Now I do realise that this time of year is mostly for children - and believe me, my kitchen is full of bunny ears, baskets and painted eggs - but there comes a point when you just have to wrestle some of the goodies back for yourself. Most festivals are celebrated with either cake or chocolate, so I went all out with one of the chocolatey-est chocolate cakes I could put together. And seeing as they're cupcakes, there's an in-built serving size (assuming you stop at one!) so my conscience is
- Line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake cases.
- This is a 2 egg mixture from the cake mix matrix which can be found here. You need to make the chocolate version (swap 30g/1oz of dark cocoa for 30g/1oz flour), add 4 tblspns milk to the mixture, then stir in 50g/2oz dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips.
- Spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases and bake at 160 C / 320 F for 15-20 minutes depending on your oven. In any event, they should pass the clean skewer test.
- Allow to cool completely in the muffin tin.
250g / 10oz dark or semi-sweet chocolate. You must use bar or slab chocolate not chips.
250ml / 1 cup double or heavy cream
25g / 1oz butter
1 tsp instant espresso powder (or 2 tsps instant regular coffee powder)
- Break the chocolate up into squares or medium sized chunks and set aside in a heat proof bowl. Heat the cream and butter together until simmering, whisk in the instant coffee powder, then pour over the chocolate pieces. Allow to stand for 5 minutes then stir with a spatula until the mixture is smooth and velvety. Allow to cool for 15-20 mins so that it thickens slightly.
- Turn each cupcake upside down and dunk it in the ganache making sure the top of the cake is well coated. Place (the right way up) on a cooling rack or serving plate. Allow to set for about 30 mins. Leave the rest of the ganache to cool while the cakes are setting.
- Now, if you use a free standing mixer transfer the ganache to the mixing bowl and (using the whisk attachment) whisk for a couple of minutes until the ganache is lighter in colour and fluffier in texture. A hand held mixer will do equally well, just make sure you whisk all the ganache and scrape down the sides of the bowl intermittently.
- Place the whisked ganache in a piping bag and pipe a nest on the top of each cupcake. I like to use a coupler and 2 different tips (a small open star and a plain one to create the twiggy effect) but a couple of swirls with an open star piping tip would do equally well.
- Finally, place a sugared almond chick in the middle of each nest, (there are details on making the chicks here).
- Wait until the kids are in bed. Make a cup of tea. Have a little piece of decadence all to yourself.