Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Milk and Cookies Cupcakes

I've been trying to remember what inspired these and I honestly cannot remember.  For all I know it was a random idea which has steadily developed as I worked out all the component parts.  I am aware it is not an original idea.  'Milk and cookies' or 'cookies and cream' has been done before, but I try to avoid looking at recipes for things that I have ideas for because it's more fun to figure it all out myself.  Then I can be extra pleased when the final result is a success.  Obviously I look at recipes for individual parts but the combined thing is never from one place.

So, anyway, somewhere along the way I decided I wanted to do a cupcake inspired by the idea of 'milk and cookies'.  Now originally, I was going to base the cake part on the recipe I used for the hot-chocolate and strawberry milkshake cupcakes, where a lot of milk went into the actual batter before it was baked.  I would just obviously leave out the hot-chocolate/strawberry milkshake powder.  But then I was looking about for other milk cupcakes, to see if there was any other ways of doing it, and re-discovered the Tres Leches cake.  This is something I've seen before, usually accompanied by Dulce de Leche buttercream (which I've made before to go with toffee cupcakes).  I've never made it though but after reading several recipes I knew this would be a much better cake for the milk part of my 'milk and cookies' cupcakes.  I settled on a recipe I found on Allrecipes which was really well rated, but did something you're really not meant to do unless you're a really good baker and altered the recipe a little bit.

The changes I made were based on some of the reviewer comments which made sense to me.  The biggest was that I separated the eggs and whisked the egg whites before adding them in.  This was to get a better rise and a lighter cake.  Since this has often been the result when I've used it in my standard vanilla sponge cake, I thought this was a good idea.  I also added bicarbonate of soda alongside the baking powder, to get a little extra rise.  Well I certainly did end up with a much lighter cake.  These things were practically weightless when they came out the oven, prior to drowning in the milk.  It was rather amazing.  Another change I made was that I reduced the number of eggs from 5 to 4.  This is because the sizing of eggs is different in America compared to here in the UK.  Again, there were reviews mentioning poor results with so many eggs, so I thought I would use fewer eggs, because the UK sizes are bigger than the US.  And it worked out brilliant so hoorah!  Finally, I didn't use anywhere near the amount of milk recommended.  I originally made half a batch of the milk mixture but only ended up using half of that because I did not want my cakes to turn to mush.  Also turned out to be a good decision.  The cakes were still milk sodden all the way through, but were not mushy or goopy and everyone that ate them thought the balance of milk to cake was perfect.  So in the write up, it'll be a quarter batch of the original recipe.

The decoration for the cake ended up being a no-brainer, since the cake was the 'milk' the topping had to be the 'cookie'.  I knew from the get-go that I was going to decorate with a chocolate chip cookie and so obviously it made sense to make the buttercream cookie dough flavoured.  I've made it before and it was so delicious!

The final result was a complete success.  As I said, everyone thought the balance of cake to milk was perfect.  Lovely and wet and sweet but not goopy.  The cake stayed completely intact.  The buttercream was deliciously sweet too, and went splendidly with the cake and the biscuit was a nice little bonus.  My testers removed the cookie, scooped up some of the buttercream from the cake and ate it that way.  They said it was amazing. 

Recipe - makes about 14 cakes

  • 50g/1.7oz butter
  • 65g/2.3oz caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 75g/2.5oz plain flour
  • 1/2 tbsp milk
  • 50g/1.7oz chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5 and line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.
  2. Combine all the ingredients together in a bowl and mix until you get a nice dough.  You may have to form the dough with your hands after the initial mixing.
  3. Shape into small half tablespoon size balls and flatten slightly, placing onto the trays, spaced well apart as they spread.  Make sure you've got at least 14 but you should end up with spares, just in case.
  4. Bake until the edges are nice and golden, about 10-15 minutes.
  5. Remove and leave to cool on the tray for about 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
Cake - adapted from
  • 190g/6.5oz plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 115g/4oz butter
  • 200g/7oz caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 115ml/4fl.oz whole milk
  • 100g/3.5oz condensed milk
  • 85g/3oz evaporated milk
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 and line a 12 hole and a 6 hole muffin tin with 14 muffin cases. 
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl and set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla until smooth and creamy.
  4. Separate the eggs and add the yolks one at a time to the sugar butter, beating in after each addition.
  5. Add the flour mixture to the batter two tablespoons at a time, and mix.
  6. Whisk the eggs into soft peaks.  Add a spoonful to the cake batter and fold in.
  7. Add the rest of the egg whites and fold in until you have no white streaks visible in your mixture.
  8. Divide the mixture between the cases, filling them about two thirds full.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until they are well risen and the tops are springy. 
  10. Remove to a wire rack and use a skewer to poke about 10 holes into each cake.  Leave to cool.
  11. Once cool, combine the whole milk, condensed milk and evaporated milk in a bowl.
  12. Dip the top of the cakes into the milk one at a time, repeating several times until all the milk is used up. (This is less messy than pouring it over each cake and still soaks the cake through.)
  13. Put in the fridge for about 30 minutes before icing.
Buttercream - adapted from What's Cooking on Planet Byn (as sited when used previously)
  • 170g/6oz butter
  • 90g/3oz brown sugar
  • 225g/8oz icing sugar
  • 65g/2.2oz plain flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tbsp milk
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 40g/1.5oz chocolate chips
  1. Mix together the butter and the brown sugar until creamy.
  2. Beat in the icing sugar until it is smooth.
  3. Add flour and salt and beat in.
  4. Finally add milk and vanilla and keep mixing until everything is combined and you have a reasonable smooth mixture.
  5. Put in a piping bag with a large star nozzle and pipe a swirl of buttercream on top of each cake.
  6. Decorate with chocolate chips then put in the fridge to set for about an hour.
  7. Push a cookie into each buttercream swirl, keeping the weight leaning towards the centre of the cake so it does not fall over.

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