Experimenting with new recipes – Chocolate Cupcakes

Firstly I want to say that this isn’t my own recipe, I saw Andrew Smyth’s (British Bake Off 2016) recent blog post in which he used this recipe for a #LittleThings campaign and I thought they looked so good I had to try them. When making cupcakes of any sort I usually stick to my own recipes which my mum and gran have always used, but I thought it was time to try something new. I don’t really experiment much with baking (I know I should) as I like to stick my trusted recipes I know will always turn out well, like a lemon cheesecake, pear and cinnamon loaf or just a simple bun batch. However in the last couple weeks I’ve tried 2 of Andrew’s recipes, and I have loved both!

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I made Andrew’s Blackberry Bakewell tart’s when I saw his tweet, and just had to try them, as a summer treat they were perfect, and so simple to make.

After trying this recipe, and it worked so well, I couldn’t resist when I saw his chocolate cupcakes! We’ve got a band social BBQ coming up this weekend and so I couldn’t think of a better opportunity to try and make them! I loved the cupcake recipe purely because it uses things everyone will usually have in the cupboards, bar a few things you may need to buy, like cream and chocolate (it needs a lot of chocolate!).

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Ingredients: 

The cake: 

  • 350g caster sugar
  • 120ml sunflower oil 
  • 2 eggs 
  • 2tsp vanilla essence/extract 
  • 200g plain flour
  • 70g cocoa powder 
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda 
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 300ml water 

The ganache/icing 

  • 200g unsalted butter
  • 300g dark chocolate (broken)
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup (extra if want sweeter)
  • 275ml double cream

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Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c and line the baking trays with cupcakes cases.
  2. Whisk together the sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla extract until smooth. 
  3. In another bowl sieve the flour, cocoa powder, bicarb of soda, baking powder and salt, and stir until well mixed and even. 
  4. Add a 1/3 of the flour mix into the first bowl mixture with half of the water and beat until well mixed. Add the remaining water and flour in small portions until it’s well combined (it’ll be quite runny). 
  5. Put the mixture into a pouring jar, which will make it easier to put the mixture into the cases. This will reduce mess (hopefully) – although I still managed to make such a mess in the kitchen I think i’ll be removing chocolate from the kitchen for the next week, sorry Paul! 
  6. Fill the cases to 2/3 full, and bake for 20-25 mins, or until a skewer pulls out clean from the cupcake, I found it to be closer to 25 minutes, but it all depends on your type of oven. 
  7. Leave the cakes to cool completely before icing or the ganache will melt on top of the cakes. 
  8. To make the ganache, in a bain-marie (a heatproof bowl on top of simmering water) melt the butter, chocolate and golden syrup until smooth and completely melted. 
  9. Remove the bowl from the water and mix in the double cream until the mixture is one colour, and leave in the fridge for 40 minutes, mixing half way through. 
  10. After 40 minutes, whisk the mixture until it’s stiff, and lightened in colour slightly, transfer to a piping bag to decorate your cakes in the nozzle design you choose (I chose a simple starred nozzle).

This recipe was so easy to follow, and anyone can do this. Although I’ve baked since I can remember I haven’t been very creative or brave in the sense of going out of my comfort zone, so this is a great way to try new things.

I’ve made these for the band BBQ tomorrow, and hopefully they’ll go down well. I’m not entirely sure how many of us are going so I’ve made 32 just to be safe! 🙂 This meant doubling the mixture. The recipe says it makes 24, however I only seemed to make around 18, I suppose it depends on the amount you fill the cupcake cases.

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My mum always gets annoyed with me when I’m baking, as I seem to always bake cakes pretty perfectly when hers don’t, often after curdling in the bowl, even when mine curdle. I’m not sure about perfect, but my cakes do always come out well, maybe I have magic baking fingers?

Baking is definitely one of my favourite hobbies, as it’s so relaxing, putting on your favourite music, and just being in your old world working to make something yummy! It’s definitely a hygge hobby as well, meaning it makes you feel cosy and happy. I’ll talk about hygge in a future post as it’s something I’ve recently loved learning about. But whenever I’m feeling stressed or a bit down, baking definitely cheers me up!

I hope you enjoy baking these cupcakes (or just reading my blog posts), I’ll definitely be doing so again… if the band like them tomorrow that is! I’m trying to get in as much baking and hobbies I can before I go back to uni as I know I just won’t have the time this year. So thanks to Andrew for the new recipes I’ve been trying, I’m loving being more experimental, and can’t wait to see what else I can make.

Love Jaz

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