I haven’t been making cupcakes in such a long time, but this all changed the other evening when I felt a passionate cupcake craving raising its head; I felt like I needed to bake and also I needed to have something with chocolate and mint.
Initially it started because I remembered one of the desserts I ate at Näsinneula restaurant, which was voted as the 8th best restaurant in Finland some time ago. The restaurant is located inside Näsinneula tower and so the dining is rather interesting because you have fantastic panorama views all over Tampere and the lakes surrounding the city. It was actually scary at first because it is so high and I could feel the tower moving a bit, but after a while I got used to it and could focus fully on the food. We ordered the Ninth Heaven menu and thus we got to taste some really good gluten-free chocolate cake with a milk chocolate mousse, ice cream and a truly fantastic mint sauce. The mint sauce was so good with the dark chocolate cake that I needed to try making something at home with those same flavours and I ended up with trying out these mint chocolate cupcakes.
The gluten-free part was no problem at the restaurant and I can highly recommend it to anyone wanting a lovely dinner when visiting Tampere - which a city in the south of Finland. Usually eating gluten-free here in Finland is always easy, but the staff at Näsinneula took it to another level with their care and professional manners. The food itself was just really so good, with all the different elements melting together into a perfect and very balanced mixture of tasty local flavours. The menu had nine different elements in it - green asparagus with hollandaise, scallops served in two ways, jerusalem artichoke soup, pike perch, blackcurrant sorbet, Finnish Charolaise beef served in two ways, local cheeses served with some cloudberry jam, chocolate cake and finally the meal ended with some local strawberries. The pike perch, the asparagus and of course the chocolate cake were so fantastic that these have stayed in my mind afterwards rather hauntingly.
The other night was one of those times when I remembered the chocolate cake with the mint sauce and couldn’t take it anymore without baking something; I started to go through a Finnish blog called Kinuskikissa -which is by the way very beautiful- and found a cupcake recipe which used cocoa powder and mint chocolate as flavourings. I didn’t have many ingredients at home, no quinoa flour for example, so I decided to use almond meal and white rice flour and it worked out well; the cupcakes weren’t exactly as good as the dark rich chocolate cake with a fresh and tangy mint sauce at the restaurant, but they were nonetheless very tasty.
After the baking I have been wondering if I should use more white rice flour; the flour behaved so well and the cupcakes were delicious. I used a chocolate candy called Pätkis, which is basically a chocolate mint truffle, in the cupcakes, but I am sure that any kind of mint chocolate would work here. The frosting is just regular unsweetened whipped cream;I don’t think that buttercream would be very good here.
Gluten-Free Mint Chocolate Cupcakes
-140 grams/5 ounces mint chocolate
-150 grams/5,2 ounces soft butter
-1dl/ 1/4 cup sugar (or more depending on the chocolate, use more if the chocolate is darker)
-1,5 dl/ 0,6 cup milk or cream (I used full fat milk)
-2 dl/3/4 cup almond meal (ground almonds)
-1,5 dl/ 0,6 cup white rice flour (0,6 cup means a little bit over half a cup)
-2 tsp (gluten-free) baking powder
-2 1/2 tbls cocoa powder
Preheat an oven to 170 C/340 F.
Chop half of the chocolate into really small pieces and leave half of it as bigger pieces which will later be inserted into the cupcakes.
Mix all the dry ingredients together. Cream the butter and the sugar until they are pale and light. Add the eggs one by one. Add the milk and then mix the dry ingredients into the batter, remember not to over mix. Finally gently fold in the finely chopped chocolate.
Line a cupcake tin with cupcake papers, or grease the tin. Start adding the batter one spoonful at a time, when you have added one small spoonful of batter into the tin, then place a piece of the chocolate which was not chopped so finely into the batter, and finally place another spoonful of the batter on top of the chocolate piece.
Bake for 15-25 minutes, this depends on your oven. Let them cool before serving.
Serve with some whipped cream.
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