My mum brought me supplies of cocoa and baking powder last weekend, yay! So yesterday I took the opportunity to use them in some chocolate cupcakes! The recipe is adapted from the Hummingbird bakery, one that my friend often uses so I knew it should be good, and best of all it doesn’t involve creaming (I haven’t got an electric whisk and and generally too lazy to cream by hand)! For the icing I made chocolate ganache (which I hadn’t ever tried before), but rather than using cream I used milk and butter, an idea I saw in one of the contributions to Nigella’s website (here), and this blog. I haven’t managed to find a muffin tray here, so I bought some silicon cupcake cases, which for some unknown reason were white, mustard yellow and moss green! I hadn’t ever used them before but they worked pretty well, I wasn’t sure whether I should grease them or not so I greased some, which made the cakes come out a bit more easily but the non-greased ones didn’t stick either.
100g plain flour
20g cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
40g soft butter or margarine
For the ganache:
100g dark chocolate
– Preheat the oven to 170c.
-Mix the flour, sugar, cocoa and baking powder, and rub in the butter (or mix in a food processor).
– Mix the egg and milk in a jug. Add half to the dry ingredients and beat to mix and remove all the lumps.
– Add the remaining liquid and beat well; the batter is quite liquid.
– Divide between 12 cupcake cases and bake for 15-20 minutes.
– Make the ganache: place the butter and milk in a saucepan and heat until the butter has melted and the liquid has just boiled.
– Remove from the heat and add the chocolate, breaking it into small pieces. Wait a couple of minutes for it to melt, then beat together.
– Leave to cool and thicken for 10-15 minutes before icing the cakes.
My mum and sister came to visit last weekend, and instead of birthday cake I made my mum a birthday shortbread flower! I adapted the shortbread recipe from the Be-Ro book, adding some lemon zest and then smothering the whole thing in chocolate, and it worked out quite well, although we started eating it before the chocolate had dried properly…
OK, so it’s not exactly high art, actually it looks a bit like a child’s drawing…but it tasted good!
125g plain flour
90g butter, cut into small pieces
Grated zest of 1 small or 1/2 a large lemon
80g dark chocolate
– Heat the oven to 160c and grease an 8 inch round dish or cake tin, lining the base with greaseproof paper.
– Stir together the flour and sugar, then rub in the butter until it looks like breadcrumbs. Stir in the lemon zest.
– Knead the mix until it comes together.
– Roll into a thick sausage shape about 10cm long.
– Cut into 9 slices, and arrange in the dish in a flower shape. Prick the tops with a fork. This is what mine looked like before it went in:
– Bake for around 30 mins, until golden and brown round the edges. The shortbread should spread so the pieces join:
– Leave until completely cool, then melt the chocolate. Go round the flower shape in chocolate (I found the easiest way to do this was to use the wrong end of a spoon!)
– Spread the remaining chocolate on a sheet of greaseproof paper, spreading with a flat knife or cake slice to make sure it is even. Place the shortbread on top of this and leave to dry.