Thursday 24 October 2013

Black Velvet Cupcakes

Well, not really black velvet, more of a "nude" velvet; the amount of colouring required to dye these cakes black was truly frightening so I left it out entirely... My nod to Halloween, a subtle nod; the autumnal coloured Reese's pieces, black nonpareils, the attempted black velvet.  Not obviously scary or gruesome, but if you consider the volume of ganache required for the mountainous swirl and the price I paid for the Reese's pieces, they're actually quite terrifying!

As a child in the UK Halloween was a big thing, not America big, but lots of trick or treating, bobbing for apples, collecting lollies and chocolate. We had a great party one year, all the kids from the street in our garden, festivities ending prematurely when collecting frogs, I fell in the pond... I don't remember any specific food traditions, aside from the apples, so choosing a Halloween themed recipe was refreshingly easy, unencumbered by nostalgia.

I love the texture and flavour of red velvet cakes, I've tested many recipes, but am still searching for one that looks as good as it tastes, that's nicely domed and not wrinkly when baked.  This recipe, adapted from the Australian Women's Weekly is my favourite so far, really moist and light, but still a bit of an ugly cake that needs its frosting! The traditional cream cheese frosting is perfect but these are topped with a salted caramel ganache, hiding a vanilla cream centre to balance the sweetness. I really did intend to colour these black, but after about a tablespoon of colouring the buttermilk was an merely an insipid grey, my food colouring aversion took over and I chose to go natural.  With all the ganache these cakes are beyond rich; maybe top with a smaller swirl or find a chocolate lover to share with, a couple of forks and a plate, things will get messy!

Black (well, nude) Velvet Cupcakes

63g softened butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
165g caster sugar
1 large egg
115g plain flour
1 tbps cornflour
1 tbsp cocoa powder
125ml buttermilk
1/2 tsp white vinegar
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
1 quantity salted caramel ganache, recipe here
1 quantity vanilla cream, recipe below

preheat oven to 180ÂșC, line 9 holes of a cupcake pan with cupcake liners
 combine butter, vanilla, sugar and egg in a mixing bowl and beat together until light and fluffy
 sift together the cornflour, cocoa and flour
 in 2 batches add half of the flour/cornflour/cocoa combo, then half of the butter milk, mix to combine
 repeat with remaining flour and buttermilk
 combine the vinegar and bicarb soda, when the fizzing stops fold into the cake batter
 divide between the cupcake liners and bake for 20 minutes
 cool on a wire rack
 when completely cold use a small, sharp knife to remove around a dessert spoonful of sponge from the centre of each cake
 using a piping bag or spoon, fill the holes with vanilla cream
 using a piping bag fitted with an open star tip, starting at the outside of the cupcake and working your way in and up, pipe a swirl (check out the many youtube tutorials for help with cupcake frosting) 
 pour a large glass of water and share with friends :)
 cakes will keep for 2/3 days in an airtight container in the fridge

Vanilla Cream

125ml thickened cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 dessert spoon caster sugar

• combine ingredients in a small bowl and whip until firm

This recipe is part of a blog hop, check out JJ's Halloween inspired super healthy ice-cream treats here then follow the links for other festive recipes :)


JJ - 84thand3rd said...

I'd call these frighteningly rich! That ganache frosting looks like perfection :) thanks for joining!

Dina said...

they look yummy!

Unknown said...

I cant see how much flour I need, please help, just started weighing out ingredients and noticed

simmer and boyle said...

thanks for picking that up; 115g plain flour, I'll fix that later today :)

Jane said...

They look fantastic Sally! x

Unknown said...

fabulous.. thank you. Also can I ask which cocoa you use, I used cadbury bournville and it didnt go very dark. Thanks again, love this idea

simmer and boyle said...

Thanks Jane, still thinking about the gold cake stand for Christmas...

simmer and boyle said...

I used Dutch processed cocoa, it's darker than regular cocoa and has a red tinge. I love the flavour of Bournville cocoa but agree it's a bit pale. You could always add gel food colouring for that intense black colouring. Hope they turn out well :)

simmer and boyle said...

Thanks JJ, about to melt leftover ganache over ice cream...

Unknown said...

Oh how delicious! I can't wait for Halloween.

simmer and boyle said...

Thanks Dina; they are quite over the top!

simmer and boyle said...

Thanks Gourmet Getaways; I'm looking forward to Halloween too, I'll be in NYC!!

Nic said...

Forget about the colour you had me at salted caramel ganache. Simply divine!

simmer and boyle said...

Thanks Nic, that ganache is pretty decadent :)

Anonymous said...

your cupcakes are awesome wouaw

simmer and boyle said...

thank you ;)