There's a recipe I've been dying to try out and yesterday I had the perfect excuse to crack it open and give it a go. The excuse came in the form a friend's request for, and I quote, "black fashionista/couture/avante garde cupcakes" for his up-coming birthday party this weekend.

What could be more jus-jus than Champagne Jelly Cupcakes, I thought, as I eagerly thumbed my way through that sacred cupcake tome, Cupcakes: a fine selection of sweet treats. My friend doesn't drink, so I substituted the booze with a very satisfactory alcohol-removed sparkling cuvee by the name of Edenvale (available from Woolies supermarket for the princely sum of $7.99).

I must say that the results were pleasingly pleasing. Although, while the couture criteria has been satisfied, they're patently not black. I thought about a sprinkling of black caviar on top, but I don't think my budget can stretch that far, at least, not to the required 31 cupcakes. But it's an intriguing concept, no?

So, as an alternative, and also because I cannot find black food colouring ANYWHERE (and I don't want to mess around with mixing red, blue and yellow because I'll probably end up with blecchhh as opposed to black), I'm going to experiment a little over the next couple of days with making cola jelly. Wish me luck.

Anyway, here's how you make non-alcoholic champagne jelly cupcakes.

For the cupcakes you will need:
150g chopped, unsalted butter (softened)
115g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 eggs
185g SR flour, sifted
35g ground almonds
125ml milk
130g frozen blackberries

For the champagne jelly you will need:
750ml sparkling wine (I used non-alcoholic bubbles)
2 tbsp powdered gelatine
165g sugar
blackberries for decoration

This is what you do:
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C and line your cupcake tines with about 25 cases.

2. Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla essence until light and creamy.  The add the eggs, one at a time.

3. Fold in the sifted flour and ground almonds alternately with the milk and blackberries.

4. Fill each case only halfway full with the mixture. Don't put too much in, or else there won't be enough room for the champagne jelly.

5. Bake for about 12 minutes or so. Leave in the tins to cool.

6. To make the jelly, put 500ml of the sparkling wine in a bowl and allow the bubbles to settle. Then sprinkle the gelatine over the top.

7. Put the rest of the sparkling wine in a saucepan along with the sugar. Stir over a low heat until the sugar crystals are dissolved.

8. Take off the heat. Add the gelatine mixture and stir until all of the gelatine is dissolved.

9. Put the jelly mixture in the fridge until it is set. Leaving overnight is ideal,

10. Decorate the cupcakes with the jelly and the blackberries.

I know, I know. They're not blackberries on top. I ran out, so I used frozen cherries instead.

Now the question is, I wonder who will be game to try one? Time to hit the streets in search of a random recipient.

Some time later...

And the answer is not many takers. The first person I approached, a young, dread-locked fellow, looked as though he held good random recipient potential, but alas, when I offered him the cupcake he shifted about as uncomfortably as one with ants in one's pants. To give him credit though, he did offer up his co-worker as a guinea pig. However, said co-worker also refused. At this point, I offered the cupcake to two groundscrew workers standing nearby having a smoke break. They declined saying that they'd just finished their smoko (hmmm, I don't think so, otherwise they wouldn't be standing around still smoking and chatting now, would they?),

So I sighed and then sighed again (known in random parlance as "sigh, double sigh") and wandered off in the direction of the mall, pretty sure that I'd be spending a fair bit of time off-loading this week's random cupcake.

Luckily, though, I came across this bloke.
Meet Colin. He's from Alice Springs originally, but lives in Port Augusta. At the moment, he's in town visiting family. Colin seemed like a nice, affable bloke. He accepted my cupcake without so much as a squirm, politely thanked me and then asked if I did the random cupcake thing every day. I told him that it was a random thing, so no, unfortunately I didn't. But it did get me thinking how cool it would be if everyone took it in turns to give random cupcakes away. That way, there would be a random act of cupcake being performed somewhere in the world to somebody, every single day. And wouldn't that make the world a better place.

So with that thought, I'll bid you au revoir. Until we meet again in the blogosphere, may you randomly give and receive.
Chris Schwarz
21/9/2010 15:06:26

They may not be black, but they are very couture! Delicious jelly and the cupcake is a perfect match- can't understand the fools who turned them down. I've downed three already and once again Ralph has pleaded himself into just one. But only on the grounds it will not be considered a tradition.


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