Jaffa Cake Cupcakes

The other week, I introduced my international friend to the concept of Jaffa Cakes. Ironically, they asked the age old question: is a Jaffa Cake a biscuit or a cake? People have debated this a lot and I’m sure that there’s food-y people out there who can tell me, but I can tell you now the true answer: Who cares?! The more you debate about it, the more other people can eat while you talk about it!

Not to sound too British, but I do love a good biscuit (/cake), especially with a cup of tea! However, I have felt for a while that some snacks of this description should be incorporated into a pudding of some sort. This is the thought that created the idea, whilst food shopping, of Jaffa Cake cupcakes. They’re easy to make into cupcakes, because they’re essentially three elements: chocolate, orange curd and sponge. Even if you’re a beginner to baking, you’ll see that this isn’t a conversion that’s hard to create! And what better than a cake and a Jaffa Cake on top (that’s two puddings in one!!)

Jaffa Cake Cupcakes

Preparation time: 30-40 minutes
Baking time: 10-15 minutes
Makes 12 cupcakes

Ingredients
For the sponge:
110g (4oz) Butter
110g (4oz) Caster Sugar
2 eggs
110g (4oz) Self-raising Flour
1 tsp Vanilla Essence

Orange Marmalade (or see this recipe for 10-minute orange curd)

For the Icing:
130g Butter
500g Icing Sugar
170g Cocoa Powder
3-4 tbsp Milk
1/2 tsp Vanilla Essence

12 Jaffa Cakes for decoration

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Beat the butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl until the mixture is fluffy.
2. Add the eggs one at a time and beat into the mixture until combined.
3. Add the flour and vanilla essence and mix until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
4. Spoon the mixture and divide evenly into the cupcake cases. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the sponge is golden and springs back when pressure is applied to it.
5. When the cupcakes have baked, set them aside to cool.
6. To make the icing, soften the butter in the microwave, then beat together the icing sugar, cocoa powder and butter until combined. Add the vanilla essence. Add the milk a little at a time until the icing is a good texture.
7. Once the cupcakes have cooled, using a teaspoon, hollow out a small section from the top of the cupcake and fill with orange curd/ marmalade. Replace most of the sponge back on the top of the curd/ marmalade (as if you’re putting a lid over the orange). Repeat for all the cupcakes.
8. Cover the cupcakes with the chocolate icing.
9. Cut 12 Jaffa Cakes in half, and using two halves, create a butterfly effect by placing one half on each side of the cupcake.

Handy Hints
Icing texture– this matters more if you choose to pipe your icing onto the cakes. If you do, it needs to be firm enough that the mixture holds on a spoon (i.e. it doesn’t drip off the spoon), but not too stiff that it doesn’t mix easily.
Adding the orange– for more tips on this, see this recipe.
Adding the icing– Piping the icing gives a more neat effect (and possibly adds more icing), but this works just as well with a knife and using the back of a spoon to shape.

Jaffa cake cupcakes

Jaffa cake cupcakes3

Candy Cane Cupcakes

It may seem a little too soon for some of you to be reading a Christmas recipe, but it’s definitely acceptable now because it’s December!! I love it when it reaches December because no-one can complain about me getting excited for Christmas. I love Christmas (just in case you hadn’t picked that up!) It’s such a good time of year, and I really enjoy the build-up through December. I love Christmas jumpers, hot chocolates, and most of all, Christmas puddings! We always have family over to stay for Christmas in my house, which is great because me and my mum get to bake whatever we want to, and know that it’ll be eaten quickly so we can bake something else! It’s a great excuse to bake all the things that I deem too expensive when I have to pay for the ingredients myself (ta mum!), or simply too fancy for everyday life. And what better way to spread a little Christmas spirit than by sharing some bakes?!

So, because it’s now December, I wanted to come up with a recipe that was Christmas-y but also would be good to make at uni. I actually made these cupcakes for my flatmates and also to take in for one of my lecture groups, so they’re great for spreading the Christmas joy! The idea for these cupcakes came from the leftover candy cane segments I had after making Candy Cane and chocolate lollies. These cupcakes have a mint chocolate truffle centre, and a minty buttercream topping so are not only decorated with candy cane bits, but have the great sweet mint flavour too.

Candy Cane Cupcakes
Preparation Time: 30 mins (total)
Baking Time: 20-25 minutes
Cost: £3.62

Ingredients
For the cupcakes:
165g Butter, softened
165g Caster Sugar
3 Eggs
165g Plain Flour
25g Cocoa Powder
2 tsp Baking Powder

For the mint truffle centre:
225g Icing Sugar
30g Butter
25g Cocoa Powder
2 tbsp Milk
1/2 tsp Peppermint Extract

For the mint buttercream:
140g Butter
Icing Sugar (at least 200g)
A dash of milk
Peppermint extract (to taste)
Crushed pieces of candy cane/ Christmas-coloured sprinkles to decorate

(makes 12)

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Cream the butter and sugar together until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs and mix until combined and smooth.
2. Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined- scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl to make sure it’s all combined properly.
3. Line a cupcake tray with cupcakes cases and fill the cases, spooning in the mixture until the case is about two-thirds full.
4. Bake in a pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes, until the sponge springs back when pressure is applies, or until a knife or cake-tester comes out of the cupcake clean. Leave on one side to cool.
5. Whilst the cupcakes are cooling, make the mint truffle centre mixture. First, melt the butter slightly in the microwave until soft. Then, add the icing sugar and cocoa powder and mix until fully combined.
6. Add a dash of milk if needed to soften the mixture slightly, then add the peppermint extract to taste.
7. Once the cupcakes have cooled, taking one at a time, spoon out a small circle from the middle of the cupcake and extract the sponge from beneath it until you have a small hole in the middle of the cupcake. Don’t spoon too much mixture out- there should still be plenty of sponge surrounding the dip, and it shouldn’t go to the bottom of the cupcake case.
8. Once the holes have been cut in all the cupcakes, spoon a little of the mint truffle mix into each hole until it fills it to a level top.
9. Put these to one side to make the buttercream icing (preferably covered and in a place that isn’t too warm!)First, soften the butter in the microwave. Then, add the icing sugar and mix until combined. Start with equal quantities, then keep adding icing sugar until you reach a slightly stiff consistency. Add a dash of milk to create softer icing, then add some more icing sugar.
10. Add peppermint extract to the icing to taste, and mix to incorporate. Ice the cupcakes, then add crushed candy canes/ sprinkles to decorate!

Handy Hints
Even cupcakes- to get cupcakes that are the same size, try using an ice-cream scoop to make sure you have an even amount of mixture in each cupcake case (you can tell I didn’t do that!)
Filling the centres- You may have to use a teaspoon to gently press down the truffle centre into the cavity in the cupcake. Fill the hole to the top to make it an even top when you’re adding the buttercream.
Buttercream- If you’ve used margarine instead of butter to make your icing, don’t add the milk, as this will require a lot of icing sugar!

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