Class today was all about science education in schools, and we played with a lot of old experiments most of which, I’m sad to say, I didn’t even recognise. My school clearly wasn’t a forerunner in exciting science education. I vaguely remember applying iodine to show starchy material in biology, and I have a slight recollection of throwing something rubbery around my chemistry class.
In our class discussion today, other people were describing how science was the most exciting thing at their school, that is, when the prospect of an experiment was on the cards. Why was I so weird that I actually hated experiments? I much preferred drawing chromosomes and writing projects. The thought of following another ‘recipe’ that had been done a million times before drove me to complete boredom. And the teacher rarely ever provided a real world connection for the experiment. Yes, iodine shows starch. So what?
Now, I have baked my go-to chocolate cupcakes a ‘million times’, and that was not a recipe I wanted to repeat again. Cue stroke of inspiration: I was craving mint this afternoon, so I considered the possibilities. What resulted, was one of the best cupcakes I have ever tasted – and reader, if you know me at all, you know I don’t shout about my baking that often.
Picture a soft chocolate sponge, with a minty marshmallow filling, and a squidgy, creamy mint marshmallow boulder frosting…
I’m not sure there is a written word that can quite convey the sound that came from my mouth when I tasted one of these. The textures, the flavour, the size…’insert appropriate sound here’.
So the moral of the story; don’t just repeat the same old science experiments over and over again. Be creative!
1 batch of your favourite chocolate cupcakes
1 batch of your favourite buttercream (minus any vanilla flavouring)
12 medium marshmallows (adjust to number of cupcakes, one mallow per cake -white is best if you want to colour the filling a nice mint green like I did)
A bag of mini marshmallows
Large bar of mint aero
Mint green colouring (optional)
Okay, so do all your routine baking, soak up the sweet smell of fresh baked chocolate cake.
Once your cupcakes have all cooled, take an apple corer or small teaspoon and carve a moderate hollow in the middle of each cake. Save the tops of the cupcakes to use as a ‘lid’.
Put your medium marshmallows in a heatproof glass bowl over a pan of simmering water. Let them melt. Once there are no lumps, add a few drops of peppermint extract and a dash of mint green colouring if you like.
Fill each cake with the melted mint marshmallow. I find it’s easiest to dip a teaspoon in hot water before each fill, as this stops things getting too sticky and stringy.
Place the tops back on your cupcakes.
Prepare your buttercream mixture and add a dash of peppermint extract instead of any vanilla flavourings. Pour your bag of mini marshmallows into the mix and stir. You’ll want to add more than you think, it should look like lots of little soft rocks.
Crumble your bar of mint aero into the mixture, making sure it is evenly distributed.
Scoop up balls of the icing and press on to the top of each cupcake.