What’s the best way of taking ice cream to a picnic? One option is to load up an esky (chilly bin) with ice and hope for the best. OR you could get a bit inventive – and make ice cream cone cupcakes.
Okay, so it’s not technically ice cream, but look at how cute they are!
I’d seen this idea on blogs before, and a recent Australia Day picnic was the perfect excuse to try them out. If you haven’t seen these before, the cupcakes are baked in the ice cream cones (no they don’t burn) before being topped with frosting so they look like ice creams. So. Cute.
A couple of notes about the cupcakes. This particular cupcake mixture rises a lot so don’t fill the cones to much more than 50%. It also makes a lot of cupcakes. I managed to fill 24 little cones and still had a bit of batter leftover. Don’t be tempted to top up the cones with the leftover batter though – remember what I said about it rising a lot!
But if you don’t like chocolate, you could of course use any cupcake recipe that you wanted. The recipe I used is a very nice one though. Moist and chocolately – no awful dry cupcakes here.
Now about the Swiss meringue buttercream. It’s a bit more effort than normal buttercream, but I think it’s worth it – you end up with a fluffy, smooth frosting that’s not insanely sweet. SMB is made by heating egg whites and sugar together, and then whipping it into a meringue before adding butter and flavouring. It’s very similar to an Italian meringue buttercream – just a slightly different method.
A stand mixer is required and a candy thermometer would also help. The recipe below gave me exactly enough to top 24 cupcake cones, and if you have a look at it – yes, the butter amount is correct. There is rather a lot of butter. The frosting was delicious, but it really was quite buttery. Next time I make SMB, I’m going to try using less butter – I reckon about 3/4 of the butter would be perfect. But since I haven’t tested it I’ve left the full quantity in the recipe. Less butter or not, I think I have a new favourite frosting.
- 24 flat bottomed cupcake cones
- 1.5 tablespoons instant coffee
- 100ml water
- 125g butter
- 150g dark chocolate
- 2 eggs
- 45ml oil
- 70ml buttermilk
- 130g plain flour
- pinch of salt
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon bicarb soda
- 300 caster sugar
- 30g cocoa powder
- 280g caster sugar
- 5 large egg whites
- 450g unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into small pieces
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 160°C. Set out 24 flat bottomed cupcake cones.
- Dissolve the coffee in hot water in a heat proof bowl. Add the butter and dark chocolate and place over a large saucepan of simmering water.
- Stir until the chocolate has melted. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil and buttermilk until combined.
- In another bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, bicarb soda, caster sugar and cocoa powder and stir to combine. Make a well in the centre and pour in the egg mixture.
- Mix with a wooden spoon until well combined and add the cooled chocolate mixture. Mix carefully until thoroughly combined.
- Spoon the mixture into the cupcake cones – only filling to just over half full as this mixture rises a lot.
- Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
- Set aside and allow to cool completely before frosting.
- Place the sugar and egg whites in the heat proof bowl of an electric mixer. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture comes up to 60°C on a thermometer. It should take 3-5 minutes.
- Transfer the bowl to the mixer stand. Using the whisk attachment, beat on high speed until the mixture is completely cool and has formed stiff and glossy peaks. This will take aout 10 minutes. (Side note: you have meringue at this stage – you can eat it or top cakes/cupcakes with it if desired.)
- Switch to the flat paddle beater. On low speed, add cubes of butter one at a time until it’s all incorporated. If it curdles, just keep beating – it should become smooth again. When all the butter is added, add the vanilla and beat until just combined.
- Pipe on top of cupcakes and decorate with sprinkles.
- (Once piped, it’s best eaten on the same day. Unpiped, the frosting can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week – when ready to use, let it come up to room temperature and rewhip in mixer for 5 minutes. It can also be frozen for 6-8 weeks. Let it thaw completely, then rewhip for 5 minutes in the mixer before using.)
(Remember you can use any cupcake recipe. This is a chocolate mud cupcake recipe.) Cupcake recipe adapted from The Crabapple Bakery cupcake book. Buttercream recipe adapted from marthastewart.com