Cake / Chocolate

Eleventh Day of Xmas: Chocolate-mint Xmas Tree Cupcakes

22.12.12. Looks like yesterday wasn’t quite the end of the world. Which means Christmas gifts still need to be bought, or made! These cute little christmas tree cupcakes make the perfect homemade gift. And what makes these chocolate cupcakes extra festive is their peppermint flavor. I made my favorite type of buttercream – Italian buttercream, which is the lightest and most delicious of all buttercream in my opinion. So yummy, in fact, that I couldn’t stop eating it!

I know the eleven pipers probably weren’t piping cupcakes. But hey, never underestimate the power of imagination. Piping is one of the things I enjoy most about pastry. I can’t draw or paint to save my life, but cakes and cream have become my artistic medium. Best thing about that is you can have your art (cake) and eat it. For those who find piping these Christmas trees a challenge, be patient and remember that practice makes perfect. After all, you could just scrape off the icing and start over. Or better still, eat the icing and then start over!

Chocolate Mint Cupcakes
Yields: 16-18 regular size cupcakes

Cupcake
(Adapted from Martha Stewart)

1 1/2 cups (180g) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (100g) unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 cup (240g) sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup (180g) buttermilk
3 tablespoons (45g) vegetable oil
3/4 cup (180g) warm water
1 teaspoon pure peppermint extract

1. Stir oil, buttermilk, water, peppermint and sugar together with a whisk. Add eggs in one at a time until well-blended.

photo 2

2. Add sifted dry ingredients and stir just until well-combined.

3. Fill cupcake liners.

photo 3

Easiest way to portion cupcakes is to use an ice-cream scoop

4. Bake at 350 F for 12-15 minutes until skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool.

Italian Buttercream
(Taken from Sarah Labensky’s On Baking)

120g egg whites (~3-4)
80g sugar
160g sugar
40g water
375g unsalted butter, soft but not melted
Pure peppermint extract
Green color paste

1. Place 160g sugar and water in a clean pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

photo 2

Before sugar starts boiling, brush the sides of the pot with clean water to prevent the sugar from crystallizing

2. Meanwhile, place egg whites in mixing bowl and start whisking on low until frothy. Add sugar a bit at a time and whisk on high till just before stiff peaks.

photo 1

Mr Meringue about to get his Italian citizenship!

3. When sugar reaches 116 C, pour hot sugar syrup into mixing bowl in a thin and slow stream while whisking egg whites on high speed.

photo 2

Add sugar as slowly as you can, pouring in between the whisk and the sides of the bowl to prevent splatters

4. After all the sugar is added, continue whisking on high for ~3 minutes, then turn down to medium speed to cool.

5. When italian meringue has cooled to around room temperature, add soft butter a bit a time while whisking on high until buttercream comes together.

6. Add peppermint extract to taste.

7. Set some white buttercream aside. To the rest, add green color paste gradually while whisking until desired shade of green is achieved.

photo 1

My edible art material

Piping Christmas Tree

1. Fill piping bag with star tip.

2. Pipe a small circle of green buttercream in the middle of cupcake, and then build up another 4-5 circles slightly smaller than the last until the top.

photo 4

Pull piping bag slowly upwards as you pipe

3. Decorate your edible Christmas tree!

photo 1

Christmas tree chocolate mint cupcakes… I think the eleven “pipers” would approve!

If you missed out on past recipes in the 12 days of Xmas recipes series…

Tenth Day of Xmas: Gingerbread 
Ninth Day of Xmas: Rum & Raisin Semi-freddo
Eighth Day of Xmas: Pumpkin Panna Cotta
Seventh Day of Xmas: Profiteroles
Sixth Day of Xmas: Pavlova
Fifth Day of Xmas: Cardamom Rings
Fourth Day of Xmas: Cheesy Cauliflower Gratin
Third Day of Xmas: Creamy Chicken Pie
Second Day of Xmas: Turtle Bars
First Day of Xmas: Rustic Pear Galette

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2 thoughts on “Eleventh Day of Xmas: Chocolate-mint Xmas Tree Cupcakes

  1. Pingback: Twelfth Day of Xmas: Herbed Grissini (Breadsticks) « fait maison

  2. Pingback: Finale: Twelve Days of Xmas Recipes… DONE! « fait maison

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