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Saturday, 15 June 2013

Cupcakes - Cherry Coke & Bounty

I was recently tasked with the job of creating cupcakes for a friends birthday party (I say tasked, it was me who suggested it...)  The party was staged in an old fashioned bowling alley and this lead to the theme of rock' n' roll.  I carefully thought about what flavour cakes to make and then I remembered seeing a recipe for Coca Cola cooked Ham from Nigella Lawson, further research led me to another recipe from the 'Coke Queen' herself called Coca Cola Cupcakes.  Using this recipe as a basis I wondered if I could simply use cherry coke instead of regular and embellish the tops with something cherry flavoured, then top with her coke flavoured icing?  I hunted around the internet (as you do) and came across a number of recipes for cherry coke cupcakes, some looked great, others a little dull.  I was inspired by a recipe I saw on 'Katie Cakes' and with some minor adapting to the frosting my cherry coke cupcake was born.

The second flavour is simply based on me asking my friend what she would like.  Coconut and chocolate is a favourite, so along came the 'Bounty' Cupcake.  For all those not from the UK (possible US??) a Bounty bar is basically a nugget of dense coconut covered in milk chocolate,  very yum - if you like coconut.  I had a number of ideas on how to make this cake.  Idea one, chocolate sponge, topped with coconut frosting.  Idea two, white sponge containing coconut topped with chocolate frosting and a dusting of coconut.  Finally I decided on white sponge with coconut covered in  vanilla frosting dipped in molten chocolate, sprinkled with coconut, inspired by Martha Stewart's 'Hi-Hat Cupcakes'. 

I have tried to balance the complexity of these cupcakes so you would want to make them, what I mean by this is that the coconut sponge takes a second to whizz up while the frosting is the more complex part and the coca cola sponge is a little more technical compared to the easy frosting on top.  

Here are the recipes for both cakes.  Nigella supplies both the recipe for the white coconut cakes and the coke (with various changes made by me).  Martha supplies the hi-top frosting and coating and I invented the cherry frosting myself based on 'Kates' quantities.

Coconut 'Bounty' Cupcakes
inspired by Martha Stewart & Nigella, messed around by me.

Makes 12 large cupcakes

For the cakes
125g soft butter
125g caster sugar
125g plain flour
2 eggs
1/2 tsp bicarb of soda
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
30g desiccated coconut (I used sweetened) 
4 tbsp room temp milk

For the frosting
3 large egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tarter
1/4 cup cold water
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract

For the chocolate coating
340g plain chocolate (70%)
3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp desiccated coconut for sprinkling

Pre-heat oven to 200C (180C fan) and place 12 cupcake (or muffin) cases in a tin.

For the very easy cake mix simply place all the ingredients, apart from the milk, in to a food processor.  Whizz for 20 seconds or until combined.  Through the shoot add 1 tbsp at a time of milk and pulse.  If doing this by hand just put it all in a bowl and mix.


Divide between the cases.  Half an ice cream scoop seemed to be the perfect amount,  you should get 12, any less and you have put too much in.


Bake for 17 mins, remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 5 mins, then transfer to wire cooling rack and leave to go completely cold.

To make the frosting, first put the egg whites, water and cream of tarter in the bowl of a freestanding mixer fitted with the whisk attachement   Turn on and whisk for 1 minute to break up the eggs.


Add the sugar and place the bowl over a pan of simmering water, whisk for 3 minutes until the sugar dissolves.  If you rub some of the mix between your fingers every so often you can check for gritty sugar.

Then place back on the mixer and whisk on high for 7 minutes - this is technically called a '7-minute Frosting'.   Add the vanilla extract near the end of the 7 minutes and allow to beat in.

Place in a piping bag fitted with a 1/4 round tip and carefully pipe the frosting on to the cupcakes.  Martha has a video to show how to do this but I will try and explain:

1. Start in the centre, pipe out to the side and round the edge of the cupcake.
2. When you complete the circle start to build upwards, making another circle only smaller, spiral upwards until you make reach the top.

3. To make the 'peak' simply push down before pulling straight up and you should get peaks.

I found this difficult at first but you get better as you go along.  If you make a massive error simply remove the frosting and try again.

You should have more than enough frosting to cover all 12 cakes.

Then place them carefully in the fridge to chill for at least 1 hour - you could also put them in the freezer if necessary.

While they are chilling make the chocolate coating.  Break up all the chocolate in to a heat proof bowl, add the oil and set over the same hot water you had for the frosting.  Carefully melt the chocolate.  Then pour in to a suitable container - it needs to be deep and wide enough to take the full frosting on the cake.


It is VERY important that your cakes are chilled and the chocolate not too hot, I used my coffee thermometer to check the temp of the chocolate and only attempted the dipping when the chocolate was 34C.

When you are ready to dip simply take a cake, invert and plunge, don't worry they wont fall off!  Carefully remove from the chocolate and allow excess to drip off.  

Place on a cooling rack and sprinkle with coconut before the chocolate sets.

Unfortunately you will be left with rather a lot of melted chocolate, unavoidable if you want to 'dip'.  You could pour back in a pan, add milk and cream, sugar and vanilla to make hot chocolate, there should be enough for at least two cupfuls.  Or get some ready made brownie pieces, strawberries and other fruits and dip away...

Store the cakes in the fridge until ready to eat, they should last about 3 days but best eaten on the day made.


Cherry Coke Cupcakes
inspired by Nigella Lawson, messed around by me.

Makes 12 large cupcakes

For the cakes
200g plain flour
250g caster sugar
1/2 tsp bicarb of soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 large egg
125ml buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
125g unsalted butter
2 tbsp cocoa powder
175ml cherry coke

For the cherry scented frosting
125g soft butter
500g icing sugar
50ml milk
cherry syrup (made from 300ml of cherry juice in a carton simmered for 10 minutes)

For the cola frosting
60g icing sugar
8g butter
12ml cherry coke
1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

12 cherry flavoured cola bottles

Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan) and line a 12 hole cupcake tin with cases.

To make the cake batter,  mix the flour, sugar, bicarb and salt in a large bowl.

Beat the egg, buttermilk and vanilla in a jug.

In a saucepan, over a medium heat, melt together the cola, butter and cocoa. 

When fully melted pour in to the flour mix and whisk, then add in the milk mixture.  You will have a very runny batter.  I poured the batter in to a jug and filled the 12 cases, you could just pour it from the mixing bowl but I am a tidy cook and that just would not do.


Bake for 30 minutes, then remove and allow to completely cool.

To make the cherry frosting.  First I reduced, by simmering, 300ml of cherry juice I found in the supermarket in the drinks section.  Simmer slowly for 10/15 minutes until you are left with 4 tablespoons full.  Leave to cool.

In a mixer, fitter with the paddle, mix the butter.  Add in tablespoons of the icing sugar while mixing slowly.  Add a dash of milk every 4 spoonfuls.   When you have added all the sugar, mix in the cherry syrup.  You should have a light pink butter icing ready to pipe on the cooled cakes.


I used a star attachment to pipe, like the bounty cakes, mounds of icing ready to top with the final glaze.

To make the glaze (not this is a small amount of glaze as you barely use it).  In a pan melt the butter in to the cola and cocoa.  When melted take off the heat and whisk in the icing sugar, followed by the vanilla extract.


Drizzle a small amount on top of each cake and top with a cherry flavoured fizzy cola bottle.