I am hosting this month's AlphaBakes which is the letter "H". Frankly, it's a bit of a relief as the last 2 letters have been slightly tricky being "K" followed by "I". In case you missed the late announcement, there is a lovely prize for 1 lucky winner selected at random this month. It's a copy of 500 cupcakes by Fergal Connolly & Judith Fertig sponsored by Quarto Publishing.
I decided to select a recipe from the 'H' index for my Alphabakes entry this month. There's 21 recipes under 'H' some of which are variations on the same recipe. There were a few interesting ones but in the end I decided on these hot chocolate cupcakes as I've been craving chocolate.
The book is a lovely sized hardback with 288 pages including index. It starts with a brief introduction which covers basic equipment and ingredients, making and decorating cupcakes, serving ideas and cupcake gifts. The chapters are then divided into
- Classic Cupcakes
- Fragrant and spiced cupcaes
- Chocolate cupcakes
- Decadent Cupcakes
- Celebration Cupcakes
- Cupcakes for Kids
- Cupcakes for special diets
- Designer Cupcakes
All the cupcake recipes fit onto 1 page with a one line summary followed by ingredient list and methods. The instructions are simple and succint. Most of the main recipes include a picture but there isn't a picture for each recipe. Each recipe has variations listed on a separate page. For example, these chocolate orange cupcakes pictured below are a 'main recipe'
The variations page looks like this and the variations for chocolate orange cupcakes include chocolate orange marshmallow-centred cupcakes,chocolate orange & vanilla centred cupcakes, white chocolate & vanilla cupcakes and chocolate crystallised orange-centred cupcakes. I particularly like that there is a little picture at the top corner of the basic recipe the variations refer to just in case you're not sure.
The hot chocolate cupcake recipe that I chose was actually a variation of their morning latte cupcakes. The instructions were to prepare the basic cupcake recipe (for morning latte cupcakes) but to omit the coffee flavouring in the icing and to sprinkle chocolate sprinkles on top of each cupcake.
The cupcakes themselves were delicious. It's a plain vanilla sponge topped with a thick chocolate icing. It's quite a fudgey consistency which was easy to spread. It was then topped with marhsmallow fluff and finished with a dusting of cocoa powder. I couldn't find my mini mallows which would look good on top. Initially I thought the cupcake should be a chocolate cupcake but it works better this way as you can taste the chocolate and the marshmallow separately. It's quite messy to eat as the marhsmallow fluff is extremely sticky but it's really tasty.
My verdict - This is a cute little book which is perfect if you are new to baking but there's also some lovely recipes for the advanced baker. I like the layout and presentation of the book. There is also a large variety of recipes and I know I will be using this book again and again. My only negative as always is that there isn't a photo for each recipe. It will make a great gift for a baking friend and I would have happily bought this book for myself.
As mentioned I'm entering this to AlphaBakes hosted by myself this month and co hosted by Caroline from Caroline Makes. The letter is 'H' for Hot chocolate cupcakes. Remember to email your entries by 25th November and you will be in with a chance to win a copy of this book.
Update 17/11/14Recipe from 500 Cupcakes by Fergal Connolly & Judith Fertig. Published by Apple Press. Reproduced with permission.
For the cupcakes
225g unsalted butter
115g caster sugar
225g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla essence
For the icing & decorations
100g plain chocolate, roughly chopped
60g unsalted butter
100g icing sugar
215g jar Marshmallow Fluff or 200g mini marshmallows, melted
18 craft pipe cleaners or chenille sticks (I didn't use these)
- Preheat the oven to 175C/350F/Gas Mark 4.
- Place 18 paperbaking cases into muffin tins. (I only managed 11 cupcakes of size shown)
- Combine all the cupcake ingredients in a medium bowl and beat with an electric whisk until smooth and pale, about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Spoon the batter into the cases.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove the tins from the oven and cool for 5 minutes.
- Remove the cupcakes and cool on a rack.
- To make the icing, gently heat the chocolate and butter in a small, heavy saucepan, stirring until melted.
- Remove from the heat and beaat in the icing sugar.
- For each cupcake: Ice the top. Pipe or spoon marshmallow fluff on top of each cupcake. Double the pipe cleaner and insert both ends into the side of each cupcake handle to form a 'handle'.
Disclaimer: I was sent a review copy of 500 cupcakes. A positive review was not required and all opinions expressed are my own. This is not a sponsored post.