White Chocolate and Pistachio Cupcakes

So this week is National Cupcake Week. A whole week devoted to cupcakes? My whole year seems to be devoted to them in some form or another. 

I know some people are a little tired of them but, done right, they are still a great treat. Cupcakes are what got me into baking and they are usually my most requested bake from friends. Lately I've been much more interested in sweet doughs and puddings so it was nice to go back to an old favourite. 

I've had a long day today. I got back from London about an hour ago. I had been in the city to assist on a food photoshoot for Olive magazine. I had such a brilliant day. It was so nice to be doing something I feel passionate about. Outside of my 9-5 this blog is my only outlet for it so I've been trying to create opportunities for myself. 

The shoots I helped on will be in the December and January issues but I'll let you know more details then. I don't want to go giving away all the magazine content...suffice to say the photos look great and I was honoured to have been able to help. 

I would strongly encourage you to make these cupcakes. White chocolate and pistachio are brothers from different mothers. They sit together very happily and that makes me happy. I chopped the pistachios by hand but if you have a food processer it might be less time consuming to very briefly whizz them in there (make sure they aren't too fine). 

Have you been enjoying National Cupcake Week? Have you come up with any new combinations?

White Chocolate and Pistachio Cupcakes
(Makes 8 in muffin sized cases)

120g plain flour
140 caster sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
40g unsalted butter, softened
120ml whole milk
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon teaspoon vanilla extract
30g pistachios, shelled and chopped (plus extra for decoration)

80g white chocolate
300g icing sugar
150g unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons double cream (optional)
  1. Preheat your oven to 170 C/325 F. Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in a mixer or with an electric whisk. Beat slowly until you have a fine breadcrumb consistency.
  2. Gradually pour in 60ml of the milk. In the other 60ml, mix in the egg and vanilla extract. Add this to the flour mixture and beat until smooth. Fold in the chopped pistachios.
  3. Spoon into the muffin cases (about two thirds fill) and bake for 20-25 minutes until light golden. Leave to cool.
  4. For the white chocolate frosting, break up the chocolate and melt in a glass bowl over a pan of simmering water. Do not let the water get in the chocolate. Leave to cool slightly.
  5. Beat together the butter and half the icing sugar. Add the chocolate and double cream (the cream is optional but adds a nice richness to the frosting). Gradually add the final 150g of icing sugar until you reach a smooth, thick piping consistency.
  6. Pipe or spread onto your cooled cupcakes and sprinkle over the chopped pistachios.