Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Rose and White Chocolate Cupcakes

I really wanted to make sure I made something for the fiancé to take with him to Dundee this week.  I had felt a bit bad about not doing so last week due to lack of ideas, exhaustion and just not being bothered.  Not that I'm obligated to make anything but I do enjoy having a reason to do it and people to provide feedback.

I didn't want anything too complex so made a point to avoid fancy fillings and the like.  Really, I just wanted a cake and buttercream, it was simply a matter of finding a flavour combination.  And that combination ended up being white chocolate and rose.  The idea came from a large layer cake that made use of both the flavours, but in the opposite way to what I ended up doing.  That cake was a white chocolate cake whose layers were filled with white chocolate chips, strawberries and rosewater flavoured cream.  Mine, on the other hand, are rose flavoured cakes, tinted pink, with white chocolate buttercream, plus a little bit of rose buttercream piped into roses for added decoration.

When I told the fiancé what I was planning, he did pull a bit of a face.  Whilst he had enjoyed my last use of rose he did say that they hadn't been a particular favourite amongst his friends.  I pointed out I was going to be putting rose in the cake this time, rather than the frosting, and would be significantly toning down the amount I used so the flavour should only be subtle.  Plus, how can you turn down white chocolate buttercream?  That stuff is divine!

I decided I wanted to dye my cakes pink in the middle of making the batter.  I thought it would add an extra layer of pretty to the whole thing.  It was also a great excuse to use the food colouring gels my Dad's girlfriend had gotten me.  Usually when I dye food I lose the colour during the baking process, or at the very least it turns out rather dull looking.  Not this time!  The pink I got was beautiful, both inside and out.  I'm rather eager to use the others now and make all sorts of colourful cakes.

The buttercream roses were also a last minute addition for the sake of a little extra flair.  Luckily I'd overcompensated on the ingredients for the buttercream and had about a fifth of what I made left over.  So I added some rose flavouring and a little colouring, popped it in a bag with a small star nozzle and piped something akin to roses.  They look more like spirals really but the overall effect is still rather pretty.  Also, once again I used buffin cases!  I do rather like the buffin cases.  They make for a nice, medium sized cupcake.

So the final verdict?  The fiancé liked them when he tested the one I cut up for photos.  I also rather liked the bite I got out of said cut-up cake.  And his friends?  Well, everyone loved the buttercream and they all agreed the cake was a lovely texture.  Mixed reviews on the rose flavour though but I expected that.  Rose does seem to be one of those like it or loathe it flavours.

Recipe - makes 12

Cakes - adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery: Cake Days
  • 80g/3oz butter
  • 280g/10oz caster sugar
  • 240g/8.5oz plain flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp rose extract (or 1 tbsp rosewater)
  • 240ml/8.5fl.oz whole milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • Pink food gel (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5 and line a 12 hole muffin tin with either buffin or muffin cases.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the butter, caster sugar, flour, baking powder and salt until you get something that resembles fine bread crumbs.  This is more easily done with a hand mixer but can be achieved with a spoon though you may need to use your hands to rub in the last of the butter lumps.
  3. In a jug, mix together the milk and rose extract.
  4. Add the eggs to the rose milk and whisk with a fork.
  5. Add three quarters of the milk mixture to the dry ingredients and beat in until smooth.
  6. Add the rest of the milk plus a few drops of food gel if using, scrape down the sides of the bowl and then beat until smooth once again.  Add a little more food gel if you want to brighten up the colour.
  7. Distribute evenly amongst the cases, filling about two thirds to three quarters of the way up each case.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Tops should be slightly springy and a skewer inserted into the centre should come out clean.
  9. Allow to cool on a wire rack whilst you make the buttercream.
  • 140g/5oz butter
  • 280g/10oz icing sugar
  • 100g/3.5oz white chocolate
  • Rose or rosewater extract
  • Pink food colouring
  1. Melt the chocolate by breaking into small pieces and placing in a glass bowl over a pan of gently simmering water.  Do not let the bowl touch the water.
  2. Beat the butter in a large bowl until smooth and creamy.
  3. Sift in the icing sugar and mix together until smooth.
  4. Add the melted chocolate and beat in until fully incorporated.
  5. Transfer about a fifth of the buttercream to a separate bowl and then put the rest into a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle.
  6. Pipe a swirl of buttercream on top of each cooled cake.  
  7. Add two or three drops of rose extract (more if you use rosewater) to the reserved buttercream, as well as a few drops of pink colouring.  Beat until smooth.
  8. Put into a piping bag fitted with a small, closed star nozzle.  Pipe small roses onto the side of each buttercream swirl.  I did one on each cake first then went back and added another to each and then a third to make sure each cake got the same amount.

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