Monday, 28 April 2014

Chocolate Cupcakes

I have baked many chocolate cakes over the years in my hunt to find “THE perfect” chocolate cake. I have come close but I always feel that there are improvements that could be made. I have also baked score of different recipes for chocolate cupcakes; and I think that I have finally cracked them and found a recipe that I love. This is the one that I present here.

The batter for these cakes is made in an unconventional way, as the creaming method is eschewed in favour of melting the chocolate and butter together and then adding the eggs and all the other dry ingredients. Initially, I thought that this would create a dense, heavy cupcake, but they are surprisingly light but still rich and with a good chocolate “hit”. The batter is looser than the traditional creamed versions but it creates the most fabulous cakes.
So often, chocolate cakes, cupcakes and biscuits disappoint because they just don’t taste of chocolate; well I promise you these ones won’t disappoint! Once you make them, I am confident that you will make them again and again. They are just fab. But don’t just take my word for it. My children are absolute chocolate addicts, and would eat chocolate laced cakes, brownies and the like very regularly if given half a chance and they have declared these the best chocolate cupcakes EVER!
 
My eldest daughter in particular, loves chocolate flavoured bakes. She has recently started doing a lot of baking herself and likes to experiment, trying out different recipes. It is not surprising that many of these experiments are centred on the inclusion of chocolate as a key ingredient. I am delighted that she has become interested in cooking and baking as I think these are skills that everyone should be encouraged to develop.

She also knows her own mind and is quite insistent on banishing me from the kitchen when she is doing her baking as apparently, “I take over” if allowed to remain!!! There may be a small grain of truth in her assertion.

I post this recipe today in her honour, as it is her birthday and to let her know how much I love her. I am astonished that she is now a teenager as it only seems a short time ago that she was a small baby. Hopefully, as she continues to grow older, her love of baking and cooking will continue to flourish.
 

Ingredients:

85g dark chocolate, melted
200g butter
½ tsp vanilla extract/paste
225g caster sugar
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
175g plain flour
25g cocoa powder
½ tsp baking powder
Chocolate icing:
150ml cream
200g dark chocolate, broken into chunks
25g butter


Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 190C/Fan Oven 170C/Gas Mark 5. Line a 12-hole cupcake tin with paper cases and set aside.
2. Place the chocolate and butter into a large saucepan and melt together over a moderate heat, stirring all the time. When the chocolate and butter have meted, remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool for about ten minutes.
3. Add the vanilla extract and sugar to the melted chocolate mixture and stir using a wooden spoon until fully incorporated. Then add the eggs mix again. Sift the baking powder and flour together and stir into the mixture – the resulting batter will be quite loose.
4. Divide the batter equally between the paper cases until they are about three-quarters full. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 25 minutes until the cupcakes are well risen and a thin skewer inserted into the middle of one comes out clean.
5. Leave to cool in the tin for about ten minutes, before removing to a wire rack to finish cooling completely. When cool decorate with chocolate icing.
Chocolate icing:
6. Put the cream and chocolate into a small saucepan and heat over a gentle heat, stirring all the time until they have melted together. Remove from the heat and add the butter, stirring to ensure that everything is well mixed together. Set aside to cool for a couple of hours to allow it to firm up a little.
7. When the icing has firmed up sufficiently it can be spread on the cupcakes, using a small palette knife.

Makes 12.