Thursday, 28 June 2012

Elderflower and White Chocolate Cupcakes

When I saw Linzi's Elderflower challenge over at Lancashire Food I didn't think I'd have a chance to participate, even though I wanted to. I just haven't managed to gather any elderflowers this year, even though they are plentiful and beautiful as ever. I'm hoping I haven't left it too late and I might still be in with a chance to make my annual batch of elderflower cordial. However, scrabbling around at the back of the cupboard, I came across a bottle of last year's cordial which is still in fine fettle - excellent, I can play along after all!

I've recently been sent a jar of Truvia to review by. Truvia is a sweetener derived from the Stevia plant. The compounds it contains are very sweet but are not sugar and have no calorific value. It also contains a bulking agent, erythritol, another non calorific sweetener - presumably to make it more practical to use. We've grown stevia for many years and use it to sweeten stewed fruit, tomato sauce and so on. Our plant was unfortunately killed in the hard winter of a couple of years ago, but we still have some dried leaf left. I was interested, therefore to try a commercial product which dispenses with all the green leaf material leaving just the active ingredients in a white caster sugar like form.

This challenge seemed like a good opportunity to try the product out. The advice is to use some sugar when baking cakes as Truvia has different properties to sugar. Due to the sugar present in both the white chocolate and in the elderflower cordial, however, I decided I'd try using Truvia without any additional sugar. Truvia is meant to be far sweeter than sugar and only 1/3 of the amount is needed. So instead of 150g of sugar I used 50g of Truvia. For more exacting bakers than I, the Truvia website has a handy conversion chart. It also has more information about the product and a number of recipes to try.

This is what I did:
  • Melted 125g unsalted butter in a pan over low heat with 50 white chocolate (G&B).
  • Sifted 100g flour (half spelt, half white), 50g ground almonds and 1 tsp baking powder into a bowl.
  • Stirred in 50g Truvia
  • Made a well in the centre and poured in the melted chocolate.
  • Mixed together then beat in 2 duck eggs, one at a time.
  • Stirred in 1 tbsp Greek Yogurt (2% fat) and 4 tbsp elderflower cordial.
  • Spooned into 12 cupcake cases and baked at 180C for 20 minutes.
  • Left to cool
  • Melted 100ml whipping cream in the butter pan I'd used earlier over low heat with 50g white chocolate (G&B).
  • Stirred until smooth.
  • Poured into a large bowl and left to cool.
  • Added 2 tbsp elderflower cordial and stirred.
  • Sifted in 80g icing sugar.
  • Added 200ml mascarpone and whisked until smooth and stiff enough to ice the cupcakes.
  • Used a palate knife to spread over the cupcakes, then decorated with some yellow sugar strands to tie in with the yellow cupcake cases.
The icing was delicious and turned out to be the exact colour of elderflowers which pleased me. I found it a little too sweet, so would reduce the icing sugar next time to about 50g. The flavour of elderflower was delicately present, but was later overpowered by the Truvia. Stevia has a distinctive taste, which to be honest, is an acquired one. It takes a while for the flavour to come through, but when it does it hangs around for a long time. So although this is a really useful way of cutting down sugar consumption, I would advise cautious use until familiar with its properties. The sponge tasted good, but was rather dense. I'm not sure if this was because of the lack of sugar or because of the method I used to mix the ingredients.

NB - I managed to raid my mother's garden this very evening and now have elderflower cordial brewing - hooray!

46 comments:

  1. What an unusal recipe...never heard Truvia, I've just Google it!
    Sounds yummy!!

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    1. Hi Manu, it's quite a new produce I think.

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  2. there's so much elderflower around here at the mo but i'm just too lazy to go pick it... after seeing these yummy cupcakes however I may just be bothered... lovely stuff... nice to see that the Truvia worked... I do always worry.

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    1. Dom - off your butt now, before the lovely stuff is over!

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  3. I too always worry about substitutes. As long as they're natural, however, I'm always wiling to give them a try. The cupcakes look so enticing!

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    1. Yes, I must say, I prefer all of my food to be as close to it's original state as possible, but then again I do like chocolate!

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  4. I am an elderflower addict Choclette, and these wee cakes are just my cup of tea, or should I say, they would be GREAT with a cup of tea, if you are making one! LOVE them and the fact that your elderflower was in fine fettle from last year, mine was too.....so, we must be elderflower queens! Karen

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    1. Thanks Karen, happy to be an elderflower Queen :) I'll just go and put the kettle on.

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  5. The cakes look fab. I made elderflower cordial last year too and still have a few jars left. Its wonderful added to some chilled tonic water - so refreshing. I agree with you that Stevia has a bit of an overpowering taste. Hopefully the elderflower masked it a bit

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    1. Thanks Katie. Elderflower cordial with sparkling mineral water is our drink of choice when we're really hot or have been working hard down at our plot. I've not used it in cooking before, so this was a novel experience and one I shall repeat. You could taste the elderflower fine whilst eating the cake, it was just afterwards the stevia came through and persisted.

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  6. Hmm, Truvia sounds interesting. I might have to buy some and try it out. The cupcakes sound delightful, I must try baking with elderflowers soon.

