Friday, 25 June 2010

This recipe is for...

...the "Northern cupcake fairy".

Oh yes indeed.

Recipe taken straight from the book, notes by me in italics

Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream icing from the Primrose Bakery.


(makes 16 regular/48 mini cupcakes) I can get 20 regular ones out of this usually
  • 115g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
  • 85g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 175g soft brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs (preferably free-range or organic), separated
  • 185g plain flour, sifted
  • ¾ of a teaspoon of baking powder
  • ¾ of a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 250ml semi-skimmed milk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 170°C (fan) / 190°C / 375°F / gas mark 5. Put your cupcake cases into the cupcake tins.

Melt the chocolate. You can either use a microwave (30 secs on medium power, stir then repeat) or melt it in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water. I use the water method because I've burnt chocolate far too many times in the microwave.

Cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl until pale and smooth. This should take about 3-5 minutes with an electric mixer. I actually do this by hand with a trusty wooden spoon as with a mixer I tend to coat the room with bits of mixture.

Beat the egg yolks in a separate bowl for several minutes. I use the electric mixer for this instead as you need clean beaters and otherwise I have to stop and wash up!
Slowly add the egg yolks to the creamed mixture and beat well. Then add the melted chocolate and beat well.

Combine the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate and salt in a separate bowl. Put the milk into a jug and add the vanilla extract.
Add a third of the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture and beat well. Then add a third of the milk and beat well. Repeat until all combined. This is the point where I call Anthony to come and wash up the bowl that had the flour in it so I can use it for the icing.

In a clean bowl whisk the egg whites until soft peaks start to form. Then carefully fold the egg whites into the batter using a metal spoon.

Fill the cupcake cases about two-thirds full. The batter may be very runny so you may need to put it into a jug to make this easier. I haven't needed to do this, but then I haven't baked for years so the batter didn't seem that runny to me.

Bake for 20-22 minutes (15 minutes for mini-size). Remove from oven and cool in the tins for 10 minutes before putting them on a wire rack or breadboard to finish cooling.

While the cakes are baking, I make the icing!


(makes enough to ice 15-20 regular or 60 mini cupcakes) Yes, you get more icing than cupcakes but it's all good. Mine goes in a plastic tub in the fridge to eat later ;-)

  • 175g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
  • 225g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon semi-skimmed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 250g icing sugar, sifted
Melt the chocolate as before. I just use the same bowl and same simmering saucepan.

Beat together the butter, milk, vanilla and icing sugar until smooth. I use a wooden spoon to start with and then use the electric mixer once all the icing sugar has mixed in. When smooth, add the melted chocolate and beat well.
If the icing looks too runny, just keep beating. Mine is usually thick enough for a spoon to stand upright in it.

Once your cupcakes are cool, ice them!


The cupcakes apparently keep well for three days without icing. I can say with certainty that even with icing they still taste fine after 5 days. Airtight containers required of course.

Chocolate-wise, I've discovered the perfect stuff at Aldi. It comes in a bar of 150g and each bar is split into 6 25g bars. So I buy two and then just use 125g for the cakes. Cuts down on the faffy measuring!

The first time I made these it took me ALL DAY. This is because I was going very slowly and carefully and also because I didn't have enough bowls. I had to keep stopping to wash things up. Now I end up using a cereal bowl for the flour mixture and the separated eggs (and to beat the yolks in), this makes things a bajillion things easier and quicker. When I made the pictured cakes I actually made a double batch and it only took a couple of hours from start to finish (including doing the icing).

I'm sorry for the lack of photographs, but since the man who was supposed to be taking them got distracted by World of Warcraft I'll have to add them in next time I make a batch!

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