The best chocolate blogging challenge around is now two! Happy Birthday We Should Cocoa. Set up by Choclette of Choc Log Blog and Chele of Chocolate Teapot WSC has now been going for two years, and I'm proud to say that I've been there since the start (although I haven't participated in all of the challenges!).
When Choclette announced that the theme for this month was Cocktails I have to admit that my heart sank. I don't think I've ever knowingly drunk a cocktail, or at least not a proper one. I may have had one or two mocktails in my time, but even those are infrequent. I was thus utterly stumped for inspiration on this one. I let the thought slide because my time has not been my own recently, but as of now (well, for a little while anyway) my exams are over and I can bake as I wish.
And so I didn't really think about this challenge at all. Since my exam date and the deadline collided exactly and since I have been at home on study leave and not really able to make cakes (and certainly not make them for colleagues) I thought I would bow out of the challenge. And then I remembered that Choclette had named me as one of the first month's challenge participants. And so the pressure to participate grew.
Fortunately inspiration struck just in time. I was thinking about the chocolate I like to eat most, and after unflavoured chocolate my favourite flavour is mint. I think this is because the sweet fruity centred chocolates are not my scene and nuts are off limits. So I always hope that if someone is buying chocolates for me they go for the mint box because then I can be a greedy piglet and hog them all to myself!
And to go with mint I thought of lime. Mint and lime, yum and then rounded off with white chocolate so the flavours don't clash with the strong dark chocolate. But how to combine them. I decided on a lime drizzle cupcake base and then a white chocolate and mint buttercream in luscious swirls on the top. Most decadent and most appropriate for WSC's second birthday. Mint and lime are the flavours of a Mojito, so these are my mojito cupcakes.
All kinds of green
125g unsalted butter
125g white caster sugar
125g self raising flour
about 3tbsp milk
grated zest 1 lime
For the drizzle/syrup
Juice of the lime plus 40g icing sugar
For the buttercream
75g unsalted butter, softened
150g icing sugar
40g white chocolate, melted
2 tsp peppermint extract
white chocolate chips to scatter
- Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4. Line a 12 hole muffin tin with ten liners.
- Cream the butter until light and fluffy. Add the lime zest and continue to mix.
- Add the flour and eggs and beat well, then add the milk as necessary to make a softer mixture.
- Divide between the cases and bake for 25-30 minutes.
While they are baking make a simple syrup from the icing sugar and the juice of the lime - bring to the boil and simmer a couple of minutes. Allow to cool slightly.
- When the cupcakes are baked, prod all over with a wooden cocktail stick and carefully spoon over the syrup. Allow to sink in and allow the cupcakes to cool.
- In the meantime, make the buttercream icing by beating the butter and icing sugar together, adding the slightly cooled white chocolate and 2 tsp peppermint essence to the mixture.
- Pipe onto your cupcakes, scatter over white chocolate chips and admire.
What I have learnt from making these: that 6 hours in exams and a 90 minute journey home through driving rain does not necessarily mean you cannot bake when you get home. You will struggle to write the post up too though... thanks to Choclette for allowing me to be a little late.
Don't melt white chocolate in the microwave, well, at least not 40g for a minute on full power unattended. Cue smoke streaming out of the microwave and frantic (and ineffectual) wafting of teatowel to avoid setting smoke alarm off.
I'm pleased to say that they were delicious. The sponge was beautifully soft and moist and slightly lime-y and then the sweet buttercream was the perfect complement - rich and smooth and then minty too, but not overwhelmingly so. Just right for celebrating the end of my horrible day of exams! A celebration of two years of We Should Cocoa - here's to the continuing success of the challenge.