Recently I've been hearing good news stories. Of course there is never a lack of doom and gloom but some people that I love are having cool things happen to them and it makes me so happy. I literally feel like it's happening to me. That's because we are all one and if it can happen to you, then surely it can, and is, happening for me.
Last week I met up with my old and good friend who recently had a beautiful baby girl and we hung out at Clissold Park (amazing). She is loving motherhood and it was such a joy to see! I know too much to get broody myself, but I was happy that she was happy :)
The sun was shining & the weather was sweet, but not quite not warm enough for ice-cream. Instead, I made some mint choc chip cupcakes in honour of my favourite flavour. This was a massive experiment (well massive-ish), because I was keen to use real mint as opposed to flavourings. I LOVE the taste of fresh mint, it's subtle and so sweet. I also wanted the cakes to taste creamy, so I went for a very creamy icing rather than buttercream.
Mint Choc Chip Cupcakes (makes 16)
Mint Choc Chip Icing
250g mascarpone cheese
100g icing sugar
150ml extra thick double cream
25 mint leaves very finely chopped (more or less to taste)
3 drops green food colouring (depending on how strong you want the colour to be)
40g chocolate flakes (approx)
Chocolate Cupcakes (adapted from the Hummingbird Bakery)
80g (3oz) unsalted butter softened
140g (50oz) caster sugar
140g (50oz) soft brown sugar
200g (7oz) plain flour
40g (1½oz) cocoa powder
80g (3oz) chocolate chips (optional)
1 tbsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
240ml (8½fl oz) full fat milk
2 large eggs
1. Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F) Gas 3 and line 2 muffin trays with cupcake cases.
2. Put the flour, sugars, baking powder, cocoa powder, salt and butter together in a large bowl or food processor and mix until everything is combined and you get a sandy consistency. Gradually pour in half the milk and beat until the milk is just incorporated.
3. Whisk the egg, vanilla extract and remaining milk together in a separate bowl for a few seconds, then pour into the flour mixture and continue beating until just incorporated (scrape any stray ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula). Add the chocolate chips and continue mixing for a couple more minutes until the mixture is smooth. Do not overmix.
4. Fill the cupcake cases with the cake mixture until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for 20–25 minutes. A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean, or the sponge will bounce back when touched.
5. Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
While the cupcakes are cooking make the icing. Set aside approximately a tablespoon of chocolate flakes for the garnish. Mix together all of the ingredients until you have a smooth icing that is quite firm. Leave to cool in the fridge.
6. When the cupcakes are completely chilled, pipe the icing on top and sprinkle with the left over chocolate flakes.
The amount of mint leaves that you ought to use, really does depend on taste. When I first made them I didn't quite add enough to get the hit straight away. Also, I think that the cakes are best eaten when the icing is very cold, so perhaps aren't great for picnics on hot days. I spent the rest of the week loving them though. I warmed up the cupcake (10 seconds on full power) & added the icing afterward.
One of my favourites this year I think, if you decide to give it a go let me know how you get on! Do you have any good news to share?
Peace & Love