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Santa Claus Cupcakes
From Wild about Cupcakes, by Rachel Lane

Ingredients:

For the Cupcakes:

3 ounces (90 g) dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup (90 ml) light (single) cream
2/3 cup (100g) all-purpose (plain) flour
1/2 cup (50 g) ground almonds
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup (90 g) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup (200 g) sugar
2 large eggs

For the White Chocolate Buttercream:

3 ounces (90 g) white chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup (125 g) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (essence)
1/2 tablespoon milk
1/2 cup (75 g) confectioners' (icing) sugar

For the Decorating:

12 milk chocolate Santas

Instructions: Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C/gas 4). Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.

For the Cupcakes:

Melt the chocolate and cream in a double boiler over barely simmering water, stirring until smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool. Combine the flour, almonds, cocoa, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Beat the butter and sugar in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until pale and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until just blended after each addition. With mixer on low speed, add the mixed dry ingredients and melted chocolate. Spoon the batter into the prepared cups, filling each one three-quarters full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown and firm to the touch. Transfer the muffin tin to a wire rack. Let cool completely before removing the cupcakes.

For the White Chocolate Buttercream:

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler over barely simmering water, stirring until smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool. Beat the butter and vanilla in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until pale and creamy. Pour in the milk and cooled chocolate, beating until blended. Gradually add the confectioners' sugar, beating until blended. Spread the buttercream over the cupcakes.

To Decorate:

Press a chocolate Santa into the top of each cupcake.

Yield: 12
Preparation: 30 minutes
Cooking: 20 to 25 minutes
Difficulty: Level: 2



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