Some people say cupcakes are lame. I don’t care! Because it’s the easier cake to make, and it’s easier to transport them to give away to friends!
And so, this week, I made a batch of cupcakes to give away to two of my Filipino friends here in Beijing. It’s supposed to be a surprise, so I hope they’re not reading this blog post. I was supposed to give it to them yesterday, but it suddenly rained when we were supposed to meet for dinner. MEH.
It’s actually still raining today. What a weird Beijing weather, it’s like being back in the Philippines. Humidity and rain!!
For the cake:
- 125g salted butter
- 40g (15 oz) cocoa powder
- 200g (7 oz) caster sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
- 70ml (2.5 fl oz) buttermilk
- 140g (5 oz) plain flour
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- ½ tsp baking powder
For the chocolate icing (thanks to Nigella):
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- Big pinch salt
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cup2 icing/confectioner’s sugar – plus more sugar and/or cocoa to taste!
For the cake:
1. Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F)/gas mark 3, then line the base and sides of the tin with baking parchment.
2. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Remove the pan from the heat and stir the cocoa powder and sugar into the warm liquid.
3. In another bowl, mix together the eggs, vanilla essence and buttermilk by hand, and then add this to the mixture in the pan.
4. Sift together the remaining sponge ingredients into a large bowl or into the bowl of a freestanding electric mixer. Using the mixer with the paddle attachment or a hand-held electric whisk, set on a low speed, pour in the contents of the pan. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue to mix thoroughly until all the ingredients are incorporated. Don’t worry, we mixed the ingredients by hand, just make sure everything is thoroughly mixed.
4. Pour the batter up to about 1/2 of the cupcake mold (lined with cupcake paper) and bake for approximately 45-65 minutes or until the sponge bounces back when lightly pressed and a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Set aside to cool, and then remove from the tin on to a wire rack, making sure the cake is cold to the touch before you frost it.
While waiting for the cake to cool, prepare the icing:
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan.
- Remove pan from heat.
- Sift the cocoa and salt into the butter.
- Mix until smooth.
- Add the milk in two parts, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla.
- Beat the mixture until it is smooth and the lumps are eliminated.
- Sift in the icing sugar and stir.
- Start testing …if too sweet, add some more cocoa…if not sweet enough, add more sugar.
1. To bake, put the cupcake mold in the lowest rack of your oven so it doesn’t dry up the top of the cupcakes.
Silicone cupcake mold bought from a shop in Andingmen.