Simple yet classic
I moved to Liverpool from Birmingham last year. I was shoved into halls of residence with a bunch of people I didn’t know and expected to (like everyone else) just get on with it. Make friends, go out, get drunk, complete essay after essay, cook and clean for myself, what people call “living independently” you might say. However there’s not a chance in hell I could have done it all without my dear old pal Toni.
This year for her Birthday I decided to bake her something extra special to say thank you for all the lovely things she’s done for me throughout our first two years at university together. Why don’t you try this choco-vanilla cupcake recipe to show someone just how important they are to you?
“Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday dear Toni,
Happy Birthday to you.”
Me and Toni at Crosby beach on one of our many adventures.
To make 12 large chocolate cupcakes you will need…
110g dark chocolate
80g unsalted butter
120g soft brown sugar
50 demerara sugar
2 large eggs
180 plain flour (sifted)
1 ½ tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
235ml full fat milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
And for the vanilla frosting you will need…
100g unsalted butter
50ml semi skimmed milk
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
470g icing sugar
1tbsp double cream (optional)
Before you start, preheat oven to 180C and line a muffin tray with cupcake cases, I’ve found that the deeper the tray, the better the cupcakes usually turn out.
1. Melt the dark chocolate and leave to cool for about 10 minutes.
2. In the meantime, cream the butter and sugar together till they form a pale and smooth mixture.
3. Gradually add the beaten egg yolks to this creamed mixture, followed by the melted chocolate. Beat this together for approximately 5 minutes.
4. In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt.
5. Do the same in a separate jug for the milk and vanilla essence.
6. Add a third of each separate mixtures to the chocolate batter one at a time and beat until all the ingredients have been incorporated.
7. Finally, whisk egg whites in a separate bowl till they form soft peaks and fold these into the chocolate batter using a metal spoon. Make sure you do this very gently so that the air stay’s in the mixture this will make your cupcakes temptingly light and fluffy.
The batter should be smooth and runny enough to spoon into cases. Bake for 22 minutes or until a knife inserted into a cupcake comes out completely clean.
To make the vanilla frosting
1. Beat together the butter, milk, vanilla essence and half of the icing sugar till smooth.
2. Gradually add the remaining icing sugar and continue beating till the mixture reaches a creamy texture. If the mixture does not feel as creamy as you think it should be, add the optional table spoon of double cream, this should thicken the mixture slightly, making it easier to pipe or spread onto your cupcakes.
Toni’s 20th Birthday
I adapted this recipe from one I found in my collection of baking books created by my favourite place, Primrose Bakery. As they are a retailer, they’re methods can be more complex so I’ve tried my best to scale it down as much as I can, to a point where we can still achieve a great taste, almost identical to that of the lovely little bakery.
The bakery itself sits on the peaceful corner of a back street, just seconds away from busy Covent Garden in Central London, if you’re ever in the neighbourhood and fancy a sweet treat. Head down for a pot of tea and a delicious cupcake. You won’t regret it.
I’d love to see some of your very own “bakes for every occasion” so get emailing us with your pictures and recipes and you never know your pictures might make it onto our website!
By Niamh Conway