White chocolate and cranberry cupcakes
I was feeling a little more festive this week so, to celebrate, I made some cranberry and white chocolate cupcakes from Hummingbird Bakery, Home Sweet Home (I’m not quite at the mince pies and yule log stage yet). I realised that I hadn’t made cupcakes for the blog since my very first post, doughnut cupcakes, also from Home Sweet Home, so it was about time I tried a second batch.
Hummingbird recipes are usually pretty generous quantity-wise and Jon and I are trying to cut down a bit on our cake consumption so I decided to make half the recipe. It was for twelve cupcakes. After halving the quantities, I ended up with nine. So much for trying to cut down.
I started with the sponge. I mixed softened, unsalted butter, plain flour, caster sugar, baking powder and salt in the KitchenAid until my mixture looked like breadcrumbs. The KitchenAid is very, very wobbly these days. It’s getting to the stage where I have to keep a very close eye on it, even on the slowest of speeds. Hope Santa is reading…
I mixed milk and an egg together in a jug and, slowly, poured half of the liquid into the dry ingredients with the KitchenAid on slow. I turned the speed up a notch, keeping a very tight grip on the mixer to prevent it leaping off the work surface. Once I had a smooth batter, I slowed the machine down again and added the rest of the liquid. Finally, I mixed in dried cranberries (the recipe didn’t specify, but mine were sweetened) and orange zest. My mixture was pretty wet. I poured it, rather than spooned it, into my cake cases which immediately folded in on themselves inside the muffin tin. Oh well, I suppose the beauty of cupcakes, especially Hummingbird cupcakes, is that they are covered with so much buttercream that you can’t really see that the cupcakes themselves are a bit wonky.
They went into the oven at 150° fan. The cooking time in the recipe is for between 20 and 25 minutes. I checked them after 20 and they did need that extra five. I would, usually, have taken a picture at this stage but the children were around and I had to referee a dispute between Daddy Zombie and Zombie Elsa. Something to do with access to the Ice Palace apparently. Anyway, once that particular tiff was sorted out, I’d completely forgotten about photographs.
I made buttercream to top the cakes by mixing sifted icing sugar and softened butter. I added some milk, braced an arm against the KitchenAid and mixed on a high-speed. The KitchenAid managed to keep going until the buttercream was light and fluffy. In went some melted white chocolate, and I mixed some more.
I topped the cupcakes with the buttercream and decorated them with dried cranberries and a sprinkling of orange zest. Very festive they looked too.
Was it worth it?
Actually, they looked more festive than they tasted. I wasn’t really surprised. To be honest, the only cranberry I usually eat at Christmas is in a sauce served with the turkey. They were good though, a light and fruity sponge topped with lovely white chocolate buttercream. The cranberries were all at the bottom of the cakes, but I don’t think it matters too much. Not with cakes as small as these. A good start to my festive baking. Who knows, I may even feel up to mince pies next week.