RECIPE: Glorious Chocolate Cupcakes

Who doesn't love a bit of chocolate? Let's face it. Chocolate is a girls best friend - never mind diamonds! And I have the most beautiful chocolate cake recipe that will leave the cake melting in your mouth.

This recipe is perfect for chocolate lovers - and can be tweaked to make a variety of variations. I first made this cake when I was first starting out with Victoria's Sponges. I had experimented with so many different recipes but nothing was quite chocolatey enough. I love a rich and sticky chocolate cake (perhaps slightly under-baked), and all of the recipes that I tried and tested were not chocolatey enough and partly I think it was the quality of cocoa powder.

Now, all I use is Bournville cocoa powder, it's quality and its super strength. I would never use anything else now. My trick to this cake is under-bake. Once you have taken the cake out of the oven, it will continue to cook which is why many cakes can be dry or dense. You'll know that the cake is ready to be removed from the oven when you push down on the top and it MOSTLY bounces back.

The really chocolatey chocolate cake

This recipe creates 18-20 cupcakes or a two layer 8" cake.

Ingredients

For the cake:

200g Caster sugar

175g Butter (softened - at room temperature)

2 Eggs

200g Self-raising flour

50g Bournville Cocoa Powder

150ml Creme Fraiche

1tsp Vanilla extract

For the icing:

75g Butter

200g Dark chocolate (melted)

1tbsp Golden syrup

125ml Creme Fraiche

350g Icing sugar (you may need more if the mixture is a little runny)

1tsp Vanilla extract

Method

1. Pre-heat your oven to 180º and line your tins or place your cupcake cases into cupcake tins.

2. Add the caster sugar and butter to your mixer and cream with the whisk attachment on medium-high speed until soft and fluffy - this usually takes 3 - 4 minutes.

3. Add the eggs one at a time and ensure the first egg is fully incorporated before adding the second. This will prevent curdling. If your mixture does curdle, add a tablespoon of your flour.

4. Add the flour and cocoa powder and mix on a slow-medium speed until fully incorporated.

5. Incorporate the creme fraiche and vanilla and whisk on a high speed for 2 minutes until smooth and creamy. Don't under beat as the mixture will then not be as really chocolatey as you want it.

6. Split the mixture between your two 8" tins, or fill your cupcake cases to half way and place in the oven for 15-18 minutes. At 15 minutes, keep checking your cake as different ovens and cake tins will bake at different speeds.

7. Once baked, remove from the oven and allow to cool.

8. To make the icing, melt the butter and the dark chocolate in a glass bowl over slightly simmering water. Make sure this is on a low heat as you don't want to melt the chocolate too quickly.

9. Once melted, allow the chocolate mixture to cool slightly. Add the icing sugar to your mixer and pout the chocolate in gradually to incorporate.

10. Then add the golden syrup, creme fraiche and vanilla extract and whip for 5-6 minutes. At this point, you may need to add more icing sugar depending on how you would like to decorate your cakes. Cupcakes tend to need more icing sugar so that the icing will stand on its own.

11. Serve the cupcakes with a drizzle of melted chocolate over the top and a little double cream to really excite the taste buds. And enjoy!

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