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    1. Thanks Janine, I'd say Truvia is worth a try and so is baking with elderflowers ;-)

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  7. Summer's not complete without a batch or two of cordial. Your cakes are lovely sounding and so pretty to look at. Now i'mm off to the kitchen to have a bite of white chocolate with a glass of cordial (it's too hot to bake!). Jude x

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    1. Thank you Jude. You're absolutely right and thank goodness I finally managed to pick some elderflowers and get a batch of cordial made - feel a lot happier now! Where are you that is is so hot?

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  8. Such pretty delicate cakes. I love elderflower, it's so refreshing. For some reason I have never thought to use it in cakes before. I bet the greek yoghurt made the cakes nice and moist too.

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    1. I was a bit late to the party on this one too, but it works really well and I shall be using it again for sure. I'm a big fan of using yogurt in cakes, it keeps them moist and gives a nice texture.

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  9. Elderflower and white chocolate sounds like a combination I might have to try! Tempted to try the Truvia too, but I'm not sure about the taste.

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    1. Lottie, go for it. Truvia is definitely worth trying but would probably work best in stewed fruit puddings like crumbles.

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  10. What do you do to get rid of the bitter aftertaste from the Truvia? I would love to use it because it is a more natural calorie free sweetener, but I can't get past the aftertaste. The cupcakes look delicious and they re so pretty:)

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    1. Thanks Angela. I'm not sure there's much you can do about the aftertaste. It's not as pronounced in the Stevia leaf, so maybe try and get hold of that.

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  11. To be honest I'm not really that keen on sweeteners, even natural ones, and would rather use sugar and eat it slightly more sparingly. But I LOVE the flavours in these cupcakes and would love to try baking them with sugar - white chocolate and elderflower is such a lovely combination, and elderflower always makes me think of my granny who I used to go elderflower picking with.

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    1. I'm with you there and prefer everything to be as natural as possible. I'm quite happy using the plant stevia, but not sure about the processed product. I too am itching to try these made with sugar.

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  12. mmm... white chocolate. I love it and sometimes I prefer it to the classic dark one. Lovely these cupcakes.

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    1. Thanks Alida. I'm not so keen on eating white chocolate straight as I find it a bit too sweet and cloying, but I really like using it in baking where I think it works really well.

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  13. This is why I love you - Truvia? Never heard of it, never mind used it. You are an inspiration. x

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  14. MMMMMM,...this recipe rocks! Using duck eggs, is new to me!
    I also love to use truvia!! :) These cupcakes look utterly delicious! I can't wait to try them!

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    1. Thanks Sophie. I always use duck eggs for preference in baking if I can - I've written a post all about it.

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  15. Sounds like a great flavour combination - white chocolate and elderflower are both subtle (well, to my mind anyway) so they pair well. I think I'll give the Truvia a miss though if it's an acquired taste. Good review though - very helpful!

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    1. Thanks Caroline. I've come to the conclusion that white chocolate works really well with all floral and fruit flavours - better than dark chocolate really.

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  16. Yummy looking recipe....maybe you could serve it with elderflower wine! hehe :-)

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    1. Excellent idea Corrie - need to get onto that elderflower wine quick!

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  17. I enjoyed reading your review, I thought it was honest and useful. I made a white chocolate and elderflower sponge came for the jubilee. So I know how well these two flavours go together. Your cupcakes look lovely.

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    1. Fleur, thank you. Your cake sounds delightful. I'll have to come and have a look. I'm shockingly behind with visiting other blogs.

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  18. I've recently heard a lot about stevia in Italy so was really interested in reading your review which was refreshingly honest. I don't think I'll be using Truvia any time soon but I would quite like to try growing the plant (a shame that yours was killed off) - where did you get it from? Thanks for the great blog.

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    1. Hi Katherine. We acquired our Stevia from Future Foods, which is sadly no longer in existence. But CT tells me the seeds can be bought though Sutton Seeds. It's a really useful plant and we really need to get another one.

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  19. I wish I had seen the elderflower challenge - Although I still have two things in the pipeline.

    I have a pot of truvia too, sitting rather unloved in the samples box.

    I do know that duck eggs are great for baking with, but there is something about the texture and translucence that I cannot bare so I am reluctant to try baking with them. I must get over this.

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    1. It's very hard to keep up Helen, there are so many challenges out there now. I know what you mean about duck eggs, I couldn't eat one straight, ie poached or fried. But I do love them for baking.

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  20. Interesting - I've not used this product and I'm nervous of using substitutes as I never know what adjustment to make. You were very brave!

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    1. He he, not sure bravery came into it, I'm always a bit slapdash with my baking - my cooking too come to that ;-)

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  21. What an interesting recipe & these cupcakes look lovely! I can't seem to fond any Elderflower but will my luck next year! I have never try Elderflower cordial either! Gosh! I've lots to catch up !

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    1. Oh Kit, do try Elderflower cordial, it's so worth making. Just a little mixed in with fizzy water makes a fantastic summer drink.

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  22. These sound absolutely lovely, I am keen to try these out

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    1. Thank you. Would love to know what you think if you ever do try them.

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  23. I have been meaning to try this product. The cupcakes look delicious.

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  24. I use it all the time in coffee. It's very sweet. I have not tried it in cooking though.

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