Choc Guinness Cupcakes
Happy St Patricks Day! Yes, I know I'm a day late, but. Life. In fact, on the subject of 'Life', I've been wracking my brains for ways to make the daily routine in this house just that little bit less crazy. I need to build in JUST enough contingency so that if someone empties the contents of a potty all over their sister, or falls down the stairs, or throws a massive cereal-hurling tantrum at the breakfast table.....it doesn't de-rail the entire day. I can't get away with not feeding the kids, not filling the dishwasher, and not doing the laundry. And it's probably not a great idea at this time of year to let the children leave the house without shoes and coats (although it's a tempting thought, given that I spend approximately 5 million hours a week wrangling small people in and out of outdoor-wear). I've already axed eating breakfast, and all non-essential personal grooming for myself...... So, this morning, unable to come up with any better time-saving ideas, I got my hair cut. Right off. Like 7 inches of hair on the floor. Just think of all those precious minutes of washing and drying and brushing I'm going to save! Surely this will help?!
And then, without all that hair to slow me down, I knocked up a batch of these Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes that I failed to find time to bake yesterday. (When it was actually St Patrick's Day). Anyways, this recipe is a slight variation on Nigella Lawson's Chocolate Guinness Cake. It makes a spectacular birthday cake if you bake it as one large 10" cake (I've made a few recently for family birthdays). It's a bitter-sweet, not too rich cake, a great texture, and this delicious cool creamy topping (the idea being that it's meant to resemble a pint of guinness with the dark base and white frothy top). But I love it best in cupcake form. Please do have a go at it - whatever day it is.
You won't be disappointed! CHOCOLATE GUINNESS CAKE RECIPE A lot of recipes seem more complicated than they are because you can’t quite picture what equipment you need. This one is really simple and here’s a list of everything you'll need:
- Weighing scales (ideally electric ‘add and weigh’ type)
- 1 medium sized saucepan
- 2 cereal bowls or small mixing bowls
- 1 large mixing bowl
- 1 electric hand mixer (or a standing mixer) for the icing
- 1 whisk
- 1 spatula
- 1 knife
- 20 paper cupcake cases (ideally dark brown)
- 2 x 12-hole muffin/cupcake tins (or if you just have one tin, you’ll have the bake them in 2 batches)
- Jug (optional – to pour the batter into cases)
- 1 large sieve (optional, but the cocoa powder can get a bit lumpy)
Takes: 20 minutes to make, plus 15-20 minutes to bake. Then 10 minutes to ice. (So you’re looking at an hour by the time you’ve washed up!)
Makes: 20 cupcakes
Storage: These keep well for up to 3 days, but need to be kept in the fridge because of the cream in the icing. Un-iced they freeze beautifully and can be iced when you defrost them.
Ingredients: Into a medium-sized saucepan: 250ml Guinness 250 grams salted butter (chopped into chunks) Into a cereal bowl: 90 grams cocoa powder (sift if lumpy) 400 grams caster sugar Into a 2nd cereal bowl: 140 grams sour cream or full fat greek yoghurt (whichever you have in the fridge) 3 large eggs Into a large mixing bowl: 280 grams plain flour 2 ½ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda Ingredients for the Icing: 300 grams full fat cream cheese 150 grams icing sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 150 grams double cream
- Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C or Gas mark 6.
- I like to measure out all my ingredients before I start so I know I’ve got everything ready.
- So, to start, go through the list of ingredients and measure them into a saucepan, 2 cereal bowls and 1 large mixing bowl as stated.
- Put the saucepan on the stove and heat gently until the butter melts and the liquid just reaches simmering point.
- Take the pan off the heat and tip in the cocoa and sugar mixture. Use a whisk to combine the ingredients.
- Use the whisk to gently mix the contents of the egg/cream bowl and then add it to the saucepan, whisking to combine (by now everything should be cool enough to not scramble the eggs, but if the liquid feels really hot still then just wait 5 minutes before mixing in the eggs).
- Use a spatula to scrape all the chocolatey mixture into the mixing bowl with the flour, and whisk until you have a smooth batter.
- Carefully fill 20 cupcake cases with the batter. It’s quite runny, so if you have a jug to hand, you might find it easier to pour it from a jug than spoon it. Each case should be 2/3 full.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes until the cakes are risen and firm when you press the tops.
- While they bake, wash out the mixing bowl and use it to make the icing:
- Measure the cream cheese, icing sugar and vanilla into the bowl and use a hand mixer to beat until smooth. Add the double cream and keep beating until it thickens up to a spread-able consistency. (Note: You absolutely have to use full fat cream cheese and fresh - not long life - cream or it’ll never thicken up!)
- Take the cakes out of the oven, put them on a serving tray or plate, and let them cool for at least 20 minutes before icing them.
- Use a knife to spread a heaped teaspoonful of icing over the top of each cake, creating a creamy ‘Guinness froth’ effect on top of each cake.