I have been trying to find an excuse to bake cupcakes for the last few days because I had bought a piping bag and wanted to practice my icing skills. This morning, I found my excuse – it’s Friday the end of the week – need I say any more… So, whilst I was drinking my morning coffee I started to bake!
I didn’t have any cupcake cases, so I decided to make them using squares of baking paper and folding them so they would fit into my tray. I was really pleased with how it worked out, and made my cupcakes look quite rustic and definitely home-made which is sometimes half the charm with them.
I have a good friend who is incredibly clever with icing, last time I saw her she gave me a couple of tips regarding icing. The tip I used when I made my cakes today, is, brushing sugar syrup over your cupcakes before you ice them as this helps them stay fresh. I am hoping to share some of her other tips in a later blog, once I have practised my icing skills with fondant icing (roll out regal icing).
To make this recipe you don’t strictly need a piping bag to ice, you could very easily spoon the icing on and smooth it out with the back of a spoon. However, like I said before I wanted to try out my new piping bag. I am not blessed with a particularly steady hand, but, I figure with a bit of practice I can only get better… But, for a first attempt I am pretty happy!
Chocolate Cupcakes (makes 8)
- 100g soft margarine
- 100g caster sugar
- 100g self-raising flour
- 25g cocoa powder
- 2 eggs
- 1tbsp milk
- ½ tsp vanilla essence
- 8 small pieces of chocolate
- sugar syrup (2tbsp sugar dissolved in 2tbsp boiling water)
- 50g butter
- 50g plain chocolate
- 200g icing sugar
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 heaped tbsp crème fraiche
- 2-3 drops vanilla essence
1. Preheat your oven to 170C fan.
2. Place your cases in a cupcake tray (if you don’t have any cases to hand follow the steps at the bottom of the recipe).
3. Place all the ingredients for the cake except the chocolate pieces into a bowl and beat together well with an electric whisk.
4. Divide the batter equally between the cases. Push a piece of the chocolate into the centre of each of the cupcakes.
5. Place into the oven and bake for 14-17 minutes (or until a skewer comes out clean)
6. Remove from the oven and set to one side until they are completely cool.
7. Once cool, brush over some sugar syrup.
8. To make your icing, place the chocolate and butter in a heat proof bowl and melt (I did this in my oven as it was cooling down – however best practice is to place the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water).
9. Once melted, allow to cool slightly. Then, add the icing sugar, cocoa, vanilla essence and stir well.
10. Finally add the crème fraiche , beat the mixture well (you should have a smooth icing – if it is too firm add a little more crème fraiche, if it is too wet add a little more icing sugar).
11. Place the icing into a piping bag and pipe onto the cupcakes (I found starting at the centre of the cupcake and working the icing in a spiral outwards worked best for me.)
Making cupcake cases:
1. Cut out 8 rough squares of baking paper.
2. Fold the squares in half and half again so that you have a small square.
3. Then fold into a triangle, fold that triangle in half. Then open out.
4. Place the paper into your cupcake tray, and press down the centre. The creases should naturally fold so the paper roughly fits. Don’t worry about them lifting out slightly, as the weight of the batter once inside will push them back down.