Baking expert Fiona Cairns says: ‘I love the contrast between chocolate cake and this pale mint buttercream.’ Follow this easy recipe to see how it’s done
- 175 unsalted buttered, softened
- 100g mint dark chocolate(50-60% cocoa solids) finely chopped
- 200g plain flour
- 1tsp baking powder
- 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 100g ground almonds
- 275g dark muscovado sugar
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 150ml buttermilk
- 18 cupcake cases
- 200g unsalted butter, softened
- 250g icing sugar, sifted
- few drops of peppermint extract, to taste
- 1 pot green food colour paste
- 18 sprigs fresh or crystallized mint leaves
Preheat the oven to 180ºC/fan 170ºC/350ºF/gas mark 4.
Place the chocolate in a bowl and pour over 120ml just-boiled water. Stir until melted, then set aside to cool.
In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda, then stir in the ground almonds. In a bowl of an electric mixer (or in a bowl with a electric hand whisk), cream together the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy (this will take a good 5 mins). Add the vanilla extract to the eggs. With the whisk running, very slowly add the add mixture to the butter and sugar, adding 1 tbsp of the flour during the process to prevent curdling, then add the melted chocolate and the buttermilk. Fold in the remaining flou.
Place the paper cases into a cupcake tin and divide the batter between them. Bake for 25–30 minutes. When they spring back to the touch, remove to cool on a wire rack.
Meanwhile, beat together the butter and icing sugar for a good 5 minutes until really light, then add the peppermint extract and a touch of green food colour paste.
With a palette knife, spread buttercream on to the cupcakes and decorate each with a sprig of mint.
Be careful, when buying the chocolate, to avoid a bar with a fondant centre! Naturally, the chocolate itself should contain the mint flavour.