How To: Vanilla Cupcakes with Mocha Buttercream Frosting (Catcakes 2.0)

Hi Nibblers!

       Last year, I made my first ever Catcakes for my bestie Tree. This year, I decided to take it up a notch and make a 3D version of a cat. There was a lot of sweat involved and thanks to Sydney’s humid weather, it almost sabotaged the whole cupcake mission! Thankfully, I had Kevin who offered to be my baker in crime for the day. I’m really happy with how the Catcakes turned out this year and received good feedback in terms of taste as well. I used my Banh Bong Lan recipe for the base and flavoured my standard buttercream with a mocha flavouring. If you want to just learn how I make my vanilla sponge / bang bong lan, click on the link or keep reading on to see how I decorated the Catcakes.

How To: Vanilla Cupcakes with Mocha Buttercream Frosting (Catcakes 2.0)

What you will need: Banh Bong Lan
– 6 eggs (separated into whites and egg yolks bowls)
– 180g self raising flour (or plain – just add a pinch of salt) – sifted
– 140g of sugar
– 2 tsp. vanilla essence
– 90mL of milk
– 90mL of vegetable oil
– 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
Mocha Buttercream Frosting
– 250g unsalted butter (room temperature)
– 2 Tbs. of milk
– 1 tsp. vanilla essence
– 110g icing sugar (sifted)
– 5 tsp. of instant coffee (mixed with 2 tsp. of warm water)
– 1/3 cup approx. 90g of melted chocolate (I prefer a dark chocolate (70%) as I don’t like frosting to be too sweet)
Cat props
– 1/3 cup or approx. 90g of melted chocolate (I used 70% dark chocolate)
– 6 pink mini M&Ms cut into halves (Cat’s nose – you may need a few extras incase they get lost, in your belly)
– 24 brown mini M&Ms (Cat’s eyes)

How To: Banh Bong Lan
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius
2. Line cupcake tin with patty pans
3. Beat egg whites on high using an electric mixer for 30 seconds before adding sugar into the bowl
4. Continue to beat until egg whites for about 7 mins or until the egg peaks are glossy and are able to hold their shape then put aside
5. Add vanilla, cream of tartar, oil and milk to egg yolk bowl and beat on high for about 5 mins until mixture turns from the deep orange to a light yellow/beige colour

6. Add 3/4 of flour into egg yolk mixture and beat until well combined
7. Transfer egg yolk mixture into large mixing bowl 
8. Add a large spoonful of egg whites into egg yolk mixture then fold until well combined
9. Add remaining 1/4 of flour evenly into mixing bowl and fold until you can no longer see flour trails

10. Repeat step 8 until all egg whites have been well combined
         Note: It is a long process but the end results are worth it. Be sure to fold gently to minimise the loss of air from the mixture
                  The end mixture should be the texture between a sweetened yoghurt (such as Ski)  and greek yogurt. The super runny bits, may indicate oil has not yet been combined well so keep gently folding.
11. Scoop mixture in a measuring jug to make it easier to pop into muffin tins

12. Pour mixture half-way up the patty pans
13. Pop into pre-heated oven for 16 minutes – 20 minutes or until skewer comes out clean  

14. Leave to cool before decorating
Cat Props:

Pink noses and cat eyes ready to go!

1. Melt 90g of chocolate under a double boiler or in a microwave (whichever you prefer) until silky and smooth
2. Pop melted chocolate into a piping bag (careful it’s hot!) then pipe on a tray lined with baking paper at least 24 filled triangles with 2cm side then pop into the fridge to set
3. Pipe chocolate lines on a separate baking paper lined tray to act as whiskers then pop into the fridge to set
Mocha Buttercream Frosting:
1. Melt 90g of chocolate under a double boiler or in a microwave (whichever you prefer) until silky and smooth then set aside

      
Our lines were a bit thin and hard to handle so make them thicker!

2. Beat softened butter on high for 5-7 minutes until the yellow butter turns to a creamy – off white colour
3. Add and mix milk and vanilla essence until well combined
4. Add sifted icing sugar and beat for 5 minutes until well incorporated, remembering to scrape the sides
5. Add melted chocolate and coffee mixture into the buttercream and mix well
      Note: – If you find your mixture too runny, add 2x Tbs. icing sugar until you have the perfect
                   consistency
                – If you find it too stiff, add a Tbs. of milk until you have the perfect consistency
                – Perfect – pipeable consistency is when it’ll only slide of your spatula if you force it back                     into the bowl with one swift hand movement


Assemble time!
1. Using any closed star tip, pipe rough 0.5cm peaks around the whole cupcake then build upwards in layers until it comes to a point like a mountain
2. Working quickly, pop the chocolate triangles onto the top left and right side corners of the frosting mountain 
3. Pop brown M&Ms about 1cm underneath the ears to resemble eyes
4. Add pink M&Ms 1cm underneath and in the middle of the two eyes
5. Cut chocolate lines into rough 1.5cm lines then add 2 strands (each side) next to the nose to act as whiskers!
        Note: Chocolate whiskers and chocolate ears were hard to handle as it was so hot, it melted in our hands. So take the decorating process slowly, pop the props into the fridge if you need to or even the cupcakes! The taste was not affected at all.

          I hope you love this recipe. If you do try it for yourself, make sure to leave a comment below or tag me on twitter (nibblejo_x) or instagram (nibblejo_x). Unfortunately, I’m still not a cat lover but, I had so much fun making these. Tree is still trying to convert me to the cat world with little progress. Maybe next year, Tree? Hope you all are having a lovely week!

Left over chocolate creations
Three cutie cats

 Nibble Away,

              Jo

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