When Jo O sent through the invitation to her baby shower, I instantly started to think of something cute and edible to make. I thought baby cupcakes. With pretty icing. I was thinking plates full of lovely pretty cupcakes, which – in my imaginging – somehow usually magically transform me into a pastel wearing lady with nicely blow dried hair and a sweet smile, probably wearing a hat and drinking tea in the garden.
But nevertheless, I decided to persevere anyway, because mini cupcakes are soooo cuuuuttteeee! And make a lovely celebration dessert, because they’re easy to serve, easy to share and easy to eat a giant pile of without really noticing/being noticed!
Because Jo is expecting a boy, I wanted to make something that looked a bit more masculine (in as much as a cupcake is going to get masculine, right?), and as I know Jo has been missing her wine and beer, I thought Tom’s party cake favourite, the chocolate guinness cake, would tickle her fancy. Plus I really really love cream cheese icing. It’s not all about Jo and her bump, ok?!
I made a batch of the chocolate guinness, and did a test icing run, and put the rest in the freezer. But then I got a bit of an attack of the Over Caterer’s Anxiety Syndrome, and decided to make a second flavour. Cos, you know, the 70 cupcakes in my freezer might not be enough.
I also was quite enamoured with the no-creaming-butter-and-sugar method the chocolate guinness cake uses (it is a bastardised Nigella recipe. I couldn’t help adding some chocolate)… and wondered if it would also work nicely with other arrangements. Like perhaps lime, grapefruit and poppy seed? We can only try!
Chocolate Guinness Cake
(makes one cake, or about 2.7 x trays (=24) of mini cupcakes)
In a saucepan gently heat 250ml guinness/stout, 150g dark chocolate and 250g butter until butter & chocolate have melted. Add in 400g caster sugar, 1/2 cup cocoa, and whisk. remove from heat and measure other things while it cools ever so slightly… beat 140ml plain yogurt and 2 eggs with a tsp of vanilla essence, whisk into guinness mixture, then add 2 cups self raising flour and mix through. Pour into measuring cup (easier to control pour) to fill your paper cupcake liner lined mini muffin tray. Bake in med oven 180 degrees C, for about 15-20 mins for mini cupcakes.
Lime+Grapefruit+Poppy seed Cake
(a bastardised version of above, water is odd substitution but worked perfectly.. could do with some experimenting & tweaking – 250ml vodka? )
In a saucepan gently heat 250ml guinness/stout water, 150g dark chocolate and 250g butter until butter & chocolate have has melted. Add in 400g caster sugar, 1/2 cup cocoa, the juice and zest of 3 limes & 1 grapefruit and whisk. remove from heat and measure other things while it cools ever so slightly… beat 140ml plain yogurt and 2 eggs with a tsp of vanilla essence and a handful of poppy seeds, whisk into guinness water mixture, then add 2 cups self raising flour and mix through. Pour into measuring cup (easier to control pour) to fill your paper cupcake liner lined mini muffin tray. Bake in med oven 180 degrees C, for about 15-20 mins for mini cupcakes.
Icing: you know the drill… cream cheese and icing sugar. I chucked these in the food processor and played around till I got the right consistency, added blue food colouring to half for the chocolate guinness cake portion, kept the citrus cake icing white/cream.
I baked ahead, and froze the cupcakes and removed them from the freezer the night before the shower when I was ready to ice them. Freezing certainly doesn’t hurt the cake, and this meant I could prep earlier in the week and wasn’t baking all night, and it may have even helped keep them cool in the car for 3 – 3.5 hours drive getting to the party. Also the icing set quickly, so I could pack them into their carry box to leave in the fridge overnight, and go off to bed for some shut-eye. Sweet!
Of course, even though I was restrained compared to my baking, I still took way too many cupcakes to the baby shower (mental note: yes, 63 cupcakes IS enough for 13 people!) but they were enjoyed, and although I didn’t wear anything pastel myself, the plate of baby cupcakes looks the picture, doesn’t it? xxx