Sunday, 28 March 2010

Jessica's Birthday Cupcakes, a lesson in baking!

Last week it was my very good friend Jessica's birthday and I wanted to make her something really special to celebrate. All my friends know I love to bake so I decided what better way to wish her a Happy Birthday than to bake her some cupcakes... cupcakes from a recipe I made up myself, for once! I'm not a big one for creating my own recipes from scratch, I'm more of a find it and tweak it to my liking kinda gal but, in flicking through my vast array of baking recipes I discovered I don't have single one for just good ole fashioned choc-chip cupcakes. I'm not sure how this happened, I'm sure it can't be because there is a lack of chocolate-chip cupcake recipes out there... I mean chocolate chips and cakes go together like... well like two really go-y together-y things (mmmhmm go-y together-y, I said it). I'm pretty sure I must just have passed every single choclate chip cupcake recipe out there thinking "oh, chocolate chip cupcakes. How simple can you get? I won't bother writing those down." How wrong could one girl be? Very rarely do I fail in a baking endeavour (not counting the disasterous sinking banana bread incident which I fullly blamed my mother and some seriously out of date baking powder for) mainly because I stick fairly rigidly to a recipe. So perhaps with the pressure of my friend's birthday looming and the desire to make some seriously tasty cupcakes it wasn't the best time to start making things up. But I summoned up memories of my uni days when baking was a rather slap-dash what have I got lurkng in the cupboard that's no more than a month out of date affair and carried on regardless.

More fool me. They say pride comes before a fall and my first batch of cupcakes did exactly that. They fell hard. I mean we are talking on a scale of sinking larger than the Titanic here. There were many reasons for this sinking feeling. I surmised afterwards that my measurements were all out. I had added a little milk to thin the mixture down a little, it's my tried and tested trick for making cupcakes light and fluffy: replace one egg for a little milk. I forgot the bit about replacing the egg though. Consequentially my cupcakes were too light, the chcocolate chips didn't hold up, sunk to the bottom and burned. The cakes themselves tasted eggy and my addition of a little baking soda alongside the baking powder mixed with that extra egg meant they were anything but enjoyable. I also didn't cook them for long enough, (my oven is partly to blame for this, it's old and it's decided it doesn't want to heat evenly throughout anymore) so the cakes in the middle of the tray were raw in the middle. In short anything that could go wrong with these cupcakes did go wrong. However, I was down but not out. And with steely determination I soldiered on, adjusted my recipe (basically a little less of everything) and evetually managed to bake these chocolate-chip cupcakes with chocolate butter cream icing.

Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Chocolate Butter Cream Icing - makes 9 - 12 cupcakes

Ingredients - for the cake batter

4oz. Flour
4oz. sugar
4oz. butter, at room temperature
1 egg
2 tsp baking powder
150g chocolate chips
a little milk

- for the butter cream icing
6oz. butter
10 oz. icing sugar
1-2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
a few drops of water

Method -
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C and line and prepare a cupcake tray.
  2. In a large bowl cream the sugar and butter together until well combined and light and fluffy in texture. Beat in the egg and set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl sift together the flour and baking powder then gradually add to the butter mixture being careful not to overwork the batter then add in the chocolate chips. If, after the flour and chocolate are all combined, the mixture is too dry add a little milk until the cake batter is still firm but looks glossy and drops easily off a wooden spoon.
  4. Spoon a tablespoon of the mixture into each cup and bake for 15-20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean, with just a fe crumbs when the cakes are tested.
  5. Allow cupcakes to cool for 5 minutes in the time before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. While the cupcakes are cooling make the butter cream icing. Cream the butter in a small bowl until soft and fluffy. Add the sieved icing sugar  by degrees and beat until smooth and creamy then add in 1-2 tbsp cocoa powder, depending on how chocolatey you want your icing. Add a few drops of water if your icing is too dry to spread (mine was!)
  7. Spread the icing over the cooled cupcakes with a palette knife and top with decorations of your choosing.

And there you have it, successfully made and, if I do say so myself, rather pretty and very chocolatey cupcakes theat were recieved with much delight by my friend. If only she knew the heart ache and tears that went into these (not literaly tears, that wouild make them taste salty). I am assured by her that they were very tasty and loved by her and her whole family, so that, in itself makes them a success in my book!

No comments:

Post a Comment