After Dinner Mini Cakes
Happy Wednesday everyone!
I’ve got some lovely little cakey treats for you today.
As the title suggests, these little cakes are perfect for an after dinner treat. I’ve used traditional after dinner food and drink to inspire the flavours; port, coffee and mint chocolate. These are a great little surprise to bring out at the end of a meal to impress your guests and a little box of these would be a fabulous alternative to a box of chocolates to give to your dinner party hosts. Also, great for a finger buffet this party season. If you wanted to do some for the kids too then you could keep the mint chocolate but swap port and coffee with something like orange, lime or some other flavour which they’d like. The can also have fun making their own along with you.
So let’s get on with it – I’m really excited to share this recipe with you!
You will need:
FOR THE CAKE
112g Butter (I actually use Stork – seems to always turn out better)
112g Caster Sugar
112g Self-Raising Flour
1tsp Baking Powder
2 Large Eggs
FOR THE “CASE”
200g bar dark/plain chocolate
FOR THE ICING
150g Unsalted butter
337g icing sugar (and maybe a bit more)
2 Tbsp Port
1 Tbsp Cocoa powder
1tsp coffee granules
First things first, you need to make the sponge mixture. Cream the butter (or Stork) with the sugar until light and creamy and then simply add all the other sponge ingredients and beat well until it is all combined and you have a smooth cake batter.
Now, I used a mini cupcake tray and filled each hole with just over half a teaspoon on mix – you don’t want any sponge spilling over the top. If you don’t have one of these trays then perhaps pour the batter in a thin layer into a cake tin and then, once it is baked, use a cutter to create little bite-sized cakes. I put mine in for about 8 minutes at 180c but do keep an eye as they are very small so half a minute will make a lot of difference. As with a normal sponge you’re looking for a golden sponge that springs back when you touch it.
Turn the mini cakes out from the tray onto a wire rack immediately or they might overcook in the residual heat. You will have enough mixture left to do at least one more batch – I managed one and a half more!
While the cakes cool, which really doesn’t take long, melt the chocolate using your preferred method. To add the chocolate to the outside of the cake, poke a fork into the top of one of the little cakes and then use a little spatula to paint the chocolate onto the base and sides of the cake, almost like a chocolate cupcake case! If you don’t have a small silicone spatula then you can improvise but I would advise against anything metal like a knife, as the chocolate will start to set against cold metal and you might find that you end up with a bit of a lump forming! Repeat this with the rest of the cakes and leave them the set, upside-down, on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. If your kitchen is particularly warm or you are in a hurry, then pop them in the fridge to set a bit quicker.
The next stage is to make the three flavours of butter cream. Beat the butter until it is very soft and creamy and then gradually add the icing sugar a bit at a time. Normally, milk or some other liquid would be added gradually to loosen the mixture as you go but, as we are making three different flavours we don’t want to do that yet. Therefore the butter cream will be very stiff and I really advise using a free standing mixer or electric whisks unless you have some serious muscles!
When the butter cream is all combined and smooth then split it into three different bowls. To one lot of butter cream, beat in two tablespoons of port until it is all combined. If the mixture is then a bit too sloppy then add another spoonful of icing sugar too. The colour of the icing should be a pale purple-y pink and it tastes divine! Go on – lick the spoon!
For the next batch, mix a teaspoonful of instant coffee powder or granules with a small amount of water – just enough to dissolve it. Then beat this into the butter cream, as you did before with the port. If you like really strong coffee, then feel free to add more than a teaspoon too.
For the last third you need to make a paste by adding two teaspoons of peppermint extract to the cocoa powder and mixing. If this isn’t enough liquid to make a smooth paste (which it probably won’t be) then add a dribble of water too.
Then comes the finishing touch – piping the butter cream on top of the cakes. I used a nozzle that looked like this:
To be honest, its up to you how you want to pipe onto the cakes. I chose to do simple little peaks with two flavours and with the coffee flavours I did little swirls.
That’s it! Aren’t they pretty? And just wait until you taste them.
I really hope you enjoy these and I would love to see the results if you do make them. Imagine the surprise and delight if you turned up to a dinner party with these instead of a box of chocolates to enjoy after the cheese course! They are definitely suitable for nibbling on with a nice cuppa in the afternoon though…or at lunch…or breakfast…maybe not the port ones!