• 140g self raising flour
  • 35g ground almonds
  • 175g castor sugar
  • 175g baking margarine/butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • Approx 60g caramel
  • 100g milk chocolate
  • 100g dark chocolate
  • Decorations

What does love feel like? When I was 15 and fell in love for the first time with a thud and a clang it made me feel sky high. A heady combination akin to gas and air, red wine and altitude sickness. Food repelled me, so satiating was this new sensation. Concentration was not mine. I had face ache from smiling too much. I was of course the first person to discover this feeling and NOBODY understood.

And of course when he ditched me for an older girl who was altogether more exciting, with raven hair, a flat of her own and a beaten up denim jacket with untold stains that told hair raising stories, well I thought the very core of me was dropping through to my feet, never to be returned again. It hurt. So much. Physically. Ouch.

Thank goodness that pain was never to be repeated. The only good thing to have come from this experience? I am truly empathetic to heartbreak. Come those teenage years I will never, ever, ever tell my sons to ‘get a grip’ in the face of gut wrenching love sickness.

I offer you Love cupcakes. The crunch of the simple, pure chocolate, the softness of the sponge and the surprise caramel centre make these perfect for surprising the one you love. Just make sure they’re worthy of your affections. And beware of raven haired temptresses beginning with the letter S.

One year ago: Obviously good flapjack and Joyful banana, butterscotch and fig traybake

Two years ago: Light and sweet carrot cake and Rhubarb and ginger chutney

Chocolate topped vanilla cupcakes with secret caramel centres

Makes 12

Ingredients:

  • 140g self raising flour
  • 35g ground almonds
  • 175g castor sugar
  • 175g baking margarine/butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • Approx 60g caramel
  • 100g milk chocolate
  • 100g dark chocolate
  • Decorations

Preheat the oven to 170C/Gas 3 and check there’s a rack in the middle of the oven. Then beat the flour, almonds, sugar, marg/butter, eggs and vanilla together until light and creamy. Takes about 4 minutes in a stand mixer. More by hand with a wooden spoon. Divide between 12 cupcakes cases lining your tin and then bake in the centre of the oven until just starting to brown and when a toothpick comes out of the middle cupcake clean. Remove from the tin and cool on a wire rack.

When cool take an apple corer and remove the centres of the cakes, being careful not to go all the way down to the bottom. If you accidentally do remove the whole plug of cake then cut a bit off and poke it back into the cake hole. No one will know.

love cupcakes apple corer

Carefully pour a teaspoon of tinned caramel (or make your own if you fancy it – loads of recipes to be found on the internet) into each hole and then use a toothpick or skewer to poke the caramel down.

love cupcakes caramel skewer

It’s so gloopy it may well get stuck on the top so help it along with a poke and a jiggle. And as for leftover caramel… use it to fill a victoria sponge. To make ice-cream sundaes. To make banoffee mini pavs. Or just eat. Or slather it on your hair as a conditioner. I don’t actually know if this last idea works but it might do.

love cupcakes caramel filled

Then melt your chocolate in the microwave or over boiling water, you know what kind of melter you are. Carefully spoon a teaspoon onto each cake, then a little more if the Love Cake can take it. Pop whatever decoration you have on the top and leave to set. Eat with love, with people you love.

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