These are the kind of cupcakes I love. Butter icing is okay but it makes my teeth sort of itch and I always feel a bit like I’m in a Cath Kidston ad campaign when I eat a cupcake with pastel covered icing. These little beauties look dangerous rather than twee. I like the silver balls adorning the one on the right – it almost looks laden with ammunition.
My toddler son loves the silver balls and insists on picking off every last one until he’s covered in truffley chocolate. He doesn’t want the cake or the icing, just the ammo. That does mean however, that he’s the only one in our close family who knows what the silver balls taste like. At present his vocab is limited to nanna, mummy, daddy, ball, baby, digger and bear so we don’t know yet if they taste as good as they look though the toothy smile after the removal of the balls ceremony could be a good indication. I’m not going to question his judgement. The boy likes garlic dough balls, olives and Stilton so he’s quite trusted in the tasting arena.
These are really easy to make, I can knock a batch up in about 5 minutes now, then let the cooker do the work. That’s not me being a show off, they really are idiot proof. Best of all there’s no tin lining to do which although it takes little time is such an annoying task. This recipe makes about 12 if you use the larger muffin tins, not the smaller fairy cake ones my Mum used to use for Yorkshire puddings.
- 125g margarine (I know everyone else says use butter but I honestly can’t tell the difference when I use Stork, in fact, dare I say that I think they’re lighter?)
- 125g caster sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 125g plain flour (sieved, such a pain and I never used to do it, but it does make a difference if you can be bothered – oh, and I just buy the basics version rather than anything stone ground or branded in the flour arena)
- Half a teaspoon bicarb of soda
- 2 teaspoons of baking powder
- Milk (any)
- Chocolate (milk or dark or a mixture)
- Double cream
- Silver balls, choc stars, anything else for decorating
Put the oven onto gas 6. Make sure that the shelves in the oven are placed at the top and in the middle with enough room for your cupcakes to rise into peaks. You need 2 x tins that hold 6 muffins each. Pop cupcake/muffin paper cases into each of the holes ready for filling with the cake mixture.
If you are using a mixer (I bought a Kenwood mixer as a present for myself for Christmas and am slightly in love with it still, if a little bigger from all the cakes) then throw all ingredients except the milk into the bowl and start to mix on a low speed. Once the flour is all combined then whack it up to a high speed to get as much air into it as possible, don’t do it before then otherwise the dry ingredients fly everywhere. Stop after a few mins to scrape the sides, then pop back up to a high setting again before stopping and adding a slug of milk – about 2 tablespoons but you can always add more so err on the side of caution. Put the mixer on again on a low setting until the milk is combined. When you stop the machine the cake mixture should easily come off the beater and be lighter in colour than when you started. Cake books call it a ‘dropping consistency’ which seems sensible as it should be dropping.
Right, if you don’t have a free standing mixer then you need to use either a hand held electric one of work up a sweat and grab a wooden spoon. Principles the same as above though the cakes might not be quite as light if hand mixing though your arms will be more defined than us lazy free standing mixer users.
Spoon the cake mixture into the muffin cases until it reaches about 1cm from the top. You don’t need to level it, in fact peaks are quite nice. Pop one tin on the top shelf of the oven, in the middle so that it doesn’t touch the sides or the back, and the other one on the middle shelf in the middle again. Leave for 20 mins and try not to look unless your cooker has a habit of burning things.
Check by touching the cakes on the top – they should feel springy. Take out the top ones and leave the ones on the middle shelf in for a little longer if needed. If you have a wire rack then take the cupcakes out of the tins and place on it. If not then just leave them on a cool plate.
Now make the icing whilst the cakes cool completely. Take an equal quantity of chocolate to cream. I use 150 mls of double cream to 150 grams of mixed dark and milk choc for mine. You can add in some spirits if you like – like Cointreau for a choc orange taste or some Malibu for coconut. Baileys is good too, whatever takes your fancy. Just a small dash though – about a tablespoon. Otherwise the consistency is too runny.
Put both choc and double cream into a saucepan and heat gently, stirring very gently until the choc is dissolved. Put the pan in the fridge and wait until it solidifies into a truffle like consistency. Then you can either eat it straight out of the pan or use to decorate your cooled cakes. We tend to decorate the cakes first and leave extra in the pan to eat before the washing up. If you find your icing has split and there’s an oily film on the top it just means it’s been heated too long. Don’t worry, just carry on and pop it in the fridge. It will be fine once it solidifies. You just need to mix it up before you ice the cake.
