Summer is almost here! It’s the time of year that we’re looking for new activities to keep us busy whilst we enjoy the good weather. Last summer, I decided to take up cacti collecting. I loved trawling round garden centres and flower shows to find the new addition to my little cactus plant family. Some of the real troopers have even lasted the winter! To pay homage to my cacti pals, I’ve decided to work on my piping skills to create this fun cactus cupcake recipe. I hope you have as much fun making them as I did.
- For the cupcakes
- 4-5tbsp boiling water
- 40g cocoa powder, sifted
- 3 eggs
- 175g unsalted butter, softened
- 165g caster sugar
- 115g self-raising flour, sifted
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4tsp hot chilli powder (optional)
- For the decoration
- Approx. 36 Chocolate fingers
- 125g butter
- 250g icing sugar, sifted
- Milk (if needed)
- Zest of 2 limes (optional)
- Green food colouring
- Chocolate fudge icing
- Chocolate sprinkles
- Fondant flowers
- Preheat your oven to 200°c/390°c/Gas Mark 6. Lightly grease your plant pot moulds and place them on a baking tray. If using cases, place 12 cupcake cases into a muffin tin.
- In a bowl mix together your cocoa and boiling water to make a paste. Add the rest of the cupcake ingredients and using an electric beater, combine the ingredients to make a batter.
- Evenly pour the batter between the 12 moulds. Place them in the oven and bake for 12 -15 minutes until they’re springy to the touch.
- Whilst the cakes are cooling, beat together your butter and icing sugar to form a light buttercream. If the mixture is too stiff, add a splash of milk and beat again. If you’ve been daring and added the chilli powder to your cakes, try adding the lime zest to the icing now to give it another kick! Add the green food colouring and mix it through until you get the shade of green you’re looking for.
- Once your cakes have cooled, coat the tops of the cakes with chocolate fudge icing and dip them into your chocolate sprinkles to get a soil-like effect.
- Now take three chocolate fingers and stick them together using your buttercream. Push them into the top of the cake firmly so they stand up unaided.
- If you’re using a disposable piping bag, snip the end of in an upside-down V-shape. If you’d prefer to use nozzles, select a V-shaped nozzle. Fill your piping bag with the green buttercream and begin to pipe vertically up the edges of the fingers, rotating the cupcake as you go so you’ve piped all the way around.
- Place a fondant flower on top of the cactus to disguise any rough edges and add a little colour. Repeat for all twelve cakes. These can be stored in an airtight container for 3-4 days!
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