One of the things I love about my work colleagues is that they’re always willing to part with cash if it’s for charity. If there is cake involved in exchange for money for charity, then even more so! A few colleagues had expressed their concerns about the devastating earthquake that affected Japan, so we decided to do something to raise some money for the Red Cross tsunami appeal. I mentioned the Cakes for Japan events, started off my Miss Cakehead, that had been taking place up and down the country and suggested we held our own mini Cakes for Japan bake sale.
Now not wanting to be predictable, I obviously decided to make cupcakes. As I would be baking in the evening straight after work I wouldn’t have much time to make wildly different varieties of cupcakes, so I decided to stick with making chocolate cake bases, then top with with different flavoured frostings.
After a while deliberating over which flavours to make, I settled on Malteser, Oreo and Mint Choc Chip, all which match perfectly with a chocolate cake.
I needed a pretty quick to make chocolate cake recipe, as I was intending to make 36 cupcakes plus minis, so decided to try out Martha Stewart’s one bowl chocolate cupcake. The cake, as the name suggests, is made all in one bowl and uses the simple method of adding wet ingredients to dry. The whole process literally lakes a few minutes and there is no need to wait for butter and sugar to be creamed. If you want cupcakes fast, then this is the recipe for you!
All in all we made a total of £150 on the day. Luckily, work is going to match fund this so £300 will be winging its way to the Red Cross this week.
I am going to be baking and volunteering at Cakes for Japan Huddersfield, which is being organised by Marie Claire Nouveau Cakes, who I met at the last Clandestine Cake Club. Come along to the demonstration Zone at Queensgate Market on Sat 23rd April and help support the cause, buy buying lovely treats from a number of generous folk. See the website for more details.
220g plain flour
70g cocoa powder
340g caster sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons bicarb of soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
180ml warm water
45ml vegetable or sunflower oil (or any oil that does not have a strong flavour)
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F (Fan 160C)
Line a muffin tin(s) with liners
Sift the flour, cocoa, bicarb, baking powder, sugar and salt into a large bowl.
Make a small well in the middle of the dry ingredients and then add the eggs, buttermilk, water, oil and vanilla and mix until all just combined and smooth.
Divide the batter between the cases, filling each no more than 2/3 full.
Bake in the oven for 18-22 minutes, rotating halfway if you need to. The tops should be springy – test with a cake tester to make sure they are done. Leave to cool in the pans for 5-10 mins, then turn out onto the cooling tray. (For minis, bake for 10 minutes).
Once cool they are ready to be topped with a number of different frostings.
Cookies & Cream (Oreo)
First off, just to mix this one up a bit, I actually baked half an Oreo into the bottom of this cake, so for these ones, I twisted off the tops of some Oreos and placed the half with the biscuit filling, filling side up, in the bottom of the liner before adding the cake batter and baking for the time specified above.
The frosting is essentially a cream cheese frosting, with the addition of a few of the leftover Oreo halves crushed, then foled through at the very end. It’s important that you don’t add the crumbs until the end, other wise you’ll end up with grey frosting. Not attactive!
100g unsalted butter (room temp)
600g icing sugar
200g full fat cream cheese
4-5 oreo halves, crushed
Beat the butter and icing sugar until mixed well – this may take a few minutes. Then add the cream cheese and beat slowly until soft and fluffy. Throw in the crushed Oreos and carefully fold in. It’s then ready to be used to top the cakes. I topped the cakes off with a mini Oreo.
I did have an issue with the Oreo half sticking at the bottom of the liner, so next time will add the Oreo after adding a spoonful of batter to the liners.
The recipe for the frosting can be found on a previous Malteser cupcake post.
Mint Choc Chip
Rather than messing around with chopping chocolate and peppermint extract, I just made up a batch of buttercream and then added a box of chopped up After Eight mints. The beauty of this frosting is that the longer you leave the buttercream, the more the mint flavour seems to infuse through. However, feel free to add grated chocoalte and creme de menth instead if you don’t like the idea of using a whole box of After Eights.
150g unsalted butter
500g icing sugar
50ml milk or cream
300g box of After Eights
Green food colouring (optional)
Beat the butter, icing sugar and milk until mixed well – this may take a few minute, until soft and fluffy. Add a few drops of food colouting (if desired) and mix until you get a nice mint shade. Throw in the chopped After Eights and carefully mix through throughly. It’s then ready to be used to top the cakes. I decorated the cakes with some Poppets which I found in the supermarket.