Friday, 7 November 2014

DARK CHOCOLATE BROWNIE CUPCAKES








I've never been that into cupcakes, mainly because a cupcake equals a set portion of cake.  I will eat as much cake as I want, thanks, I don't need nobody telling me how much I should have.  This attitude comes from my mum - growing up she taught me that when you're buying a slice of a pre-cut cake you go for the biggest one with the most icing, even if that means asking the person serving to take a slice from the middle and everyone in the shop/queue thinks you're really picky and annoying. 

I've always been proud of the amount of cake I can eat.  There's never a crumb left on my plate, no matter how many helpings I've had, and at birthday parties I will usually end the night in the kitchen, slicing off chunks of cake and eating them with my fingers.  My family have lots of cake-based anecdotes they like to reel off, for example the time I kept disappearing into the kitchen at regular intervals when we had family over - when they brought out my mum's lemon coconut cake they discovered it was covered in icing pockmarks from where I'd been picking at it and eating it in secret.

That said, I did like the idea of doing a sort of truffle cupcake.  One so rich and dark and chocolatey it was like a shot of cake.  So that's where this recipe comes in.  It requires a LOT of dark chocolate (I think you could also do it with milk chocolate, although I'm yet to try that myself), and the sponge is very dense and brownie-like, particularly since I used plain flour, and not much of it at that.  (This recipe would also work well if you need to use gluten free flour, or are cooking for a diabetic as it requires very little sugar).  I added some Tia Maria to emphasise the truffle/shot-ness of it, but you could omit that.  Or try a different bit of booze.  Or some orange juice.  I also want to tweak it to try making a pink champagne truffle cupcake.  So many options.  This was also my first time making a ganache icing OH HELLO.  Definitely worth sneaking off into the kitchen to eat as much of that as possible.

Makes about 20 cupcakes.  

FOR THE CAKES
250g good quality dark chocolate
250g butter
5 eggs
2 egg yolks (I KNOW, IT'S EGG CENTRAL)
100g caster sugar
30g plain flour
30g cocoa powder
Tia Maria (as much or as little as you like).  

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees centigrade or equivalent.  Melt the butter in a saucepan, then add the chocolate and take it off the heat.  Stir together until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.  Leave to cool while you whisk together the sugar and aaaaall those eggs until you have a thick frothy, creamy consistency.  Add the Tia Maria (I used about two tablespoons).  Fold this carefully into the chocolate and butter mixture.  Sift the cocoa powder and flour into the mixture and fold it all together.  Put cupcake cases into a cupcake tray and spoon the cake mix into them.  You can fill all the way up to the top of the cases as they won't rise too much.  Pop them in the oven and check them after about 20 minutes, do the knife/wooden skewer check.  Mine only took that long, but my oven seems to bake quite quickly. Leave them to cool. 

FOR THE GANACHE ICING
350g Dark chocolate 
250ml Whipping cream
65g Golden syrup
75g Butter
Tia Maria

Cut the chocolate into chunks and put it in a heatproof bowl.  Then heat up the cream and the syrup until it's boiling.  As quickly as possible pour it over the chocolate.  Using a ballon whisk in the middle of the bowl mix gently in a very small circle.  You want to gradually bring the chocolate and cream together, so try to stay in the centre, and try not to create any air bubbles.  It takes a bit of time but it's worth it when suddenly you have a smooth dark chocolate ganache.  When that happens you can be less careful and mix in the butter and Tia Maria to taste.  I used about a tablespoon.  

Before icing the cakes I put the ganache in the fridge as it was taking ages to become more solid and I was a bit worried.  This worked great for me, but if you're not a control freak you could just leave it for a couple of ours and it will stiffen up.  I tried to pipe it onto the cakes but I'm terrible at piping so in the end I just smoothed it on with a palate knife and stuck on some silver balls.  Boozy dark cupcake shots. 

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