By rights, these cakes should be called ‘Charlie Cakes’; not after Charlie Sheen, (Although Sheen + cake would probably = bi-winning) but after my friend whose birthday it was yesterday. I asked her what flavour cake she would like. She answered, chocolate and mint.
Which of course, means one thing. No After Eights here, none of those hexagonal shaped chocolates you find at the bottom of your handbag months after sweeping them from a restaurant table. It means MINT AERO. These mint-choc cupcakes are not for the reluctant slut; they are slutty in the extreme. The moment you crumble those chunks of chocolate into the cake batter you’ll understand...
Mint Chocolate Aero Cupcakes (Makes 12)
You will need:
For the cake
- 40g butter, softened (but not melted)
- 100g plain flour
- 20g cocoa powder
- 140g caster sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 120ml milk
- 1 egg
- 1/4 tsp peppermint essence
- 40g mint chocolate Aero* (about 1/4 of a 110g bar, or all of a 46g bar - save yourself a square for decorating!)
For the frosting
- 115g butter, softened
- 225g icing sugar
- 1 tsp peppermint essence
- Splash of cream or milk (about 25ml)
- Preheat the oven to 170C /340F /gas mark 4. Lightly grease 12 cupcake cases and place them in a cupcake tray.
- Put the softened butter in a bowl along with the flour, cocoa power, caster sugar and baking powder. Rub together - clean fingers are easiest for this! - until the mixture is combined into a sandy texture.
- Measure out the milk into a separate bowl or jug. Add the egg and peppermint essence to the milk and beat until the egg is combined.
- Pour the milk mixture onto the dry ingredients and stir lightly until there are no streaks of flour showing. (It's better to under-mix than over-mix)
- Now for the sluttish bit: crumble the mint Aero into small pieces and stir into the cake batter.
- Fill the cupcake cases 3/4 full and bake for 20-25 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool completely before icing.
- Beat the butter with a spoon or a hand-mixer for a couple of minutes until light.
- Sift half the icing sugar into the butter and stir to combine. Repeat with the other half.
- Add the peppermint essence. (You can use less or more according to taste, but beware, it's quite strong!)
- Splash in the cream until your frosting has the desired consistency, stiff but not runny. (You could use milk if you don't have any cream)
- Ice the cupcakes using a flat knife or a piping bag.
- For the final sluttish touch, crumble the remaining mint Aero over the top or decorate with mint sprigs.
*Other mint chocolates are available.