It is just SO versatile! and what's not to love about a giant bowl of thick fudgy chocolate blended with cream! I'm a convert that's for sure! and it took these cupcakes from being yummy little bite sized treats to being over the top indulgently delicious chocolate bombs!

Make them for people...and I guarantee their kindness will keep coming! Like tonight I just got home from that same colleague's house where he helped me fill out my first Canadian tax return, and he is lending us his car again next week when my mom and sister come to visit!!

I better start whipping him up another batch! 

Double Chocolate Vanilla Bean Mini Cupcakes:
Makes 32

1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3/4 cup salted butter, firm but not cold
1 1/4 cups caster sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C/350 degrees F.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda.  Set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, using an electric hand mixer on medium-high speed, whip together butter and sugar until pale and fluffy for about 3-4 minutes.  Add in eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition until combined.  Measure out buttermilk in a liquid measuring cup and add vanilla extract to milk, then whisk to combine.  Working in 2 separate batches, add buttermilk mixture followed by flour mixture to butter mixture, mixing just unti combined after each addition (batter will be thick).  

Fill cupcake cases 2/3 full.  Bake in a preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, until a knife inserted into the middle of each cupcake comes out clean.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes in baking pan until transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Ganche:
Makes enough to frost the above, with plenty to spare...and you can eat the rest with a spoon! I did!

12 oz. dark/bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
3/4 cup double/whipping cream
1 1/2 tbsp caster sugar
1 1/2 tbsp corn syrup
3 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature

Place the chopped chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl.  
Combine the cream, sugar and corn syrup in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Immediately pour the cream mixture over the chocolate and let it stand for 1 minute.  
Whisk until the mixture is smooth and blended, then add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking until completely incorporated.  Let the mixture stand at room temperature to thicken before topping the cupcakes.  
Once cool, using a palette knife spread a generous amount of ganache on top of each cupcake.

Vanilla Bean Frosting:

2 cups/250g icing sugar
1 cup/225g unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 tbsp milk

Mix together the sugar and butter until they are blended and creamy.  Add vanilla bean paste and milk and continue to beat for another minute.  If desired, add more vanilla bean paste to taste, or more icing sugar if you require a stiffer consistency.

Chocolate Malt Frosting:

2 cups icing sugar
1 cup unsalted butter
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup + 1 tbsp Ovaltine powder
4 oz. Belgian chocolate, or other good quality chocolate
1/4 cup whipping/double cream

In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine half the icing sugar and butter and beat on low speed for one minute.  While that is mixing, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, and set aside to cool. Add the rest of the icing sugar and butter to the stand mixer and mix on medium speed until completely combined (I do it in two stages so as not to completely cover my kitchen in icing sugar).
Add vanilla and Ovaltine, and beat on low speed until well combined.
Add the melted, cooled chocolate and beat on medium speed until smooth (about 2 minutes). Add double cream and beat on high speed for one minute.

Once the ganache has sat on the cupcakes for around 10-15 minutes and become firmer, pipe little frosting swirls onto the cupcakes (alternating between the vanilla bean and chocolate malt frostings).  Finish off the chocolate malt topped cupcakes with a large Ghiradelli white chocolate chip, and a sprinkling of 3 Ghiradelli mini chocolate chips on the vanilla bean topped cupcakes.  

Eat and enjoy, or share with friends and sit back and watch the kindness emerge!

I'm also sending these over to What Kate Baked and Lavender and Lovage for their Tea Time Treats blogging challenge because the theme for April is Fairy Cakes, Cupcakes and Muffins.


  1. They look beutiful. Love how they have a layer of dark ganache before the frosting top - bet that helps balance the sweetness.
    I am totally with you that ganache is amazing and it goes with anything!
    I bet your friends were delighted

    1. Thanks Katie. They were pretty pleased, and yes I'm always thinking now how can I involve it in any dessert I make!

  2. Hmm would be loving one of these little cuties right about now! Yum! I've been told this week that happy mummy with chocolate equals happy baby when they are born! x

    1. Well that sounds like an awesome piece of advice! Can it be used if you don't have a baby in your tummy? We have been on a serious chocolate overload recently, Mom and Mara brought us an amazing stash! We tried that big malteser bar last night, it was soooo good! and I've been eating malteser bunnies daily after Mom brought me a whole box straight from the shelf! haha!

  3. These look amazing Gem - I love the two colours of the frosting. And you're so right about ganache. You can use it so many ways, too. :)

    1. Thanks Susie, yes I've become crazy about ganache! Now none of my cupcakes seem complete unless they start with a layer of ganache on top, hehe!

  4. Really enjoying reading your very heartwarming stories of kindness- and I've no doubt the kindness will continue to flow with these thank-you cupcakes!

    1. Thanks Kate, the people have really been amazing here! Some different friends have lent us their car this weekend too!

  5. Well I would definitely lend you my car if you baked me these! They look so good. I'll definitely keep that chocolate malt frosting in mind when I next make a chocolate cake/cupcakes

    1. Haha thanks Jo! Definitely do remember that frosting, it's in my top 5 all time favourites for sure!

  6. I love your blog! Not only do I like making and eating real ones, but I also like making and collecting faux ones to decorate my kitchen. Great blog! Jennifer

    1. Thanks Jennifer! I'm the same, I have so much cupcake stuff, it's taking over my house!

  7. Now this is much more like it - no coconut in sight! ;) I would happily eat the whole box myself! yum! I've also gone back to baking cupcakes after a spell away from them.



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