Chocolate cupcakes with really easy chocolate ganache

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.

Ingredients:

100g plain flour

140g sugar

20g cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

40g soft butter or margarine

120ml milk

1 egg

 

For the ganache:

100g dark chocolate

60ml milk

25g butter

– 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.

 

 

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Cupcakes in Krakow!

Long time, no blog! I’ve been traveling: first to France with my family, then to Krakow and Budapest with some friends from uni. We came across a lovely bakery in Krakow, almost next to where we were staying, which had some of the cutest and yummiest cupcakes I’ve ever had, and have definitely given me some inspiration for new flavours! Normally I’m not a fan of bought cupcakes – they seem to have too much sickly sweet icing and a fairly flavourless cake underneath. These were great, though: so good we went two days in a row! The first time I had chocolate covered strawberry cupcake, and the second time chocolate and peanut butter cupcake (I’m one of those people who will almost always choose a chocolate option, as the posts on here probably give away!). They were the cutest things, and for once were just as good as they looked! So I’m all inspired to bake some new cupcake flavour combinations when I get home – unfortunately I have less than a week at home before I go to Spain to start my year abroad so cupcake baking may take a back seat!

(The bakery in question was Cupcake Corner – the website gives some idea of the range of flavours they have – I quite fancy making black forest and brownie obsession as well… or just going back to Krakow to try them there…)

Cappuccino cupcakes!

I must have made espresso cupcakes at least ten times, but because they’re so good, I’d never really considered the recipe on the opposite page, for cappuccino cupcakes. Until now, that is! And while I love how rich the espresso cupcakes are, with their dark chocolate in the cake and in the icing, these cappuccino cupcakes were certainly very good too: the sponge is quite a strong coffee sponge, and the icing is made with sweet white chocolate so they balance each other nicely. As usual when I make cupcakes, I did half the amount of icing suggested – is it just me who finds that most cupcake recipes make too much icing? If I had made the suggested amount, I am sure there would have been just too much sweet icing and they would have been rather sickly! As it was, the balance was pretty good. I think they look rather cute, too, with chocolate sprinkled over the top – just like real cappuccinos. Well, sort of! One day I would love to host a tea party with these, espresso cupcakes and earl grey cupcakes, and then serve lemonade out of teapots! (Too much?!). Like the espresso cupcakes, the recipe is originally from Nigella Lawson’s ‘How to be a domestic goddess’, one of my favourite ‘fancy’ baking books.

Ingredients (makes 12 cupcakes):

225g butter or margarine

225g self-raising flour

225g golden caster sugar

2 eggs

1 heaped tablespoon instant espresso powder

1 tsp baking powder

2-3 tablespoons milk

For the icing:

80g white chocolate (I used M&S ‘creme brulee’ chocolate as it was all I could find, which gave it a lovely caramel flavour)

30g butter

60g soured cream

130g icing sugar

A couple of teaspoons of cocoa powder or hot chocolate powder to sprinkle over

 

– Preheat the oven to 200c and line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases.

– Place all the cake ingredients apart from the milk in a blender, and pulse until combined.

– Gradually add the milk, while beating, until the batter is soft. I think I added a bit too much as it was quite runny, but it didn’t seem to matter!

– Divide between the cases and bake for around 20 minutes, then leave to cool completely before icing.

– For the icing, melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave, and leave to cool slightly before stirring in the soured cream.

– Gradually sift in the icing sugar while beating with an electric whisk.

– Spread a generous amount on each cupcake.

– If you like, sprinkle some cocoa powder or hot chocolate powder over the top to make them look like cappuccinos!

Raspberry cupcakes!

After we’d made these, my sister declared them the best thing we had ever baked (pushing the blondies into second place already!), and I have to agree they are very good! They seemed appropriate for summer – if you can call this summer, it’s been raining almost constantly for weeks… They’re another from my Primrose Bakery book, and not only do they have raspberry jam swirled through the batter and as a filling in the cupcake, they also have white chocolate in the icing, which makes for some incredibly sweet cupcakes! The quantities given are half of those in the book, and made 12 fairy cakes, which are almost all gone already!

