Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes (with popping candy!)

It all started with these tiny ice cream waffle cones. I picked them up during our walking tour of Surry Hills, and immediately started thinking up all sorts of crazy things to do with them. But I've had a bit of a baking block recently and so these little cones were relegated to the back of my baking shelf and forgotten about for a week. Then I woke up the other morning and just started running around my kitchen randomly grabbing things, determined to come up with something sweet to bring to Lex's, since he was cooking an awesome dinner for us.
Aren't they adorable?
I wasn't sure what I was making until I was about halfway through. My original plan was to somehow fill these cupcakes with neopolitan flavours - vanilla, strawberry and chocolate, but I kept changing my mind about how I would incorporate all these flavours. Strawberry mousse? Vanilla marshmallows? Chocolate fairy floss? In the end I kept it simple, but yummy (of course) and sure to make you giggle like a little kid.
The cones were filled with vanilla white chocolate, and then topped with a strawberry flavoured popping candy. I then pulled out Nigella's faithful old-fashioned chocolate cake recipe to bake super moist mini-cupcakes which were shoved on top of the cones and then coated in melted chocolate. I couldn't decide how to top them off, so I experimented with more popping candy and multicoloured sprinkles. The sprinkles probably looked much prettier, but there's always more fun when there's popping candy involved!
Though they were fiddly and messy to make (my kitchen was covered in chocolate and popping candy, to the point where my entire counter top and sink were cracking and popping away when I was wiping up), the final result was so cute! The surprise load of popping candy in the centre was definitely a crowd pleaser, everyone was saying "What crackling candy?" after first biting into it, followed by "Ohhh!!!" and much giggling ensued. And though I love my cupcakes, I definitely need to get my hands on more of these little cones so I can experiment with different desserts :)
Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes
(cake recipe adapted from Nigella Lawson's Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake)
15 mini waffle cones
150g vanilla white chocolate (I used Green & Blacks Organic chocolate since it already had vanilla beans in it, you could probably melt regular white chocolate and mix in vanilla bean if you can be bothered)
Popping candy (strawberry flavoured if you can find it, if you can't get any you could always try using sherbert instead!)
100g plain flour
100g caster sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarb soda
20g Dutch process cocoa powder
85g unsalted butter, softened
75g sour cream
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g good quality dark chocolate
I'm a lazy bum, so I didn't bother melting my vanilla white chocolate over a double boiler. Instead I broke it up into small pieces and stuck it in the microwave on high for 30 seconds at a time and then stirring it, and kept doing this until it was nicely melted. Using a small spoon and drizzle the chocolate into the base of the mini cones (yes that really is an empty herb bottle that I used to hold up the cone while I worked with it). Fill these about 2/3 full. Set the cones aside to cool standing upright.
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Place flour, sugar, baking powder, bicarb soda, cocoa, butter, egg, vanilla and sour cream into a food processor and pulse until all the ingredients come together and you have a smooth, thick batter. Yes it really is that easy!
Spoon the batter into a lined mini muffin tray (about 2/3 full) and bake for about 10 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean and the cake springs back slightly under your finger when you press it gently. Remove from the tray and cool completely on a wire rack.
This should make about 24 mini cupcakes, which is more than you need, but that's okay because you need to taste test and it's good to have extra incase you stuff up! Remove the cakes from their papers. If you really don't think you will be able to squeeze the bottoms of the cakes into the tops of the cones you can use a sharp knife to trim the edges of the cakes so they will fit.
While the cakes are cooling, fill the cones with popping candy. Be careful not to let moisture get to the candy, or they won't pop later on. I used a mini funnel to avoid getting candy all over the floor.
Make sure you leave about half a centimetres space at the top of the cone so that you can wedge your cupcake on top! I was lucky enough to find this new strawberry flavoured popping candy in the ice cream topping section on my supermarket. It was perfect!
Grab your cooled chocolate cakes and gently squeeze them into the tops of the cones. They are very crumbly, so it is easy to squeeze them too hard and for them to break into pieces. It's okay if this happens, remember you have extra! Gently pat them into a nice round shape.
Melt your dark chocolate in the microwave, the same way that you did for the white chocolate. Do this in small batches (I did four squares of a chocolate block at a time) so that it doesnt get too hard while you are coating the cake. Since the cake is very crumbly, the hot melted chocolate can make it fall apart if you are too rough with it. I used a small teaspoon to gently pour and spread the melted chocolate over the tops of the cake, and ensured that it reached the tops of the cones, to help secure the cake in place. A little bit of chocolate dripping down the cone is okay, it looks tasty :D
Leave them aside for a couple of hours to set, I actually ended up using beer bottle tops to keep them standing up while they cooled! You could also just get styrofoam or make a makeshift carry tray like I did - I grabbed a small cardboard box and used a steak knife to stab a bunch of holes into the lid to stick the cones into. It worked as a perfect transport to get to dinner, and much less weirder than carrying a dozen beer bottles!
Of course the curious food bloggers wanted a cross-sectional shot of the cones, so this is the result of Richard's clean cutting skills and Simon's neatening-up, thanks guys! These are best eaten on the day you make them, the cones went pretty soggy the next day but that might not have happened if I had refrigerated them. My favourite part of eating the gooey chocolate covered cake and then being surprised by the big mouthful of popping candy straight after. Can you tell I love to channel my inner child a lot?
My makeshift cone carrier!
P.S. This post is for Julie, for getting the summer internship. Hurray!


