This time it was a thirtieth, so there was an excuse to get the champagne out as well. I have never actually eaten cupcakes with champagne, and there was a little bit of me that wanted to exploit the connection and make a champagne cocktail flavoured cupcake. But when I saw what Mr. Other P had chosen to give Kate (whose birthday it was), that idea went out the window, though you never know when it might return.
He'd been into town and bought a big selection of American junk food from the food hall in House of Fraser. I love looking at all that stuff! There was some Hershey's fudge topping for ice-cream, a bag of Reese's Pieces (nearly snaffled those for myself), a box of Aunt Jemima pancake mix, some raspberry twizzlers, and a whole host of other things with exactly the right kind of gleaming, colourful packaging that makes junk food so attractive.
But something was missing. It took a while to figure out what it was, but I got there. Oreo cookies. Aren't they supposed to be America's #1? I might be making that up, but I'm sure I heard that somewhere. Probably written on the packet...
Anyway, there were a couple of reasons why there were no Oreos. The most obvious was the price of the damn things. Nobody's going to pay £7.00 for them, whether they are America's #1 or not. House of Fraser would do well to remember that. I mean, come on... Seven quid for biscuits?!
The second reason was that Mr. Other P doesn't like them. He thinks they're dry and tasteless, despite looking like they are going to be chocolaty and delicious. If pressed, I would agree with him, but I do still like them because they are always the biscuits you find in cookies and cream ice-cream. Which most people would agree is very, very delicious indeed.
So, since there were no Oreos in the birthday hamper, I decided to make Oreo cookies and cream cupcakes. And because I've had a bottle of peppermint extract knocking around on the shelf for a while, I decided to use that too. I don't think it's an obvious pairing, but it fits in with my new 'why hold back?' approach to flavours (as evidenced by this post), and more importantly, it works. It may sound immodest, but seriously, these are incredible. And yes - other people said so.
I should add, I didn't buy the £7.00 American Oreos. I got the 'Made in the EU' version that come in different packaging but taste the same. A bargain at 89p from the corner shop!
If you don't want to make the cupcakes themselves chocolate flavour, then don't. It's all about the frosting with this one.
Chocolate-Peppermint Cookies and Cream Cupcakes
You will need:
125g plain flour
125g butter, softened
125g caster sugar
30g cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarb. of soda
30g butter, softened
100g full fat cream cheese
250g icing sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
1 packet Oreo cookies
- Line a 12 bun cupcake tin with paper liners, and pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
- Use my usual, lazy method to make the cake batter. Dump everything in a bowl and mix, adding a splosh of milk if necessary, using electric beaters, until creamy and combined. Use an ice-cream scoop to transfer the batter to the prepared tin.
- Bake for 20 minutes, and then turn the cupcakes out onto a wire rack to cool. If they've risen a lot (mine did), level the tops with a sharp knife, so they look pretty when you ice them.
- Make the frosting: Cream the butter and cream cheese, then slowly stir in the icing sugar. You might need a little less or a little more to get the consistency you want - don't be afraid to adjust quantities. Add the extract, and taste. You might need more if yours isn't as strong as mine. Crush 5 Oreos and mix in until nicely combined. You will be amazed at the beauty of what you have created!
- Frost the cupcakes, smoothing the frosting out evenly. It looks very pretty swirled, but you could pipe it if you prefer.
- Chop remaining biscuits in half, and use to top the cupcakes. Sprinkle with green edible glitter.