Botanicals are elevators. They have the power to transport us through their interwoven flavour and scent into a sensory experience, not only of time and place, but of colour and texture. Singing of spring, both Meadowsweet and Violet make me explore fields and woodlands in the early morning light, purely through having them in my mouth. But in a deeper way, they taste of colour. Meadowsweet with its burnished green hue and I swear Violets taste purple….
So, from this, these cupcakes were born. A marriage of flavours made in heaven. The botanicals provide the necessary adornment for the rich dark chocolate to dress up in, dainty and elegant.
Feel free to experiment with your own teas and oils, I would love to hear of your own combinations…
The base recipe is inspired by Thalia Ho. So, thank you.
65g Chocolate, 70% Cocoa Solids, in pieces
1 tbsp Dried Meadowsweet steeped in 125ml Hot Water
90ml Whole Milk
10ml Lemon Juice
70g Plain Flour
¼ tsp Baking Powder
¼ tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
¼ tsp Salt
35g Cocoa Powder
165g Golden Caster Sugar
70ml Rapeseed Oil
1/8 tsp Violet Oil
270g Chocolate, 70% Cocoa Solids, in pieces
320 Butter, unsalted, soft
250g Icing Sugar
1/4 tsp Violet Oil
3 tbsp Full Fat Greek Yogurt
1/4 tsp Salt
1. Preheat oven 180C. line a 12 hole Muffin Tin with paper cases and set aside.
2. Mix the milk with the lemon juice and set aside at room temperature for 1 hour.
3. Mx the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate soda, cocoa, salt and sugar in a bowl until homogenous.
4. Strain the hot meadowsweet tea over the chocolate and leave for 1 minute before mixing with a fork until smooth.
5. Add the egg to the milk mixture and whisk with a fork to combine. Pour in the rapeseed and violet oil and mix well.
6. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour in the milk mixture. Mix clockwise from the edges to the centre until only just combined. Add the chocolate and tea mixture and mix in the same way.
7. Pour the loose batter into a jug and use to fill your cases halfway.
8. Bake for 15 minutes, rotate the tray and bake 5 minutes more.
9. Cool for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
10. Meanwhile, for the buttercream, beat the butter for 1 minute until softened. Add the icing sugar and beat well for 5 minutes, until pale and fluffy.
11. Melt the chocolate In a heatproof bowl in 30 second bursts until just melted. Set aside while you add the violet oil to the butter and beat in.
12. Add the melted chocolate, yogurt and salt and beat well, until very smooth and silky.
13. Transfer to a piping bag and pipe over your cupcakes when cool