It's that time of year again. It feels like the end of term, but alas, not quite. All I want to do is ice-skate, wrap presents and drink mead at the Christmas market, but no can do, I still have an oral exam and two presentations to get through. Then it's straight home for me.
After several demands for something chocolatey, and my own hankering for some December decadence, I came across a recipe for chocolate milk cupcakes in Making Cupcakes With Lola, which my flatmate gave me for my Birthday (without, she claims, any motive of personal gain in the baked goods department). I donned an apron, for I am a messy, messy baker, and got to work. This is a wonderful little book, if you're a fan of the Hummingbird cookbook then definitely have a look at this, it has some really unusual and wonderful recipes (although, truth be told, I don't think their icing comes out as nicely as the Hummingbird's). These cupcakes were perfect for a rainy afternoon and went down a treat with flatmates and friends.
100g dark chocolate, chopped
175g butter, cubed
225g caster sugar
100g self-raising flour
2 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
a pinch of salt
chocolate sprinkles, to top
120g butter, cubed and soft
500g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp milk
Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celsius/350 degrees farenheit/Gas mark 4.
Melt the chocolate and butter in a large heatproof bowl, by placing bowl over a pan of simmering hot water and gently stirring. When they are melted, remove from the heat and stir in the sugar. Allow to cool for ten minutes.
|Please excuse the state of the kitchen. I'm a student - I live in squalor.|
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated. Sift in the flour, cocoa powder and salt, and beat until well-mixed.
Divide the mixture between twelve muffin cases (these are larger than cupcake cases). Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until a skewer inserted comes out clean. For newbies, don't open the oven before then, otherwise you're cakes won't rise, and you'll end up with a stodgy biscuit-type thing. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool on a wire rack before decorating.
While your cakes are cooling, take the opportunity to lick the bowl.
|Keep your apron on for the bowl-licking. This is crucial.|
Now whip up the icing - beat the butter until it is soft and fluffy. Slowly mix in the icing sugar, vanilla extract and milk. The book recommends an electric hand mixer, but I am a student - you are more likely to find a Chinese dictionary or a printer cable in my kitchen than any useful appliances, and so I mixed by hand. If the texture is too dry, add more milk, but slowly - a little makes a big difference one mixed properly.
The recipe then calls for a piping bag with a star nozzle - come on Lola, who do you think you're dealing with, Martha Stewart? - but I decided to ice the cakes with a knife for a more rustic, home-made feel (i.e. I am a student, and if I have the money to spend on bags, you can bet they won't be piping bags). Finish with a liberal amount of chocolate sprinkles, pop on the kettle, and call your nearest and dearest over for tea, cake and gossip. The perfect remedy to a windy, rainy day.
|More enjoyment may be had with the wearing of really snug Christmas jumpers and the Home Alone soundtrack playing in the background.|
Enjoy! And if you have a baking-keen friend or relative, then this book would make a wonderful Christmas present...
P.S. As previously mentioned, I have a lot on this week, but please bear with me, I have lots and lots to share with you, just little time for blogging.