14 March 2010

Vanilla High Hat Cupcakes

Woo! Finally back in the game. Have had a rather horrendous week - I've had a horrible bout with the flu (and then a sinus infection from hell) that has kept me in bed until, well, yesterday. And nobody wants to eat fluey cupcakes.

So today marks the first cupcakes in a fortnight - and in the pursuit of the perfect vanilla cupcake, I used the Women's Weekly Little Pies and Cakes Patty Cakes recipe I discussed in this post.

Vanilla High Hat Cupcakes

You will need:

For the cupcakes:
125 g softened butter
3/4 C caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
2 C self raising flour
1/4 C milk

For the swiss meringue:
3 egg whites
3/4 C sugar
boiling water

For the chocolate (aka the chocolate pit of death):
200 g milk chocolate
1 Tbsp oil (I used olive but you can use whatever you have - canola or vegetable is fine)
  1. Preheat oven to 180 C and line a 12 hole cupcake tin with patty cases.
  2. Mix together cupcake ingredients using an electric beater (I beat the butter and sugar together first, then added the vanilla, eggs, flour and milk in that order).
  3. Bake for 25 minutes on 180 C or until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the tray, then tip upside down onto a wire rack to cool.
  4. Using a double boiler, (i.e. over a pot of boiling water) whisk meringue sugar and egg whites together until the mixture reaches 70C.
  5. Using an electric beater, beat the egg whites and sugar until mixture is thick and firm and stiff peaks form (it should look nice and glossy).
  6. Allow meringue to cool - if it softens, beat until it firms back up.
  7. Pipe meringue onto cooled cupcakes.
  8. In a deep glass wide enough to admit the cupcakes, melt the chocolate by microwaving on medium for 10-20 second bursts. Stir after each heating.
  9. Add the olive oil into the chocolate mix and stir (really well!) until fully combined.
  10. Lay down some paper towel where you will be working - this does get messy!
  11. Dip the meringue on the cupcakes gently into the chocolate - holding the cupcakes by the base makes this easier. Try to shake off as many drips as you can without knocking any meringue into the mixture.
Horror stories abound about the entire top falling off the cupcakes while dipping into the chocolate pit of death - this is not something to attempt lightly. Or cleanly. Accept the fact that whatever you are wearing - plus your face and hands - will end up absolutely covered in chocolate. Then move on - because it's worth it! Chocolate high hats are so pretty and they really give your cupcakes that little bit of extra oomph.

The actual cupcake recipe was pretty disappointing though - less than 6 hours after baking, they were completely dry and stale. Ugh - what a waste of ingredients.

Edit - The Next Day Verdict
So I brought the cupcakes into work the next morning - while the high hat itself was still lovely and well received, the cupcake was described as 'Saddam's lost weapon of mass destruction' - and that was one of the more complimentary adjectives! So yeah - verdict for the high hat process is a big thumbs up - but don't even bother with the cake recipe.

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