Hello, I’m Clementine the cat baker. My friend Audrey called me up this morning. With sleepy voice she asked me out for breakfast. She told me to meet her at her favourite shop.
A half hour later, I found her gazing into Tiffany’s shop window. She was wearing a stunning long black Givenchy dress, big black sunglasses, a gorgeous pearl necklace and a shiny silver hairpiece. She was holding a plastic cup of coffee and a croissant in her hands. I thought she was a bit over-dress for breakfast.
‘Good morning, Audrey,’ I said. ‘How are you?’
‘Oh, you know. December…,’ she said lazily. She didn’t even turn to face me. Her eyes were fixed to the glittering jewellery. ‘…Party season.’ She finally turned to me and lifted her sunglasses. Her eyes were all red and puffy. ‘Too much drink. Too little sleep,’ she said, slowly turning her gaze back to the window, then sipped her coffee.
We stood there in silence for a moment.
Then Audrey said, ‘In the morning like this, I always come to Tiffany’s. Calms me down right away. The quietness and the proud look of it. Nothing very bad could happen to you here.’
I wanted to say that cats wouldn’t be welcome in an expensive jewellery shop like Tiffany’s, but I didn’t say a thing. Audrey took another sip of the coffee.
‘Argh! This isn’t helping!’ she groaned, looking down at the coffee in her hand. ‘My head is drumming!’
‘Try this,’ I said, presenting one of my Coffee & White Chocolate Cupcakes. It is a aromatic coffee sponge with silky black frosting made of white chocolate, topped with dazzling white sugar pearls. ‘This will give you energy to get through the day.’
Audrey quickly lifted up her sunglasses and said excitedly, ‘That’s beautiful!’ She instinctively tossed the coffee cup over her shoulder into the bin behind her, snatched the cupcake from my paw, and bit into the soft sponge.
‘Cat! Cat! Oh, Cat…’ She delightfully cried. ‘This tastes beautiful!’
‘I thought you would like it,’ I said grinning.
‘Wow! This sugar kick is amazing!’ Audrey suddenly got restless. I began to worry that I might have put too much coffee in the cupcakes. Next Audrey whistled loudly to hail a taxi. A taxi screeched to a halt directly in front us.
‘Now I have a party to attend. Come with me, Clementine,’ she said as she climbed into the taxi. It was 10 o’clock in the morning. I thought that it wasn’t quite party time, so I remained standing on the pavement, looking slightly uneasy.
‘Ahh… Do I detect a look of disapproval in your eye?’ said Audrey teasingly. ‘Tough beans buddy, ’cause that’s the way it’s gonna be!’ She picked me up by my body and took me into the taxi. She pat back of the taxi driver’s seat, and we drove off.
If the party season is taking a toll on you but you don’t have time to go to Tiffany’s for quiet self-preservation, why not try Clementine’s Coffee & White Chocolate Cupcakes? Well, you maybe need someone else to bake them for you while you fight with headache in bed…
COFFEE & WHITE CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES
MAKES: 12 cupcakes (∅5cm)
(FOR THE SPONGE)
240ml whole milk
1.5 tbsp instant coffee powder
80g unsalted butter
240g caster sugar
240g plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
(FOR THE FROSTING)
3 tbsp double cream
75g white chocolate, chopped
120g unsalted butter
400g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Black food colouring
Chocolate coffee beans, white sugar glitter and white sugar pearls to decorate
- Warm up the milk slightly and dissolve the coffee powder. Set aside to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 180℃* and line a 12-hole muffin tin with muffin cases.
- Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl with a whisk until pale and fluffy (this is very important so do your best). Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Then add the milky coffee. Don’t worry if the mixture curdles. Adding flour will fix it.
- Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl, and sift into the wet mixture, then fold in using a rubber spatula. Do not over mix if you want light and fluffy sponge. Just gently fold.
- Spoon the cake mixture into the prepared cases until ⅔ full. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until a stick poked into middle comes out clean. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack.
- Meanwhile, to make the black but white chocolate frosting, place the white chocolate with the double cream in a microwave-proof bowl, and microwave for 1 minutes until all melted. Or melt in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering hot water. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Cream the butter, and add the melted chocolate and beat until smooth. Add the icing sugar little by little until well combined. Add the vanilla extract, and beat until light and smooth. I promise you that this will make everything in your kitchen covered with icing sugar. Annoying but unfortunately this is unavoidable.
- Add the black food colouring until the frosting becomes jet black.
- When the cupcakes are cool, frost each of them, then top with chocolate coffee beans, glitter and pearls before the frosting dries.
*Every oven is unique. Know your oven and adjust the temperature and baking time.