I’ve just had a week away by the seaside with my family in Cornwall, and I have to say it is just what the doctor ordered. Nothing beats some quality family time. The best bit for me was our visits to the beach. Watching my children happily run around for hours building sand castles and paddling in the sea, whilst enjoying a little bit of sun on my face made me a very happy lady.
I loved being cooked for each night, but I did miss not being able to bake for a week, even though I suspect that it was probably good for me! So as soon as I had unpacked I got the ingredients out and started baking for this blog post. I was up for a bit of experimenting and here is the result.
I think the best way to describe these chocolate olive oil cupcakes with a goats cheese frosting is ‘bittersweet’, but in the best possible way. This applies to both the recipe and the final taste.
A contradiction in a cupcake? Not sure? Well let me reassure you. Remember that Paula Abdul song Opposites Attract? Here’s a verse to jog your memory…
“She makes the bed, and he steals the covers. She likes it neat, and he makes a mess. I take it easy, baby I get obsessed. She’s got the money, and he’s always broke I don’t like cigarettes, and I like to smoke. Things in common? Just ain’t one. But when we get together, we have nothin’ but fun.”
And here’s the video if you fancy a trip down memory lane. It’s worth a look if only for the cool little rap in the middle and Paula’s choice of fashion and break dancing attempts. I am a little bit embarrassed to say that I thoroughly enjoyed watching it, and caught myself at one point ‘bopping’ in my chair!
Ah, I loved that song! But the reason I’m talking about it is because the underlying message applies to my cupcakes. You may think that they won’t work because the ingredients are not ones that you might put together ordinarily, but these are quite possibly the best cupcakes I have ever made…and that is saying something.
The cupcake sponge is dark and moist (due to the olive oil) and has just enough sugar added to balance the dark chocolate, cocoa powder and coffee which are three of the main ingredients. These are not in any way bitter, I did not mean that literally, just far less sweet than your average sugar and butter laden cupcake. The word sophisticated comes to mind.
The goats cheese frosting is the sweet part. Both in taste and surprise. The goats cheese works well sweetened and actually makes a mighty fine frosting. Yes you do have to like the taste of goats cheese to start with, but I was genuinely impressed. It’s different, and that is partly why I like it so much.
The inspiration for these cupcakes is two fold. The first is this month’s ‘We Should Cocoa‘ blog challenge hosted by Chocolette, who shares it with Chele from Chocolate Teapot blog. Always trying to keep us on our toes, the challenge was to blog a recipe which had chocolate and cheese in it. In all honesty I did panic a bit when I read this. But in actual fact it’s not so bad, and I doubt I would have made these special little cupcakes if it had not been for the WSC challenge.
The second inspiration was from an American blog that I found whilst looking for chocolate and cheese recipes. It’s called the Vanilla Bean Blog and it is a lovely blog to visit if you have a spare 5 mins. The only problem is that all the recipes are in American cup measurements. Having converted this one I now realise what a nightmare it is. Converting cups to grams depends on what is in the cup, so it all got a bit complicated especially as I was halving the recipe too. Anyway, with a few educated guesses and an new IPad app to help me convert I was more than a little relieved to pull a beautiful set of dark moist cupcakes from my oven.
These are most certainly worth a go!
Chocolate olive oil cupcakes with a goats cheese frosting
What you will need:
- 50g dark chocolate cut into small pieces
- 175ml hot coffee (I used decaffeinated filter coffee)
- 85g cocoa powder
- 250g caster sugar
- 2 regular eggs
- 315g plain flour
- 80ml olive oil
- 180ml buttermilk
- 1/2 tsp of fine sea salt
- 1 tsp bicarb of soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (I used my homemade one for the first time)
- 20 cupcake cases (I use the foil ones as they are sturdier and old their shape better)
Makes approx 20 cupcakes
Goats cheese frosting
- 30g soft unsalted butter
- 50g cream cheese
- 50g soft goats cheese (one without the rind which looks a bit like cream cheese)
- 1 tsp vanilla paste (not extract as too much liquid for the frosting then)
- 250g icing sugar (I used natural golden icing sugar which gave the frosting its caramel colour, but it would be fine to use normal icing sugar too)
- 50g chopped walnuts for decoration
How to Make:
- Preheat oven to 190c/375f/gas 5
- Put the chocolate, cocoa powder and hot coffee in a bowl together, stir and leave to melt
- In a large bowl sift together the flour, sugar, bicarb of soda, baking powder and salt. In a second bowl whisk up the eggs in an electric mixer for about 3-4 mins until light and fluffy
- Slowly add oil, buttermilk, vanilla and melted chocolate mixture to the eggs mixing until well combined
- Then add the remainder of the dry ingredients to the mix half at a time and mix with the beater until just combined
- Fill your cupcake cases until 2/3 full. I over filled one and it took another few minutes to cook so it is worth taking your time to get this bit right
- Bake in the oven for 14-15 mins. Test with a knife which should come out clean. If not put back in the oven for another couple of minutes
- Once baked, leave in tin for 10 mins then transfer to a cooling wrack
- To make the frosting beat the butter until softened then add the cheeses and vanilla paste. Mix for about 3 mins until smooth
- Then add the icing sugar bit by bit and beat for about 8-10 mins as this will result in a super smooth frosting. This frosting is not as stiff as butter cream so can’t be piped onto the cupcakes
- Using a palette knife smooth over the frosting onto each of the cupcakes and sprinkle with chopped walnuts