We have an unopened box of chocolate left from Christmas!
Yes, I know, how does that happen!? A box of chocolates sitting in our home for almost 6 months, untouched! Still wrapped in cellophane. I told you it was shocking.
It's not as though the said box of chocolates was hidden away at the back of an unused cupboard. They were, in fact, kept at the front of a cupboard which is used just about everyday. So with the use by date fast approaching we were left with the conundrum of either i) should we just enjoy them on a lazy afternoon with a good pot of tea, or ii) pop them into one of our creations. The box in question held Matchmaker chocolates. You know the ones, the 'skinny stick' shaped chocolates which are very morish. I'm salivating as I type this, so even more shocking that the box has been totally ignored!
I've heard of people making sponge cakes with After Eight Mints hidden in the centre of the batter. So, it dawned on me; why not try the same with the Matchmakers.
So let me introduce you to Matchmaker Cupcakes!
I decided to make a marbled sponge for the body of the cupcakes, that way they wouldn't be too rich. Crushed Matchmaker chocolates were incorporated into the chocolate batter, these melted beautifully in the baking. I echoed the marbled sponge by making a two tone frosting. The first frosting was a whipped chocolate ganache; the second was a simple cream cheese frosting. The two toppings were placed into separate piping bags, they were then flattened and placed into a third piping bag fitted with a star nozzle. Crumbled Matchmakers were scattered over the top of the frosted cupcake and the piece de resistance was a Matchmaker sat in the two-tone frosting positioned on a jaunty angle!
Mmm Yummy!! But I challenge you to eat more than one! They are somewhat rich. But yummy, certainly yummy!
As a side note regarding the extravagant use of three disposable piping bags. I must say they're not the cheapest thing in the world to buy, and when using three for one recipe you soon need to visit the supermarket to purchase more. So, I've started washing mine out in hot soapy water and then allowing them to dry naturally, propped in a pint glass. I should be able to get more use out of them that way. We live in such a throw-away society; I try to be a little more conscious about recycling more (and not just the stuff we put out for the bin men each week).
And check out our feline friend who wanted to see what the white tent was all about on the kitchen table! Once the photo was taken he was promptly removed! Mr E, bless him, bought the tent for me to help with my photography. I need all the help I can get! I must say the tent certainly does help. Thank you sugar.
Let's get to it and bake
Matchmaker Cupcakes Yum
Cost: about £4.36p, that just over 48p per cupcake.
Difficulty: Easy - Moderate
Freezable: Yes, undecorated
Time: 45 minutes, plus cooling time
You will need:
Muffin baking tray
3 piping bags
Large star nozzle
For the sponge
160g unsalted butter, softened
160g golden caster sugar (or regular caster sugar or a mixture of the two)
3 eggs, beaten
160g SR flour, sieved
0.5 tsp vanilla extract
75ml milk + 1 tbsp. milk
2 tbsp. cocoa powder, sieved
about 14 Matchmaker sticks, crushed finely
For the frosting
90g milk chocolate
90ml double / whipping cream
70g unsalted butter, softened
140g icing sugar
70g cream cheese, full fat.
about 6 Matchmaker sticks, crushed finely
5 Matchmaker sticks, snapped in half.
How to make them:
1. Pre heat the oven to 180c / Fan 160 / Gas 4. Line a muffin tin with large bun cases.
2. Place the butter in a large bowl and beat either with a wooden spoon or hand held electric beater or stand mixer. Add the sugar and beat well until pale and fluffy.
3. Add the beaten eggs a little at a time, beating well after each addition. If the mixture looks like it may curdle, add a dessert spoon of the weighed flour and mix to combine.
4. Add the vanilla to the measured milk and stir together.
5. Add a third of the sieved flour and gently fold in using a spatula. Add half of the measured milk and mix to combine. Add a second third of the flour and fold into the mixture. Continue until the milk and flour are combined.
6. Place half of the sponge batter into another bowl. To one half add the sieved cocoa powder and the extra milk and fold into the mixture.
7. Add the crushed Matchmakers to the chocolate batter and gently mix to combine. (The Matchmakers can be crushed either in a food processor or by placing in a clean tea towel and using a rolling pin to apply pressure, as I did).
8. Using 2 teaspoons, place some of each of the two mixtures into each muffin case. Aim to make each muffin about a 50 / 50 ratio between the plain and chocolate batters. The muffin cases should be half to three-quarter full.
9. With a skewer or teaspoon handle, lightly ripple the two mixture together in each muffin case.
10. Place in the centre of the oven and bake for between 20 - 25 minutes until golden brown and an inserted skewer comes out clean. You may need to rotate the tray after 16 minutes of cooking.
11. Meanwhile make the two frostings. Firstly make the chocolate ganache by warming the cream in a small pan. Once heated (NOT boiling) take off the heat and add the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has fully melted. Pour into a bowl to cool completely. Once cooled, whip with either a balloon whisk or egg whisk until thickened & a pipe-able consistency. Don't over whip.
12. In a stand mixer, or with a hand held beater, make the cream cheese frosting. Place the butter into a good sized bowl and beat to ensure it is soft. Add the sieved icing sugar and slowly mix to combine. Add the full fat cream cheese and beat for 2-3 minutes until it is well combined and creamy.
13. Place the two frostings in to separate piping bags. Cut the ends off the piping bags. Lay them on the work surface and flatten the mixtures. Gently tease the fillings to the edge of the cut opening. Place one filled piping bag on top if the second and slide them into the empty piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle. You may need to remove some frosting if the two bags don't fit into the third bag.
14. Test the piping bag to ensure both fillings are being extracted. Pipe a generous swirl on to each muffin. Sprinkle with the crushed Matchmakers and place one half Matchmaker in the top of each muffin.
Share and enjoy with a pot of tea.
This post has been shared with:
- Fabulous Foodie Fridays hosted by three ladies: Lucy, at 'Bake Play Smile, Lauren at Create Bake Make & Dannielle from Zamamabakes
- The Biscuit Barrel with Alexandra at The Lass in the Apron. May's theme is Party. Chocolate buns, perfect for any party!