Thursday, 9 June 2016

Festive mint cupcakes

It's officially December, the time to overeat on festive treats has begun, these delightful mint cupcakes make for a tasty, sweet treat, that's a sweet Christmas-y shade of green. Perfect to get yourself in the mood for Christmas, or just a little something to indulge on this month. However you decide to eat them, they'll certainly look the part.

Ingredients
  140g self raising flour
  140g caster sugar
  40g butter
  1 egg
  1 tsp vanilla essence
  120ml milk

For the buttercream
  90g butter
  200g icing sugar
  2 tsp peppermint extract
  1 drop of green food colouring
  Red and green ready to roll icing for the decorations

Pre heat the oven to 180c/160c fan/gas mark 4 and line a cupcake tray with cases (makes 12 cupcakes).

Beat together the sugar, flour and butter to a sandy consistency, if your beating by hand, try to break down the butter with the back of the spoon to a fine mixture.

Whisk the egg, vanilla essence and milk in a jug and gradually pour into the dry mixture, blending it as you go, to a smooth mixture.

Spoon the mixture into each case, filling each one to two thirds full. Before placing the tray in the oven turn it down a notch, i.e 150c for a fan oven, to create the perfect flat top, bake for 15-20 minutes until golden and risen. Leave aside to cool on a wire rack, then prepare your buttercream.

Whisk together the butter with half of the icing sugar until blended, sift the remaining icing sugar in, and whisk to a pale mixture. Add the peppermint extract and whisk to blend, it should be subtle enough that the sweetness of the icing sugar still comes through, I found 2 tsp's was just enough to get a strong minty taste that's still sweet.

Next add in the colouring, I used Sugarflair's 'Mint green' paste, take a knife and gently dip it into the paste, you only need a small amount to achieve a pale minty shade, I used two small 5mm sized dabs of the paste, so a little really does go a long way.

Whisk well to blend, the end result should be a slightly thick, but smooth buttercream, with a sweet minty taste, you can always add a drop of two more of the extract if you want a stronger tasting buttercream.

Set aside and cut out some festive leaves using the icing, I made mine freehand using some icing tools, but if you've got a small leaf cutter this will save some time to cut them out. I used a blade tool to cut out the leaves, simply cut to a holly leaf shape, then use a veining tool to add the leaf pattern on top. Then the easy part, take some red icing and roll it into small balls using the palm of your hand, set these aside to decorate later.

Spoon the buttercream into a piping bag and pipe swirls to cover the top of each cupcake, for any cakes that your placing the icing decorations on top, pipe enough to cover the cake so it's still flat to place the decorations on. Then place your icing decorations on top to finish.

Best eaten: The mint buttercream gives these cupcakes a lovely taste, although, if your feeling really decadent, try making chocolate cupcakes to top with the mint buttercream.