Chocolate Mud Cupcakes
- Preheat oven to 165°C (145°C fan-forced) and line a standard cupcake pan with 12 paper cupcake cases.
- Combine butter, chocolate, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan, stirring over low heat until combined, then add water and milk and stir until smooth.
- Transfer mixture to medium bowl and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
- In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and cocoa, then gently whisk the dry ingredients, then egg, into the chocolate mixture until smooth.
- Divide batter equally between cupcake cases then bake in the centre of the oven for 30-35 minutes or until a skewer comes out with moist crumbs. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes in the pan before removing cupcakes and cooling completely on a wire rack.
Coconut Cinnamon Buttercream
- Beat butter, sugar, coconut essence and ground cinnamon in a free-standing mixer with paddle attachment until light and fluffy.
- If frosting is quite thick and firm, gradually add milk while beating, until velvety soft, light and fluffy.
- Place frosting in a piping bag fitted with a large round nozzle.
Chai Caramel Sauce
- Heat cream and chai in small saucepan until hot and steamy. Allow to cool then refrigerate overnight to allow the chai flavour to steep in the cream. Reheat to just warmed the next day when making the caramel sauce.
- Place one third of the sugar in a large saucepan and melt over low-medium heat.
- Continue adding small additions of sugar to the melted, until all the sugar has melted and you have achieved a dark, amber colour.
- Remove melted sugar from heat, and quickly stir in butter and warmed cream, mixing thoroughly and taking great care not to burn yourself as the hot caramel bubbles and rises in the saucepan.
- Return pan to heat and continue mixing until smooth and thick (10-12 minutes).
- Allow to cool slightly, then add salt to taste.
- Leave to cool to room temperature, then transfer to a sterilised jar if not using immediately.
- Note that the caramel should be at a pourable consistency (but not hot) for assembly.
- Also note there will be approximately half the quantity of caramel remaining after the cupcakes are filled and decorated. The remainder can be enjoyed with another recipe, or drizzled over ice cream, pancakes, waffles or porridge.
- Place cupcakes on a serving plate and using an apple corer, core out the centre of each cupcake to a depth of 1-1.5cm.
- Spoon or pipe chai caramel sauce into the centre of each cupcake.
- Pipe coconut cinnamon buttercream onto each cupcake in a large dome.
- Scoop out a small spoonful of frosting from each dome to create a well, then dust with sifted ground cinnamon.
- Spoon or pipe a little extra chai caramel sauce within the well of each cupcake, then decorate with cacao nibs and star anise if desired.