  1. They're amazing! Anytime you want more cones, let me know, and I'll grab them for you!

  2. By far the most fun I had with my clothes on hehehe!

    Popping candy is the most coolest thing invented and the strawberry flavour just made it even better. The smell of the chocolate drove me nuts while we were driving!

  3. This is awesome! Love all your wonderful creations.

  4. Oh wow, it's an ice-cream cone that has cake in it and made to look like a choc-coated cone! Brilliant =D

  5. Such a cool idea, and so devious too! Something to hand to someone and watch expectantly for their reaction :)

  6. POPPING CANNDDYYY WHHHEEEEEE ^^! Thanks so much! nom nom nom and that chocolate drip shot is sooooo good!

  7. Ooh these are awesome Steph! So many different layers and surprises! Love the makeshift tray! So cute!

  8. oh man those look so freaking awesome! and popping candy is so much win!

  9. its SO CUTE Steph i love all your creativity

  10. loooove it!! awesome idea. Fun for both adult and Kids.

  11. you madeeee it and they look really cute!!!!! Im so glad you bought them! LOL I almost conned you into buying 2 packets of those mini cones. lol.

  12. oh wow, they look so cute! Its a cupcake in disguise! The popping candy is such a neat addition, I just love the whole idea, what a great job!

  13. what a great idea :) and strawberry popping candy? going to have to keep an eye out for that one on my next visit to the supermarket!

  14. Popping candy is the best! And in a cupcake is even better. Love the forensic cross-section shot!

  15. You've got a little party going on in those cupcake cones! I think I'll do this for my nephews next bday. I am always looking for cool ideas!

  16. They're so cute - I love the idea! Did you just get the popping candy from the supermarket?

  17. Totally awesome!!!
    Where do you get the popping candy from?

  18. You were a pastry chef in a past life... like that mouse in ratatouille haha; I swear if you had your own pastry shop I would be in it everyday!

    mmm crackle awesomeness....

  19. Hey steph....
    what shop did you get the cones from?
    i'm back in sydney this weekend and what to get some!
    and where did you get the popping candy from?

  20. From the title I thought you created your own popping candy! I know you have a science-y background but that would really be taking it to a whole new level of chemistry in the kitchen.

    But your mini cones looks adorable! Love the ingenuity!

  21. wow wow wow - great post!!! those cones are to die for!

  22. I LOOOOOOVED IT! it was such a great & cute idea! :)

  23. Reemski - I totally will! Been regretting not getting two packs to begin with :)

    Karen - AHAHAHa! They did smell surprisingly good even though I used the cheapo chocolate I had in my cupboard!

    Ellie - Aw thanks! right back at ya! :D

    Conor - Heehee it was particularly fun watching Chef Lex go all giggly when he hit the popping candy bit :D

    FFichiban - :D :D Thanks dude!

    Betty - hahaha thanks! it was a last minute panic job!

    chocolatesuze - I agree! There should be more popping candy in everything!

    Betty - Haha thanks so much!

    Linda - :) Thank you! I love the mini cones so much I want to use them for so many different things

    Leona - I wish you had got me to get two now! I'm glad you convinced me to get it at all :)

    Maria - Thanks so much!

    Helen - Yeah let me know if you can find it! It was hiding in the ice cream topping section of coles for me

    Belle - Hahaha you should have seen Richard go at it with surgical precision!

    Trissa - Aww yay! Let me know if you do!

    Jacq - Yup! I was lucky to find them selling it as a new product in coles, it was fate!

    Brenda - I got it from Coles in the ice cream topping section, I think it was Cottees brand?

    lex - LOL I kinda hope I was a pastry chef mouse in my previous life, that would be awesome! Haha thanks :)

    abbie - I think I got the cones from Maloneys grocers in Surry Hills, and see two comments above for where to get the popping candy!

    Forager - Haha that would be so awesome! Except kinda hard without some fairly dangerous home contraptions I think :( Thank you!

    {kiss my spatula} - aw thank you so much!

    Yas - Yay thank you! Glad you loved it!!

  24. This was such an ingenius idea! Makes me want to find other ways to incorporate poprocks into food.

    I'm amazed at your baking & creative skills, though by the same token, not the least bit surprised :)

  25. :D Thanks Simon! Poprocks are underused!!! You're too kind :)

  26. You're my favorite blogger at the moment!!!! When I can't sleep at night I look through your recipes and go "Ohhh I gotta try making that one!!" Definitely going to try this for one of my three sons' birthday!!! Oh heck why not make it for all three birthdas hahaha! As well as your milo cake AND milo cupcakes!!!


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