To celebrate the 1st birthday of the We Should Cocoa blog challenge, this month’s theme, set by Chele at Chocolate Teapot, is to bake something for a “virtual birthday party” – something chocolatey, of course! Whilst a big cake would seem appropriate, I decided to go for cupcakes (I know that I totally missed the boat on National Cupcake Week which was last week) for the simple reason that I’ve had a cupcake idea floating around for a while and this seems like the perfect occasion to try it out. Actually, it would have been my entry to last month’s We Should Cocoa challenge, for which the special ingredient was “rose” (you can see the round-up here), but my plans fell victim to the lovely bout of tonsillitis that laid me up in bed for a week (I’m still grumbling about it).
When I’d been looking for inspiration for last month’s challenge, I happened across the recipe for a Rose Martini, a vodka-based cocktail that contains white crème de cacao and rosewater. To me that just sounded like a cupcake waiting to happen! Incorporating white chocolate would have made it perfect for the theme, and I desperately wanted to see if the flavours would work in a cupcake, but never managed to get round to it (grumble, tonsillitis, grumble)… However, this month’s theme has come galloping to the rescue, because I think that Rose Martini cupcakes definitely sound fit for a party, don’t you? Wait, what’s that? Oh, it’s supposed to be for a 1st birthday party…? Can one year-olds eat cake? I have no idea. I don’t really have anything whatsoever to do with small children (can you tell?). So anyway, these cupcakes are clearly adult-only. I’m totally ok with that, because it’s not for an actual one year-old child…
The only problem with deciding to make cupcakes is that they usually come in batches, which is fine if you’ve got people to feed them to, but 12 cupcakes between just my mum and I is a bit much (I do love cupcakes, but I’d rather not make myself sick). Especially since cupcakes don’t keep all that long, and stale cupcakes are rather depressing. Thankfully though, I found a recipe to make two cupcakes (or one jumbo cupcake), which I adapted and doubled, and it ended up giving me five cupcakes filled with vodka, rosewater and white chocolate chips. The icing included the Rose Martini ingredients: vodka, rosewater and white crème de cacao. I may or may not have gotten slightly too enthusiastic about piping the rose (it took me five tries to get a decent one). They turned out rather well, though quite heavy, and whilst the flavours do work together I think they could get quite sickly quite quickly. I’d like to try adapting one of my tried and tested cupcake recipes for a full batch, just to see if it would make them a bit lighter. We’ll see… For now though, at least these look pretty! And they do taste good, they’re just really quite heavy!
So all that remains (before sharing the recipe) is to wish happy birthday to We Should Cocoa – here’s to another year of challenges!
Rose Martini cupcakes
Makes 5-6 cupcakes
Cupcake recipe adapted from Sweet Road
The rosewater really comes through in this recipe, so if you’re not a fan, I would suggest decreasing the amount slightly, and perhaps adding slightly more vodka to cut through the flavour more. The icing makes enough to pipe five roses, but if you want to just do some swirly decorative piping, you won’t need quite as much. Also, don’t be worried if the cupcakes don’t really go golden – mine didn’t but they were still cooked!
For the cupcakes:
75g all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
25g unsalted butter
45g caster sugar
120 ml milk, room temperature
2 tsp vodka
1 tsp rosewater
½ tsp white crème de cacao
35g white chocolate chips (or chopped white chocolate)
For the icing:
2 tsp vodka
1 ½ tsp white crème de cacao
½ tsp rosewater
70g icing sugar
Rose food colouring paste (optional)
To make the cupcakes:
1. Line a cupcake tin with 5 or 6 liners or set out 5 or 6 silicon liners. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
2. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a small bowl and mix together.
3. In a different bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until well mixed. Mix in half the milk (make sure it’s at room temperature otherwise it does weird things to the butter apparently), followed by the flour mixture. Add the remaining milk, the vodka, rosewater and crème de cacao and mix until well incorporated (if the mixture looks like it’s separated or curdled or something, try mixing some more until vaguely smooth. If that doesn’t work, add a little bit more flour. If that doesn’t work, bake them anyway and hope for the best. Sage advice right there.). Stir in the chocolate chips.
4. Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners and bake for 18-22 mins, until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool fully.
To make the icing:
5. In a measuring glass or small bowl, mix together the vodka, crème de cacao and rosewater. Set aside.
6. Cream together the butter and icing sugar (be prepared for a small icing sugar explosion if using an electric whisk). When combined to form buttercream, add a tiny, tiny amount of rose food colouring paste (optional) and the alcohols, and mix well until completely incorporated.
7. Once the cupcakes are completely cool, you can pipe the icing onto them. To make an icing rose, use a rose petal tip. Pipe a small blob in the middle of the cupcake, and then, making sure that the fat part of the tip is at the bottom, pipe vertical individual petals around the blob, turning the cupcake as you go (I realise that is a terrible explanation of how to make a rose out of icing – Google it, there are loads of videos available online).