We were having some family round for the afternoon and I wanted to make something fun and Easter themed for afternoon tea. Chocolate is always a sure fire hit with everyone and I initially thought of the chocolate rice krisipe nests I made last year, but I decided to make something different this year. I then thought of chocolate cupcakes but these felt a bit boring, so I hit upon the idea of combining the two – a chocolate cupcake topped with mini rice krisipe nests. As I was out shopping for ingredients, I discovered some adorable mini chocolate eggs, miniature mini eggs! They are about the size of a large pea and perfect for sitting in the mini chocolate nests.
As I was mixing together the cupcake batter I decided to add some cinnamon into the mix as a nod towards the traditional spicy hot cross bun, but on opening the spice cupboard my eyes lit on a jar of Chinese five spice. It smelt wonderful, warming and aniseedy so throwing caution to the wind I added some the cupcake mix. As they were baking in the oven, the five spice smelt really strong and I was a little concerned I may have overdone it and people wouldn’t like them, but I carried on anyway. I spread them with a little Nutella buttercream and topped them with the mini chocolate nests.
They went down well with all the family, the colourful cupcake cases and miniature nests and eggs giving them a fun and cheerful appearance and evoking fond memories of childhood Easters gone by. I didn’t mention about the added spice, some of my family aren’t too adventurous, but the cupcakes received mmm’s (whew) and arrrr’s as people tried to guess the secret ingredient. I was really pleased how they turned out and will definitely be experimenting with Chinese five spice again, but I’ve learnt its quite intense – a little goes a long way!
Chocolate Five Spice Cupcakes with Easter Egg Nests
Ingredients – for the cupcakes
110g self raising flour
120g caster sugar
120g softened butter
20g cocoa powder
1 tbsp milk
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp Chinese five spice powder
For the frosting
50g softened butter
100g icing sugar
1 tbsp Nutella
1 tbsp milk
For the chocolate nests
135g plain chocolate
1 tbsp golden syrup
100g rice krispies
Miniature mini eggs for decorating
For the cupcakes
Preheat the oven to 175C. Line a muffin tin with paper cases.
Beat together the butter, sugar until smooth and then beat in the eggs.
Sift over the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and Chinese five spice and beat until well combined.
Add the milk to slacken the mixture before spooning into the muffin cases, using a tablespoon, filling each case half way.
Bake for 22-24 minutes until risen and springy.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire wrack to cool.
Makes 10-12 cupcakes
For the Nutella frosting
Beat the butter until smooth. Sift over the icing sugar, in two batches, and beat into the butter until well combined and fluffy.
Beat in the Nutella and thin down with a little milk.
Spread generously over the top of the cooled cupcakes.
Makes enough for one batch of cupcakes.
For the chocolate nests
Place 25 mini muffin cases on a baking tray and set to one side.
Melt the chocolate, butter and golden syrup together in large saucepan, over a gentle heat.
Stir occasionally until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth.
Turn off the heat and immediately stir in the rice krispies, making sure they all get coated in the chocolate.
Quickly divide the krispie mix into the paper cases using a teaspoon. Top each mini nest with 3 miniature mini eggs.
Allow them to set at room temperature before removing the nests from the muffin cases and using to decorate the cupcakes. Store the extra nests in an airtight container.
Makes around 25 mini chocolate nests.