Walnut Whip Cupcakes

So last week I received a daily e-newsletter from Emerald Street that contained details about a cupcake competition that they are running in conjunction with the Hummingbird Bakery. The competition was to design a new cupcake, taking into account the American style of the Hummingbird Bakery, bake it, photograph and then send the image, along with the recipe to Emerald Street. The overall winner will have their cupcakes made and sold in Hummingbird Bakeries for two months. Breathe.

Instead of just saying that there’s no point in entering because I’ll never win, (I will never win by the way), I decided, what the hell, and came up with… Walnut Whip Cupcakes! And although I’ll never, win, I was very pleased with the results and I think that they are my most professional looking cupcakes to date. I hope that you agree.

Walnut pieces

Walnut pieces

Walnut Whip Cupcakes

Inspired by the classic walnut whip, these cupcakes consist of a deliciously light chocolate and walnut sponge cake with a marshmallow middle top with chocolate frosting and walnut pieces

Makes approximately 12 cupcakes

For the cake

125g walnuts plus extra for sprinkling

115g plain chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids)

85g unsalted butter, at room temperature

175g soft brown sugar

2 large eggs, separated

185g plain flour, sifted

3/4 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Pinch of salt

250ml semi-skimmed milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

For the marshmallow ‘whip’

1 large egg white

56g of caster sugar

30ml of liquid glucose

1 tbsps of cold water

1 tsp vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

For the frosting

175g plain chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids)

225g unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 tbsp milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

250g icing sugar, sifted

To make the cakes:

Preheat the oven to 170 and line a cupcake tray with cupcake cases.

Break the chocolate into pieces and melt, in the microwave or in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Once melted, set aside and allow to cool slightly.

Place the walnuts and sugar in a food processor and whizz until the walnuts are finely chopped and combined with the sugar.

Cream the butter and walnut sugar mix together in a large bowl. Once well combined, add the egg yolks and beat together. Then add the melted chocolate and beat well.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and a pinch of salt. Put the milk and vanilla extract in a jug.

Add one third of the flour mix to the chocolate mix and beat well. Then add a third of the milk mixture and beat again. Repeat the process until all of the flour and the milk has been added.

In a clean bowl whisk the egg whites to form soft peaks the fold into the rest of the cake mixture.

Divide the cake mixture between the cupcake cases and place in the middle of the over. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the cakes are light and springy to the touch and a skewer comes out clean.

Leave the cakes in the tray for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack for cooling.

To make the ‘whip’:

Whilst the cakes are cooling, make the marshmallow whip by combining the egg white, liquid glucose, caster sugar, vanilla extract, water and salt in a large glass bowl.

Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and beat with an electric whisk on a high speed until thick and fluffy.

Remove from the heat and continue to beat until slightly cool and the mixture holds stiff peaks.

Alternatively, if you don’t fancy making your own, or you are in a rush, then you could use ‘Fluff’ but I think it’s nicer to make your own.

To make the frosting:

Melt the chocolate, in the microwave or in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Once melted, set aside and allow to cool slightly.

Whilst the chocolate is cooling, beat the butter, milk, vanilla extract and icing sugar in a large bowl until smooth using an electric whisk.

Add the melted chocolate to the butter and icing sugar mixture and beat until thick and creamy. Set aside until ready to ice the cakes.

To decorate:

Once the cakes have cooled, using either a sharp knife or a cake plunger, remove the middle of the cupcakes. (The middles can be kept in the freezer and used to make a tiramisu at a later date). Fill the cakes with approximately 1 teaspoon of marshmallow or alternatively you can pipe the marshmallow in.

Next, transfer the chocolate frosting to a piping bag fitted with a star shaped nozzle and pipe onto the tops of the cakes making sure that you cover up the marshmallow.

To finish:

Sprinkle the cakes with chopped walnuts and eat.

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