I use about a teaspoon on each cake and spread using the back of the spoon. You could pipe the icing but I can never be bothered. Then add the silver balls and stars whilst still wet. Chopped nuts might be nice too or cherries if you like them. Though I’ve noticed cherries seem to polarise people somewhat. These keep okay for 3 – 4 days but they never last that long in our house. They’re great if you ever get asked to do any charity baking as they’re quick, easy, quite cheap and won’t get left unsold which let’s be honest is the anxiety of all public baking.
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Holly, On the GBBO where did you get those lovley little triagular shaped mini tart moulds for your delicous bakewell tarts. Also was wodering do bbc food and the book publishers tweak tweak your recipes a bit as i was reading the GBBO book and your macaroon recipe envolved the french method but you used italian on the show and your website. And on the bbc website the syrup reaches 115 degrees but on blog and show you said 118.
Those little triangle tart cases were from a catering supplier, the production team sourced them I’m afraid. And well spotted on the book front! The author of the GBBO book did tweak some recipes to make them easier to follow. Hence her use of French meringue rather than Italian. I am very impressed with your attention to detail! Miles better than mine. xx
Holly, thank you so much for making me smile:) This is despite a) I woke up with a headache b) it is raining, lots c) getting two children up and out the door for school is most definitely more challenging on the second day after a holiday than the first day d) I have a mountain of dreaded paperwork. I am smiling because after stumbling upon your blog last week, I have spent pockets of self indulgent time reading your posts and planning what I will bake for my brood. I am a mum who cooks but rarely bakes and this year decided to change this ( I do bake, but only one thing really so that doesn’t a baker maketh in my books). I have explored lots of recipes/websites but none as readable as yours – thanks for all the little tips/explanations/additional info you give along the way – really useful for a novice like me!
Karen, thank you too for making me smile. Your comment on my blog has made my day. I’m chuffed to bits you like it and hope you enjoy baking some of the bits and bobs on here. Oh and I feel your pain on the paperwork front. xxx
going to make these now as any i have made cup cakes before and they have turned out disastrous! thank you
These cupcakes have inspired me. must must get baking!!
I’m made the icing and it was delicious!!!
Great stuff! Pleased to hear it. xx
You know what I love about your recipes, Holly? The way you write just like you’re talking to a friend, it’s great. I love the added bit about eating the truffle mixture from the pan before icing. brill keep them coming I am hooked!
Thanks so much, that’s a really nice comment and has made me smile. Lots. x
Hi Holly, Can’t wait to try these out, am also hoping for a mixer from Father Christmas, can you recommend yours? The choice is a bit boggling! Thanks x
I’m a kenwood girl – I bought the bog standard one from amazon for about 170 and find it very good! Xx Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange
Just my sort of recipe – dead easy to make, even if I had to put vanilla in since some muppet forgot to buy any chocolate… Ta muchly for putting it on here H!
Hi Holly I always use a non butter for my cakes – partly because my little girl couldn’t have butter and now because it really does make better cakes – glad you think so to – great recipes
I always use Stork too, and the basics flour, so glad that you do too.
That icing sounds really yummy, I shall definitely have a try.
Hmm.. Great, an icing without Butter! I so much prefer these! Makes me feel less guilty!
Hurrah for truffle icing! x
Ooh I never heard of truffle icing before – sounds lovely! I will definitely try these for a change. Really love your blog & great recipes!
Thanks Clare! Hope you like the icing – basically ganache. x
I am now craving chocolate muffins with a mailbu chocolate truffle topping! this is a dangerous blog to visit :)
Malibu is a very underrated drink and flavouring in my humble opinion. I still feel a little embarrassed at my habit of ordering it with a coke and ice. Love it. x
I so agree about Stork. Its unfashionable but what all our grannies used and what they made was damn good!
My grandma and mum used it. I actually popped out to buy some tonight especially. Fine stuff. x
I agree about marg!!!
They look yummy, I have made similar but not with milk in the mixture so will be giving these a go! Thanks for the recipes!
Pleased to be of service! x
Totally agree with you on buttercream – too much for me – this sounds divine and I will be baking – you’re inspiring me! If you can do it with your two, I can do it with my seven and four year old boys! Need to get a mixer though – my electric whisk just blew up – smoked when attempting to whisk egg whites!
I have made a handheld mixer smoke too! Oh dear! Hope you enjoy the cakes. Xxx Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange
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