Monday, 29 November 2010

Tactics for staying warm.

I know that some of you are pretty much snowed in. In fact the pictures and news from my parents have been rather impressive, and so I really shouldn't complain about the weather, but it does rather take the biscuit that we have temperatures of -7C here and no boiler. I've taken to forcing the cats to sleep on me in order to steal their warms. It keeps backfiring though as they are rather adept at stealing mine!

And so I decided that perhaps moving would be a better bet, some preserving, and a spot of decorating, Number 98 style with fan heater and fairy lights! But more about that later because
this morning I realised that I've been rather slack on the blog, I promised cupcakes on Wednesday and all of sudden it's Monday and no cupcakes have emerged. Oops! Sorry about that.

As it happens, last Monday was a most wonderful time. Lady J and I had a hilarious day of butter, batter and banter. I was initially rather worried about teaching someone how to make cupcakes, but as it happens this year I am honoured to be one of the judges for this, and so with the complimentary cupcake kit that happened to arrive that morning we set off attempting to melt butter, chocolate and listen to heavy metal.
Alas, the freezing cold kitchen was not particularly condusive to ganache, but we still managed some very decedent and delicious cupcakes, mixed and decorated entirely by newly qualified cupcake goddess Lady J. I have promised that once the kitchen warms up a bit we'll practice piping, but until then I think we'll cope.
We tested a couple of recipes and I think the following won out for richness, depth and perfect sugar rush!

So here I can finally share it with you, while I shift hundreds of books upstairs...who's idea was it to decorate after all the books were unpacked and on the shelves, and in the same week the plumber is coming to replace the boiler?!

Not for the feint hearted chocolate cupcakes - Makes 6-8 large cupcakes

1 cup plain flour
1 cup caster sugar
1/2 cocao poweder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cinnamon
4oz softened butter
1/2 buttermilk (Or milk soured with 1 tbsp lemon juice)
1 large egg
1/2 cup of fresh coffee (cooled)

Preheat your oven to 180C and line a cupcake pan with cake cases.

Using an electic mixer (if possible, hand power if not) combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and cinnamon. Blend for 30 seconds and then add the butter and buttermilk and blend to moisten. The up the speed and beat until fluffy.

Whisk the egg and coffee together, and add to the batter in three aditions. Don't forget to scrape down the side of the bowl to catch any unmixed flour.

Pour the batter into the prepared cases, filling aprox. 3/4 full. Bake for 15-20 mins. A toothpick should come out moist but with no uncooked batter attached.

Decorate with your preferred icing, we used a ganache and a buttercream, but I happen to know that cream cheese is superb (if ridiculously indulgent!)


  1. You poor thing! I can't believe you're coping with no heat. We have heat and it's still so freakin' cold! But I might just follow your example and warm myself by making chocolate cupcakes. Or maybe brownies?? Argh, the cold is affecting my decision making! xx

  2. Lady J...

    ...I like it!
    Those were some awe-inspiring (not to mention teeth-destroying) cupcakes.

  3. That has to be the best job, judging cupcakes.