Friday, October 1, 2010

White Chocolate Mud Cupcakes with Caramelised White Chocolate Ganache

I know not everyone loves white chocolate - I do, so long as it's 'good' (that said I do like Milky Bars, but I'm not at all under the illusion that it's chocolate - in that case it's the sugar I'm after!) but Mr Cake avoids it like the plague. The caramelising technique I tried the other day takes it to a whole new level, though, one that even Mr Cake confesses is delectable. I decided cupcakes with a ganache icing would be a good way to show off the delicous flavour, especially since my new cupcake carrier really needed an excursion.

I made the ganache first, being careful not to let the temperature get above 35 C, and I have to say it was the fastest setting ganache I've ever made. Never mind that my previous method usually worked out in the end, not having to wait overnight until it's firm enough to use is enough of an incentive for me to change my poor ganache-making technique. If you don't have a thermometer, take the cream of the heat as soon as it starts to boil, add the chocolate, and then transfer to a bowl (to remove heat) as soon as the chocolate starts to melt. Don't stir too much; just gently fold the mixture until it all melts together. And if it doesn't put it back over heat for short bursts - but you might be surprised how a little warmth goes a long way.

I used some regular white chocolate along with the caramelised stuff, and the flavour is still lovely and rich, so I think actually it might be too rich if it were all caramelised (especially for generously-topped cupcakes).

For the cake I used TorteNZ's white chocolate mud cake recipe. The first step is melting the chocolate, butter, milk and sugar together in a saucepan, and this takes the prize for most disgusting-looking foodstuff I've ever made. But push through the pain, for the glory is to come!

The recipe is really easy (mud cakes are good like that) - there's the melting step, then you add eggs and vanilla, and then the flour. You can do the whole lot with a wooden spoon or spatula (though I confess I often whip out a whisk to make sure it's perfectly smooth, a step you can skip if you're less pedantic).

I poured the batter into cupcake papers and put them in the oven, set the timer and sat down to start writing this post (which I intended to put up last night). I start writing up the recipe, and what's this, I've missed an ingredient. A slightly pivotal ingredient. A whole cup of flour. Arghhhh!

The recipe only has 1 and 2/3 cups, so I'd left out more than half the total flour for the recipe (in the original recipe some of the flour was listed as self-raising; I never use self-raising flour, instead adding baking powder to regular flour, and I knew adding flour was the last step and somehow just didn't see that last line). I had thought the batter was particularly runny but mud cake batter usually is pretty liquid so figured that was okay.

On realising my mistake I leapt up and ran to the oven to check the cupcakes, which should have been just about cooked by that stage. The middle picture above shows what I saw; bubbly liquid. Not so good. So I let them cook long enough to firm up (outcome: extremely buttery, dense and not very structurally sound cake things) then dashed to the supermarket to get some more white chocolate (I have a huge bag of Callebaut white chocolate but it works out about twice as expensive as Cadbury Dream, which tastes good and has a respectable 24% cocoa butter; hence I tend to use Dream for recipes where the chocolate is less prominent - e.g. cake - and Callebaut for cookies or uncooked things, where the chocolate flavour usually shines more).

I ploughed through the recipe for the second time, and this time added a more normal looking amount of flour:

Much better! The batter was still pretty runny but more batter-y. Still can't believe I made such a major mistake - how could I have thought 2/3 of a cup of flour was enough? - but the end result was good, second time around.

Once they were ready to go I used my electric beater to fluff up the ganache, which makes it work better as a cupcake icing (a big swirl of non-aerated ganache would be pretty deadly!).

The result? Spectacular! I LOVED the icing, as did many of my colleagues - several asked how I made it, one even told me she'll never be able to eat another cake because this was so good nothing else could live up to it. So I'll take that as a vote of approval; caramelised white chocolate is a definite win! 

White Chocolate Cupcakes
300g white chocolate
200g butter
1 cup milk
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
230g/1 and 2/3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 160C and line 18-20 muffin pans with cupcake papers. Place chocolate, butter, milk and  sugar in a pot and melt over a low heat, stirring frequently.  Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes (this prevents the egg from curdling when you add it).

Add in the beaten eggs and vanilla. Sift flour and add into the chocolate mixture. Mix until smooth.

Spoon into cupcake papers and cook for about 20 minutes (check after 15 - ovens vary!). Alternatively this batter makes a 20cm cake, which will take around 1 hour 15 minutes to cook.

Caramelised White Chocolate Ganache
275g white chocolate
200g caramelised white chocolate
250ml cream

Heat cream in a saucepan until just boiling. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate with a gentle folding motion until all melted and combined. Leave to cool. When thick, beat until fluffy, then pipe onto cooled cupcakes.


  1. Perfect! (eventually)

    I never have self raising flour either, but have it written down that way and haven't got around to changing it yet. I probably won't ever.

    I even have those same cupcake papers :) They look great with the pale ganache!

  2. That sounds really good. Do you remember Caramilk? It was only around for a year or so, and the Caramilk cream eggs a little longer. That stuff was good. Dunno why they discontinued it.

  3. Actually, that's often my problem when I go to cafes; "That mud cake looks nice, but it's not going to live up to my sisters."

  4. tortenz - yes, I should pay more attention to the recipe, it'd be far less stressful! I do love these cupcake papers. Need to get more soon, by failing a batch I depleted my reserves!

    Sarah - I looooooooooooooooved Caramilk. In fact the memory of it was the real motivation behind caramelising the white chocolate - if you click through to the method for that (from the recipe) you'll see it's pretty similar. Super yummy!

    Cathie - I can barely bring myself to buy cakes anymore - some of them are really good but so many aren't. Sorry to jade you. Also, that last sentence needs an apostrophe to stop it from sounding like you compare cake to Beth and I. :-p

  5. Well, it's true. The taste of cake really can't compare to you two. Particularly with gravy.

  6. Cathie, no comment. *mildly disturbed*


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