There’s been a bit of a baking frenzy in our house recently. There was a PTA cake sale at my daughters’ school last week and we decided to get all creative with these love heart cupcakes with a double chocolate and cream cheese topping. Jess hates buttercream so cream cheese is a good alternative.
Sometimes I just can’t be bothered to bake for the cake sale and at the last minute we’ll resort to buying plain fairy cakes or biscuits, which the kids will decorate with gaudy-coloured icing and a few sprinkles. But other times I go the whole hog. And this was one of those times. I was definitely spurred on by my earlier success with a classic Victoria sponge and also by a big bag of chocolate goodies from the kind people at Dr Oetker. My youngest daughter Mia, who is a self-confessed chocoholic, couldn’t believe her luck when she opened up the parcel.
Dr Oetker are running a competition, challenging UK bakers to come up with their most creative chocolate cupcake and I thought I might try my chances. One lucky baker will win the fantastic prize of a trip for two to New York City, the home of the cupcake. The closing date is 17 October 2013 if you fancy having a go too. Pop over to their Facebook page for more details on how to take part. Having seen the other hugely impressive entries, I don’t think I have even the slightest smidgen of a chance of winning anything but it’s the taking part that counts, as they say.
The cupcakes were a big hit at the school cake sale. Admittedly they’re a bit more of a faff than I’d usually go in for when it comes to decorating cupcakes but it was worth it to see the children’s faces when they spied them. And if you fancy a pretty-looking sweet treat, the love heart cookies on their own seem to go down rather well with the little ones.
Love heart cookies
Makes around 40 cookies – so you’ll have plenty left over to enjoy later
250g butter, softened
140g caster sugar
1 egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
a drop or two of red food colouring
300g plain flour
pinch of salt
25g dark chocolate
hundreds and thousands
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4.
In a large bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, egg yolk and vanilla extract. Add a couple of drops of red food colouring and combine well.
Sift in the flour and salt and mix thoroughly to form a dough. You’ll need to get your hands in at this point.
Roll out the dough between two sheets of baking parchment until it is roughly half a centimetre thick.
Use a small heart-shaped cutter to cut out your cookies, or work freehand using a sharp knife.
Line a baking tray with more baking parchment and carefully lift the cookies onto the tray, spacing them apart a little.
Bake in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes until just firm to the touch. Remove from the tray and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
Place the dark chocolate in a small bowl and melt in a microwave. Using a teaspoon, drizzle chocolate onto each love heart cookie and then sprinkle on some hundreds and thousands.
Chocolate chip cupcakes
Makes 12 – six chocolate cupcakes with white chocolate chips and six plain cupcakes with dark chocolate chips
125g butter, softened
125g caster sugar
125g self-raising flour
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp milk
2 tsp cocoa powder, mixed with a few drops of water into a paste
25g white chocolate chips
25g dark chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6.
Put the butter, caster sugar, eggs, flour and vanilla extract into a food processor and whizz until smooth. Add the milk and mix again.
Split the mixture equally between two separate bowls. Into the first add the cocoa paste and mix in carefully. Then add the white chocolate chips and stir until well dispersed through the mixture. Into the second bowl of plain mixture add the dark chocolate chips and again stir in.
Line a 12-bun muffin tin with 12 muffin cases.
Spoon the mixture into the paper cases and bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes until the cupcakes are springy to the touch and just golden on top.
Remove the cakes from the tin and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
Double chocolate and cream cheese marbled topping
100g cream cheese
200g icing sugar
75g white chocolate
75g dark chocolate
Scoop the cream cheese into a large bowl and sieve in the icing sugar. Beat together until thoroughly combined. Place half the mixture into a second bowl.
Place the white chocolate and dark chocolate into two separate bowls and melt in the microwave. Add the white chocolate to one bowl of topping mixture and the dark chocolate to the other. Combine well.
Place alternate spoonfuls of white chocolate and dark chocolate topping into a piping bag until it is full. Swirl a generous amount onto each of the cupcakes.
And finally, top with one of your pretty love heart cookies.
Disclosure: Dr Oetker provided me with a complimentary selection of cooking chocolate and cake decorations for this post. No money exchanged hands and all opinions are totally my own.
In the parcel I received 72% Extra Dark Fine Cooks’ Chocolate, 26% White Fine Cooks’ Chocolate, Dark Chocolate Chips, White Chocolate Chips, and Hundreds and Thousands, all of which I used in this recipe.