Both my nephews are borned in June. I remembered my older nephew once says he wants aeroplanes, tanks and helicopters on his next birthday cake. I wonder when I will ever master fondant! So..this year, when his birthday rolled around, I said I will make cupcakes..not very fancy since I'm still such an amateur.. but I tried to do something that matches his current interest which is insects!
Googling around for ideas, I must admit I blantently copied a few designs off Pinterest, my latest best friend for inspiration. The following is the result of my clumsily copied rainbow, caterpillar and ladybug cupcakes:
Guess which one my nephew reached out for? The plain green one with colourful sprinkles, cos he says they looked like ants! ha ha!
And.. my niece took the catepillar... picked the M&Ms & Gummy head off it.. and returned the cupcake to me. Double ha ha! Luckily I like the cupcakes itself so we make a good match, her with the topping, me with the cake.
For the cupcake base, I used the yoghurt cupcake recipe and a Chocolate Buttermilk Cake recipe from The Little Teochew, which is now of my favorite cake recipes. It's so soft, moist and totally chocolatey! Slight tweak that I did was to swop the unsweetened cocoa powder in her recipe to my current love, Australia Recipe Milo powder. Yums!
Recipe for Buttermilk Milo Chocolate Cupcakes, makes around 15 small cupcakes:
1 cup cake flour
1/2 cup Milo Powder (sifted to remove the sugar granules from the powder)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
170g unsalted butter, softened
180g sugar (Reduced as Milo powder is already sweeter than cocoa powder)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
125g dark chocolate, finely cubed
1. Pre-heat oven to 175C
2. Sift flour, milo powder, salt & baking powder together
3. Using a mixer, beat butter until creamy. Beat in sugar gradually, until mixture achieved a light texture. Beat in eggs gradually, ensuring that it's well-incorporated.
(original recipe calls for the paddle attachment, I've used both paddle and normal beater attachments, works either way)
4. At low speed, add 1/3 of the flour mixture. Lightly mix and add 1/2 the buttermilk. Repeat with 1/3 of flour, remaining 1/2 of the buttermilk, vanilla extract and last 1/3 of flour, mixing in lightly after each addition.
5. Stir in chocolate cubes.
6. Spoon into cupcake liners and bake for 20-23 minutes, depending on volume of batter per cupcake.
I used 12in cupcakes, filled to 80% full and baked for 23 minutes. These cupcakes would dome slightly while baking but will deflate upon cooling.
Remains moist even after 2 days in the fridge, reheat lightly in microwave for a yummy warm afternoon treat with your coffee.
In an earlier attempt with this recipe, I frosted the cupcakes with salted caramel buttercream. However, I find the cupcakes best on their own, to savour the chocolatey cakes with the subtle hint of milo fragrance.
My 2 very cute and happy nephews at their birthday party: