These cupcakes were actually designed with Eurovision in mind. For those of you who are oblivious to this annual event, Eurovision is a pop competition where each country in Europe enters their 'best' pop act, the more zany their attire the better, and at the end of the final every country tallies up their respective (politically biased) results in order to select a winner. England is notoriously unpopular, and famously received zero votes a few years ago. As I say, the votes are very biased, and many countries vote for their neighbours or allies. England apparently has no friends in political Europe, though because the winning country has to host the event the following year, a friend of mine joked that maybe we'll get more votes this year because nobody wants to have to pay for it.
Anyway, the main draw of the event is the vast array of song choices and the outfits that the performers wear. I've not watched Eurovision for a few years because it's no fun watching it alone and mocking to yourself, but this year I'm lucky enough to have found some equally enthusiastic friends to sit and watch the event with.
So, onto the cupcakes. These are chocolate cupcakes, filled with salted caramel (recipe adapted from BBC Food) and topped with chocolate buttercream and popcorn. I had entertained the idea of putting popcorn into the cake mixture too, but I didn't think the texture would work very well. I got the idea for incorporating popcorn into baked goods when I saw this recipe for Popcorn Cookies from Pink Patisserie, and then the idea for these diet-ruining monstrosities slowly came at me like a tsunami on my mind. Don't get me wrong - these taste incredible, but it is hard to stop at one!
For the cakes
- 200g Caster Sugar
- 200g Butter
- 3 Eggs
- 150g Plain Flour
- 50g Cocoa Powder
- 1 Tsp Baking Powder
- 50mL Milk
For the salted caramel
- 100mL Double Cream
- 75g Dark Muscovado Sugar
- 2 Tsp Salt
For the chocolate buttercream
- 400g Icing Sugar
- 100g Cocoa Powder
- 150g Butter
- 2 Tbsp Milk
- 25g Sweetened or Plain Popcorn
- Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan and line a cupcake tray with cupcake cases.
- To make the cakes: cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, then beat in the eggs until smooth. Sieve the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder into the batter and fold in. Fold in enough milk to give a soft dropping consistency. Divide the batter between the cupcake cases and bake in the oven for 22 mins, or until a skewer comes out clean. Place on a wire rack to cool.
- To make the salted caramel, place the muscovado sugar in a heavy-bottomed pan and cover with cold water. Heat on a low heat until the sugar has melted and is bubbling, then leave for another 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and slowly whisk in the cream. Return to the heat and whisk until it starts to simmer, then remove from the heat and leave to cool. Whisk in the salt.
- To make the chocolate buttercream, place the icing sugar, cocoa powder and butter in a mixing bowl and whisk until well combined. Add the milk, then whisk for another 2 minutes.
- To assemble the cupcakes, place the salted caramel in a piping bag that has been fitted with a small nozzle, then insert the nozzle into the cupcake's centre and squeeze some of the salted caramel into it. use a second piping bag filled with the chocolate buttercream to ice the top, then decorate with the popcorn.
You can reduce the impact of these cupcakes on your waistline, as I did, by using low fat cream, butter and sugar substitutes like Truvia or fruit sugar. Take a look at Healthy(ish) Baking to find out more.