Winter Ball Cupcakes
215g plain (all-purpose) flour
130g caster (superfine) sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
112g unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
190 ml full-cream (whole) milk
112 ml vegetable oil
1 tbsp Greek yoghurt (or sour cream)
½ tsp vanilla extract
Light blue batter: 2 drops blue food gel
Dark blue batter: 6 drops blue food gel
2 peppermint extract
½ batch Swiss meringue buttercream frosting
4 drops blue food gel
2 peppermint extract
700g white chocolate, melted
12 Ferrero Raffaello
300g marshmallow fluff
200g white chocolate, frozen
1 can pearl mist spray (optional)
To make the chocolate snow, add the frozen chocolate to a food processor and process until you reach little crumbs. Don’t add the entire block as it is, make sure you chop or break up the chocolate. Also, take care not to over do it otherwise the chocolate heats up and melts and you’ll need to re-freeze it again. Once it resembles small crumbs, add to a small bowl and place in the freezer until you’re ready to use it. We’ll get to how you’ll use the pearl mist spray in the next bit.
To make the snowballs you’ll need a half sphere mold. If you google: Small sphere mold: Martellato Polycarbonate Chocolate Mold Half-Sphere 50mm, 8 Cavities, the exact mold I used in the video will come up and you’ll be able to order yours.
Begin by melting your white chocolate in a microwave for 20 seconds at a time, mixing each time until smooth.
Fill each cavity of your mold with the whit chocolate. Gently tap the mold to get rid of any air bubbles and then turn the mold upside down onto a baking tray to allow the excess chocolate to drip out. Use a bench scraper or knife to scrape away the excess chocolate. Place the mold in the fridge to allow the chocolate to set.
With these particular molds, the chocolate just slides out really easy. If it gets stuck, gently tap one end of the mold onto your workbench and the half sphere molds will come out. Repeat another time so that you have 24 half chocolate spheres.
Add the marshmallow fluff to a large piping bag and fill the inside of half of chocolate molds with the marshmallow. Gently place a Ferrero Rafaello chocolate ball in the marshmallow and then pipe a little marshmallow on top of the chocolate.
Place the other half of the molds onto a warm frypan to slightly melt the edges of the rim of the half sphere. Sandwich with a filled chocolate half. Melting the chocolate very slightly will allow the molds to stick together to form an entire sphere.
Once you’ve made all 12 chocolate spheres, place in the fridge for 1 hour to set.
Re-melt the left over white chocolate in the microwave. Roll each sphere in the chocolate using a fork or candy spatula (like the one I used in the video). Coat it well and then allow as much of the excess chocolate to drip off before place in a bowl of the chocolate snow. You’ll need to work quickly because the chilled chocolate sphere causes the chocolate coating to set quickly so you need to coat them in the chocolate snow quite quickly. I’d recommend coating the spheres one at a time. Place this spheres back in the fridge for 20 mint to set. Lightly spray the set spheres with pearl mist.
Preheat a fan-forced oven to 140°C (275°F) or a conventional oven to 160°C (320°F). Line two cupcake tins with the cupcake liners.
Add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt to a large mixing bowl and mix with a hand mixer until well combined.
Next, add the softened butter and mix on low speed until the mixture reaches a crumbly, sand-like texture.
Add the eggs, milk, oil, yoghurt, peppermint extract and vanilla, and mix on low speed until all the dry ingredients are incorporated. Scrape down the side of the bowl and mix for a final 20 seconds.
Split the batter into 3 mixing bowls. Leave one white. Colour the other light blue and the third dark blue. Transfer to three separate piping bags.
Fill each liner three-quarters of the way by adding random squiggles of each coloured batter. Bake for 40–50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a cupcake comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.
To prepare the frosting add peppermint extract and blue food gel to a bowl with the frosting and mix until well combined. If mixing by hand with a spatula isn’t working, using an electric beater on high speed. Sometimes adding food gels to swiss meringue doesn’t work by hand and you need to combined it using a machine.
Fit the end of a piping bag with a Wilton 8B piping tip, fill your bag with frosting and frost your cupcakes in a signature swirl.
Sprinkle with some more chocolate snow before placing the chocolate snowball on top.
STORAGE: store in an airtight container for up to 3 days (refrigerated and thawed 40 min before serving). Although I’d recommend baking and serving on the same day.
EQUIPMENT: Can be made using a hand mixer (always mix on lowest speed) or a hand whisk. Take care not to over mix the batter.
OVEN TEMPERATURE: Each oven is different. Some are old, some are new. Some ovens can be hotter on the inside than the temp you set your oven at. If you find your cupcakes, cakes or macarons are browning or cracking, turn the oven temp down 10C. A handy trick is to get an oven thermometer which sits inside the oven and will give you an accurate temperature reading. They’re inexpensive and can be purchased online or at your local kitchen supply store. And always bake in the centre rack of the oven for best results!
BAKING TIME: These cupcakes will typically bake on a lower temp and for a little longer than regular cupcake recipes. I find a low temperate and a slow bake results in flatter tops and no caramelisation so that if the cupcakes are coloured they don’t change colour and brown. After 40 minutes, stick a skewer into the centre of one of the cupcakes, if it comes out with wet batter, bake for another 10 minutes until the skewer comes out with crumbs or completely clean.
Large mixing bowls
Magic Whisk for wet ingredients
Stand mixer (or hand mixer)
Cupcake baking tin
White Paper liners
Small sphere molds: Martellato Polycarbonate Chocolate Mold Half-Sphere 50mm, 8 Cavities