These mossy meringue mushrooms were inspired by the wet winter we're having in the midwest. The grass is squishy and the air is damp and warm. Totally mushroom weather!
Why I love these meringue mushroom cupcakes
I'm totally into "alternative" sprinkles lately. Drawing inspiration from nature and avoiding artificial ingredients and dyes. The Matcha "moss" on these cupcakes is already one of my favorites! Made of crushed graham crackers, Matcha powder, coconut and chia seeds, it has an awesome color and crunch. And bonus, it looks just like moss!
Tips, techniques + takeaways
Different sized pastry tips help with the various shapes needed for meringue mushrooms: Try an Ateco #806 for the mushroom caps and Ateco #804 for the mushroom stems. Caps should be low, fat and smooth. Stems should be tall and slim with a nice peak or point.
Once baked and completely cool, I used a sharp knife to carve a small hole in the bottom of each mushroom "cap" and filled it with a dab of melted chocolate to "glue" to the stems in place.
The next time I do these, I might try dipping the bottom of the mushroom caps in chocolate to give the illusion of dark shadowy "gills" underneath. I think that would look really cool.
I found that a fine mesh sieve dumped way too much cocoa powder on my meringue mushrooms. Big mess. Instead I dusted them by rubbing a pinch of cocoa between my fingers. The cocoa gives the mushroom caps an authentic mushroomy look.
I keep brown cupcake liners on hand for chocolate cupcakes.
Makes 24 cupcakes
350 g plain flour
370 g caster sugar
60 g cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
150 g dark OR semi-sweet chocolate chips
240 ml cup of coffee, cool/room temperature
210 ml vegetable oil
240 ml buttermilk
3 large free-range eggs
Preheat oven to 350º
Sift together all dry ingredients.
Finely chop the chocolate (in a food processor) and add to dry ingredients. Mix until incorporated.
Whisk the wet ingredients together in the bowl of a stand mixer. Gradually add the dry mix and whisk until silky smooth.
Transfer mixture to a small jug with pour spout.
Carefully, pour into cupcake tins (about 2/3 full).
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until they spring back when touched and a toothpick comes out clean.
Let cool in the pans until you can grab the pan with your hands. Then flip out onto cooling rack.
Source: Cupcake Jemma
Makes frosting for 24 cupcakes
180 g semi-sweet chocolate chips
300 g unsalted butter, softened
540 g icing sugar
4 tablespoons whole milk
Melt chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Turn off heat.
Meanwhile, beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer for 4-5 minutes, or until pale and smooth.
Sift icing sugar into a large bowl, then add to the butter in two stages, beating well between each.
Gradually add the milk and beat for another 5 minutes, or until well combined.
Pour in the melted chocolate chips bit by bit mixing as you go, then beat for a couple of minutes, or until the frosting is a rich, even color.
Source: Cupcake Jemma
1 tablespoon white vinegar, to clean equipment
3 large free-range egg whites, room temperature
caster sugar double the weight of egg whites
1 pinch cream of tartar
1 pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Wipe mixing bowl and whisk with vinegar.
Preheat oven to 225° and position a rack in the center or two racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Line baking sheet(s) with parchment paper.
Beat egg whites and cream of tartar on medium-high until frothy and holding soft peaks.
Increase speed to high and add the sugar tablespoon at a time.
Beat until sugar granules dissolve and meringue forms stiff peaks. To test for stiff peaks, dip a spoon in the meringue and turn it. Peak should stay straight and not bend.
Rub between forefinger and thumb to test for granules. Keep mixing until completely smooth to the touch.
Add salt and vanilla. Whip to incorporate.
Pipe meringue into desired shapes on parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake for 60-90 minutes, rotating the pans from top to bottom and front to back halfway through the baking time. Turn the oven off and leave the meringue inside to cool completely.
As soon as the meringues are cool, put them in an airtight container to prevent them from softening. They keep for several weeks, so long as they stored in an airtight container.
Optional: fold chopped nuts, dried coconut, or bits of chocolate into meringue before piping and baking.
unsweetened, very fine, macaroon coconut
Using a freezer bag and a rolling pin, crush graham crackers gently to desired consistency. A rolling pin allows for more control than a food processor.
Transfer crushed graham crackers to a mixing bowl. Add coconut, matcha and chia seeds until satisfied with the color and texture.
Can be stored in an airtight container for several weeks.