Everyone loves a cupcake, but who would decline the chance to sample different mini cupcakes without feeling ‘calorie’ guilty? We do! And that, in a nutshell, is why Elldrew have become fans of mini cupcakes (oh, and they look cute too).
Turning to one of our favourite cupcakes books for inspiration, the Hummingbird Bakery’s Cake Days when we need ideas for some delicious desserts to end a meal with friends and family. Recently, we chose a selection from the “Hot Drink” range, settling on a menu of Earl Grey, Espresso and Hot Chocolate mini cupcakes. Having experimented with various recipes in the past, we are always amazed how many mini cupcakes one can get from a single mixture, but this time we needed to stretch ourselves, and our batter, to not only cater for around 25 people, but we needed to make sure we delivered quality as well as quantity. Read more for recipe instructions.
Thankfully Hummingbird takes the stress out of preparing three different batter mixture as they use the same base ingredients for all their cupcakes; the flavouring and toppings pull together the final bites of deliciousness (and of course the wow factor was to be provided by Elldrew). So let’s get cooking, 75 mini cupcakes required!
Basic Batter Mixture:
- 80g (3 oz) unsalted butter, softened
- 280g (10 oz) caster sugar
- 240g (8½ oz) plain flour
- 1tbsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 240ml (7 fl oz) whole milk (you will need to substitute 30mls with boiling water for the Earl Grey flavour)
- 2 large eggs
- 6g instant Espresso powder
- 12g Hot Chocolate powder
- 2 Earl Grey teabags
For the Frosting:
- 50ml (1¾ fl oz) whole milk
- 500g (1 lb 2 oz) icing sugar
- 160g (5½ oz) unsalted butter, softened
- 8g instant Espresso powder
- 8g hot chocolate powder
- 2 Earl Grey teabags
- Chocolate coffee beans
- Mini marshmallows
- Mini digestives
First of all we prepared the flavourings. These were all to be milk based, so we divided the milk into 3 and proceeded as follows:
- For the Hot Chocolate; dissolve 12g of Hot Chocolate powder in 80ml of hot milk.
- For the Espresso; dissolve 6g of Espresso powder in 80ml of hot milk.
- And the Earl Grey; place 2 teabags in a bowl, substitute 30mls of the milk with boiling water to infuse the bags, adding the remaining 50ml of hot milk, leaving to brew for at least 30 minutes.
Whilst all the above are brewing and cooling we cracked on with the batter:
- Pre-heat the oven to 190 (375°F), gas mark 5, and line a mini muffin tin with mini muffin cases. We only have one mini muffin tin (which makes 24 cupcakes) but if you have three then you could bake them all in one big batch.
- Weigh your mixing bowl. Baking is science not art and our well-loved digital scales were essential in ensuring that we evenly split the batter to give equal portions.
- Using an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, mix the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder and salt on the lowest speed available for about 30 seconds to 1 minute, until the texture is like fine breadcrumbs with no big lumps. Weigh the mixture again so you can divide into three equal portions. Transfer ⅔ of the ingredients into another bowl leaving ⅓ in the mixer bowl to be flavoured.
- Whisk 2 eggs in a separate jug, weigh and split into three equal portions.
- Add the (now cooled) hot chocolate mixture into the ⅓ beaten eggs and whisk by hand.
- Start the mixer (still on a slow speed) and pour ¾ of the milk/egg mixture into the dry ingredients and mix to combine. Once combined, whisk at medium speed until smooth and thick (scraping down the sides of the bowl before adding the remaining milk/egg mixture). Beat at high speed until the batter is smooth and glossy.
- Fill the prepared mini cupcake cases about ⅔ full using a tablespoon measure to add approximately the same amount into each (with a thicker batter you could also do this using a piping bag).
- Cook in the oven for 12-15 minutes until risen and springy to the touch.
Whilst the first batch was baking we quickly rinsed out the mixing bowl and then proceeded with the second batch. This was the Espresso mixture so we repeated exactly the same procesas above. If you time it right the batter should come together at just about the same time as the previously cooked cupcakes have cooled enough to remove them from the baking tray (so that you can quickly pop in some more cases and then refill with the next batch).
For the last batch, the Earl Grey batter, we repeated the same process; the only difference was to give the tea bags a good squeeze to make sure we got out every last drop of tea flavour (it will be subtle anyway so don’t worry. Let the frosting add the each flavour.
Elldrew froze the cupcakes as we prepared the mini cupcakes a week before required. At this juncture it’s worth noting that these freeze perfectly well – we often bake in advance as it just relieves the stress on the day of serving.
Frosting the Cupcakes:
For the frosting we toyed with making the same basic frosting and then whipping in the flavour, but that would risk overwhipping (and runny frosting), so with such an easy recipe we just divided the ingredients into three and whipped up a separate batch for each flavour.
- Divide the milk into 3 portions for each flavour then dissolve 8g of Espresso powder, or 8g of hot chocolate powder or steep 2 Earl Grey teabags in the milk.
- In a mixer whisk 166g of icing sugar with 53g of butter at low speed until there are no large lumps but the mixture is still powdery.
- Slowly pour in the first infused milk while mixing slowly, then increase the speed to high and whisk until it soft and fluffy.
- Repeat twice more for the other flavours (hint: clean the bowl thoroughly each time).
- Apply the frosting to the cupcakes and decorate.
We decorated our mini cupcakes with:
- Tiny mini-digestive biscuits for the Earl Grey,
- A chocolate coffee bean on the espresso, and
- Mini marshmallows floating on top of the Hot Chocolate cupcakes.
Using different piping techniques to give each cupcakes it’s own distinctive look is a great idea. They may be tiny but make sure they have wow factor and most importantly a great flavour, then you can stand back and reap the rewards of watching them dissapear before your very eyes (knowing you keep a few spares ones back at home for personal indulgence later). See, the best things still do come in small packages.