Prep Time: 1 hour (plus cooling and drying)
Cooking Time: 25 minutes for the cupcakes. 10 minutes for the syrup and the buttercream.
For The Flowers:
- 150g (5oz) white sugarpaste
- Purple and pink gel food colourings
- Icing sugar, for rolling out
- Edible glue
For The Cupcake Mixture:
- 175g (6oz) unsalted butter, diced and softened
- 200g (7oz) caster sugar
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 175g (6oz) self-raising flour
- 20g (¾oz) cocoa powder
- 1tsp baking powder
- 1-2tbsp milk
For The Italian Buttercream:
- 150g (5oz) granulated sugar
- 1tsp liquid glucose
- 3 egg whites
- 25g (1oz) caster sugar
- 250g (9oz) unsalted butter, diced and softened
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- Green gel food colouring
Making the Flowers:
- Divide the sugarpaste into six pieces. Colour three different shades of purple and the other three different shades of pink.
- Working with one piece at a time, roll out the sugarpaste very thinly on a board dusted with icing sugar. Using your plunger cutters, cut out large, medium and small blossoms in each colour, releasing the blossoms onto a sponge so they dry in a cupped shape.
- When the blossoms feel firm, assemble the flowers by sticking a large, medium and small blossom of the same colour, but different shades, on top of each other with edible glue. Shape tiny balls of sugarpaste for the centres of the flowers and glue in place. Set aside.
Making the Cupcakes:
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan 160°C)/350°F/gas 4. Line a muffin tray with 10 paper cases or use silicone flowerpot moulds.
- Cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs, adding a little flour to prevent the mixture curdling.
- Sieve in the rest of the flour, the cocoa and baking powder and stir in with enough milk to make a soft mixture.
- Spoon into the paper cases to fill them almost to the top and bake for 25 minutes or until firm to the touch. Cool in the tray for 10 minutes before lifting the cupcakes out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Making the Buttercream:
- Put 4 tablespoons of water in a heavy-based pan and add the granulated sugar and liquid glucose. Heat gently, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat and bring the syrup to the boil, using a damp pastry brush to wash down any sugar crystals sticking to the sides of the pan.
- Half fill a large bowl with cold water and place it next to the hob. Clip a sugar thermometer onto the side of the pan and boil the syrup rapidly, without stirring, until its temperature reaches 121°C/250°F on a sugar thermometer. When the temperature approaches 100°C/212°F, whisk the egg whites in the bowl of a food mixer until standing in soft peaks and then gradually whisk in the caster sugar until the whites are stiff.
- As soon as the syrup reaches the required temperature, take the pan off the heat and plunge the base briefly into the bowl of cold water. With the food mixer on full speed, gradually pour the syrup into the whisked whites in a thin, steady stream, taking care not to let the syrup touch the beaters or it could splash up and burn you.
- Continue whisking for about 8 minutes or until the bowl feels just lukewarm. Gradually whisk in the butter and vanilla. The buttercream may look as though it is curdling but keep whisking and it will become smooth and fluffy. Finally whisk in green food colouring until the buttercream is evenly tinted.
Decorating the Cupcakes:
- Spoon the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle and pipe a swirl on top of each cupcake.
- Decorate with the flowers, pressing them gently into place.
Recipe courtesy of www.the-bake-box.com
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