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The gift of giving.

the gift of giving cupcakes 1

Every now and again I bake for the people I live with. Cakes, muffins, cookies and pies. I not only enjoy it but also like knowing that I've brought a smile to someone's face. This book on cupcakes is my absolute favourite, every recipe is super easy to make and you can personalise them for any occasion.

the gift of giving cupcakes

Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes

The ingredients below are for 14 cupcakes, please amend for your own quantities.

  • 115g/4oz self raising flour

  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

  • 1 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder

  • 115g/4oz butter, softened, or soft margarine

  • 115g/4oz caster sugar

  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten

  • 55g/2oz plain chocolate, melted

The ingredients below will make enough icing to cover 14 cupcakes, again please amend.

  • 150g/5 1/2oz plain chocolate, finely chopped

  • 200ml/7fl oz double cream

  • 140g/5oz unsalted butter, softened

  • 280g/10oz icing sugar

  • You will need to ensure you have all your toppings, fillings and decorations to the side at this point.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Place your paper cases into a bun tray.

Sift the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder into a large bowl. Add the butter, caster sugar and eggs and, using an electric mixer, beat together until smooth. Fold in the melted chocolate. (I mixed this by hand and it worked just as well, just expect a workout!)

Spoon the mixture into the paper cases. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until risen and firm to the touch. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool. (I used a cocktail stick to piece my cupcakes, if the stick has mixture on it then it needs more time, if it's clean then they're ready!)

To make the frosting, put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream in a saucepan until boiling, then pour over the chocolate and stir until smooth. Leave to cool for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened. Put the butter in a bowl, sift the icing sugar and beat until smooth. Beat in the chocolate mixture. Chill for 15-20 minutes.

Spoon the frosting into a piping bag, fitted with a large star nozzle. Pipe swirls of frosting on top of each cupcake. Decorate appropriately.

To make the chocolate shapes, line a try with baking paper. Spoon melted chocolate into a paper piping bag and snip off the very end tip of the bag. Pipe shapes such as flowers, swirls, stars or letters onto the paper. Don't make them too intricate or they will be too fragile. Leave in a cool place until they have set, then carefully peel the paper away from the chocolate. Using a small palette knife you could also lift the chocolate off the sheet itself. Remember not to use your hands, the warmth with melt the chocolate!

Quick tip: Try cutting the top off the cupcake and filling the inside with Nutella to really pump up the sweetness? Or even swapping the chocolate toppings? Imagine a chocolate sponge with vanilla icing and drizzled in caramel, you could even make little Starbucks bun cases and pass them off as edible fraps! Cute!

So there you have it! FYI they taste a-ma-zing but if you have a creative mind then definitely try using different fillers and toppings. I'm feeling honey comb for my next batch.

The Cupcake - Life's better with a cupcake by Love Food. RRP £12.00, available on amazon for £4.00.

Do you like to bake? How do you like to spread a little happiness?

Gem. X

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