The other week, my work colleagues and I were discussing cola. It turns out it’s not something many of us in my office drink on a regular basis. But we all reminisced how, when we were younger (in the days before Diet Coke – eek I’m that old), Coke was only seen as an occasional treat. Nowadays it seems to be chugged down by the gallon load all the time by many -I know, I sound like an old disapproving moan!
In the '70's I would be lucky to get a glass once a week, on Saturday lunchtime. I remember that my mum and I would visit my grandparents for lunch on a Saturday along with my aunt and cousins. My gran would give us each a modest tumbler of the fizzy stuff and if we were really lucky and the weather was hot (we did used to have summers in Scotland) we would get a coke float!
I recently came across a few recipes for cakes that incorporated cola in them. I was very intrigued, and investigated more. They were all essentially a chocolate cupcake with added full-fat cola. Now I thought what a lovely pairing the chocolate and the caramel overtones of the coke would be. I decided to experiment and came up with my own version.
Yield: 12 Cupcakes
200 grams unsalted butter softened
200 grams granulated sugar
200 ml full-fat cola (flat, unfizzy is best)
250 g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
100 ml buttermilk
100 grams unsalted butter, softened
400 grams icing sugar
30 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons cola syrup (try Soda Stream concentrate)
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pre-heat your oven to 180oC and line a cupcake tray with paper liners.
In a bowl, cream together the butter and sugar, until pale yellow and smooth. Next add the eggs, one at a time and beat until the batter is slightly thicker and increased in volume a little. Slowly mix in the cola until it is incorporated with the rest of the batter.
In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder. Now add one third of the flour to the wet batter, mix until just combined. Add half of the buttermilk, mix until combined and do the same with another third of the flour, rest of the buttermilk and finish with the last third of the flour. Scoop equally into 12 cupcake holders and pop into the oven for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the centre of the cakes. Leave to cool completely.
To make the frosting, sift the icing sugar and cocoa powder together and mix into the butter thoroughly. Add the vanilla and cola syrup, again mixing until smooth and combined. Taking a piping bag, (or a food baggy with the corner chopped off) pipe the frosting onto each cupcake in a swirl. I kept mines in the fridge to keep the frosting nice and firm.
The cakes themselves don’t have an overwhelming taste of cola. Friends said that they were chocolaty with a certain ‘je ne sais quois’. But the frosting was unmistakably cola tinged with the full-on flavour of the cola syrup. A great sometimes treat for little kids (or big kids like me)! Now go and teach the world to sing!! Enjoy…