Ingredients:

55g butter (at room temperature)

90g caster sugar

1 egg

60g plain flour

60g self-raising flour

60ml milk

Half a teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons raspberry jam, plus one teaspoonful per cupcake for filling

For the icing:

20g butter (at room temperature)

1 tablespoon milk

100g icing sugar, sifted

A drop of vanilla extract

50g white chocolate

1.5 tablespoons double cream

Fresh raspberries, to decorate

– Preheat the oven to 180c and line a fairy cake tin with paper cases.

– Cream the butter and sugar thoroughly, which takes about 5 minutes. As there is a lot of sugar compared to butter, I find it easiest to add the sugar gradually.

– Add the egg and mix for a couple more minutes.

– Combine the flours in a bowl, and combine the milk and vanilla extract in a jug.

– Add a third of the flour to the creamed mixture and beat in, then add a third of the milk and beat; continue like this until they are both used up.

– Add the jam: gently fold it in a little to give a swirled effect.

– Divide between the paper cases and bake for around 20 minutes.

– Once cool, use a teaspoon or sharp knife to make a hole in the centre of each one, and add a small teaspoon of raspberry jam. The recipe wasn’t entirely clear about how to do this: we took a small spoonful of cake out (almost as if making butterfly buns), put the raspberry jam in then replaced the cake, which looked a bit messy but it doesn’t really matter because you ice over it anyway!

– To make the icing, first place the butter, milk, vanilla and half the icing sugar in a bowl and beat with an electric whisk until smooth, before gradually adding the rest of the icing sugar and beating well for about 5 minutes (yes, this is basically making buttercream!)

– Next, melt the white chocolate and leave to cool for a couple of minutes, before adding to the buttercream along with the cream. Beat until well combined and smooth.

– Ice each cupcake, using a palette knife, and top each with a raspberry!

Because of the jam inside, these will only keep for a few days before they start going a bit soggy, but in my house this wasn’t a problem as they were all eaten before then!

Earl Grey Cupcakes!

I own three cookbooks – Be-Ro and one of Delia Smith’s, which are both fairly practical for a student, and another called ‘Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery’, which is decidedly less practical, though probably prettier! I’m gradually working my way through the recipes although this is the first I’ve written about – Earl Grey cupcakes. I’m not really a tea person, but I do like Earl Grey so I thought they were worth a try: the flavour comes from using milk which you’ve infused with the tea, so I suppose you could use any sort of tea. The original recipe used infused milk only in the cakes themselves, but when we tasted them the flavour was quite subtle so we used it in the icing as well!

Ingredients (makes 24 fairy cakes):

125ml semi-skimmed milk

4 Earl Grey teabags

110g butter at room temperature

225g sugar (the recipe says granulated but we used caster)

2 eggs

125g self-raising flour, sifted

120g plain flour, sifted

For the icing (this is half the quantity in the original but we found it was plenty!):

55g butter at room temperature

30ml semi-skimmed milk

250g icing sugar, sifted

– Preheat the oven to 180c and line two 12-hole fairy cake trays (or one 12-hole muffin tray) with cake cases.

– Heat all the milk (125ml for the cakes and 30ml for the icing) over a medium heat until it is just about to boil, then remove from the heat, add the teabags, cover and leave for 30 minutes.

– Cream the butter and sugar. As there is a lot more sugar than butter, I find it easiest to add the sugar gradually; it takes around 5 minutes with an electric whisk. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each.

– Combine the flours in a separate bowl and measure out about 100ml of the milk into a jug (some will have evaporated with heating). Add one third of the flour, then one third of the milk, to the creamed mixture, beating after each addition; continue until all the milk and flour are in.

– Spoon the mixture into the cake cases and bake for 20-25 minutes.

– Once cool, make the icing: beat the butter, 30ml of infused milk and half the icing sugar until smooth, then gradually add the rest of the icing sugar and keep beating. It takes 5 minutes or more; it’s ready when it’s smooth, creamy and tastes of icing rather than butter and sugar!

– Ice the cupcakes, and sprinkle demerara sugar over for decoration!