Massive thanks to Becks at http://englishmum.com for being a fab cook and a very generous guest blogger.
Birthdays are an expensive business. Even before you get started on the presents and the party and the party bags, a pretty standard birthday cake from, say, Marks and Spencer will set you back at least £30.00. So what to do? Roll those sleeves up, of course! Cupcakes make the perfect birthday cake – not only are they easy to make, but the ingredients don’t cost a bomb and they’re perfect for little ones to take home after a party. You can jazz them up with pretty paper cupcake cases and cover them in jelly beans, Maltesers, flowers or sparkles. However you make them, they’re always go down a treat:
For the cupcakes, you’ll need:
100g dark chocolate
170g butter, softened
170g caster sugar
115g self raising flour
55g cocoa powder
For the ganache:
100g white chocolate (or whatever you like)
Small pot double cream
First, then, preheat the oven to 180/gas 4 and pop your cupcake cases (if you use muffin cases you’ll make about 12 cupcakes) into a 12 hole muffin tin.
Snap the chocolate into squares and melt it in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (don’t let the bowl touch the water and turn the heat off as soon as the water starts to bubble).
Leave the melted chocolate aside to cool slightly while you beat together the butter and sugar until they’re really light and fluffy.
Now add in the eggs one at a time, beating really well after each addition.
Sieve the flour and cocoa into a bowl and fold them gently into the mixture.
Lastly, gently pour your melted chocolate into the mixture. Stir briefly to combine, then dollop about a tablespoon into each paper cupcake case.
Bake them for about 15/20 minutes until the centre springs back up when you push it with your finger. Leave them to cool on a wire rack.
Now, for the ganache: take 100g of chocolate (I used white) and melt in the same way. Whisk it while gently pouring in a little slosh of double cream (you won’t need very much). It will stiffen up initially and then loosen up again. Now you can either dollop the mixture onto your cooled cupcakes, or chill it down in the fridge and then whisk it up again to get it fluffy enough to pipe into swirls.
Decorate with anything you fancy and present, with a flourish, in a cupcake tower if you have one, or piled high on a plate in the centre of the table.
Happy birthday, baby!