I think it’s safe to say that there’s no going back now – autumn is here to stay here in England in all it’s russet (okay grey) glory!
I first made these dense, rich cupcakes a year ago when my family and I were on a break in the New Forest. These cupcakes remind me of our time there where we spent the weekend chasing incredibly cute wild ponies, cozying up in pubs and going for long walks, then returning for a steaming cup of hot tea and one of these beauties by the open fire. We normally stay in a place called Sway, but I can wholly recommend The Pilgrim Inn in Marchwood for a truly English holiday experience complete with thatched roof, roaring log fires and pub portions so huge and delicious you will not
want be able to leave. I digress.
These dark chocolate cupcakes either complete with caramel dripped hazelnuts that stand to attention like little soldiers or morello cherries in kirsch are super easy to whip up, especially as they are topped with a simple ganache rather than a buttercream. They are based on the BBC Food Blackforest Cupcake recipe with a few changes.
The caramel covered hazelnuts are so easy and effective (but can be a bit messy!). The easiest way to clean the caramel pan is to simply fill it with water and leave it to dissolve – my kind of cleaning! I thoroughly recommend Dulce Delight’s Youtube video on caramel decorations to learn how to do these- She is not only hilarious but her videos are so easy to follow. I have so much love for this crazy cat!
Dark and decadent chocolate cake ingredients and method:
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C and line a 12 hole muffin tin with liners.
Cream together 125g butter and 175g light brown sugar in a stand mixer for around 5 minutes until fluffy, scraping down the side of the bowl occasionally. In a separate bowl, sieve together 200g plain flour, 1/2 tsp of salt, 2 tsp baking powder and 3 tbsp of quality cocoa powder. Add 2 large free-range eggs one at a time with a tablespoon of the flour mixture then fold in the rest of the flour mix.
Break 100g dark chocolate (I use 70-85% cocoa but use whatever you prefer) into a bowl and add 100ml of whole milk and 25ml of double cream. Microwave at 30 second intervals stirring each time with a fork until just melted and fold into the batter.
Chocolate, morello cherry and kirsch cupcakes:
Make as above. Tip one drained jar of cherries in kirsch on a chopping board and chop roughly. fold into the batter after the milk.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out crumb-free.
Simple Ganache ingredients and method:
melt 100g dark chocolate with 100g of double cream over a low heat in a saucepan. Leave to cool.
Simple Caramel dripped hazelnuts:
I highly recommend Dulce Delight’s video to learn how to do this!
Melt 2 cups of white granulated sugar in a saucepan over a medium heat, stirring continuously. leave to cool slightly until warm and thick then, using a cocktail stick, dip 24 whole hazelnuts into the caramel. Hold over the pan until the drip starts to slow down, then place on the edge of the table using a weight or some tape to secure the cocktail stick until solid.
Hazelnut variation assembly:
Spoon the ganache over the cooled cupcakes and arrange two caramelised hazelnuts on top. sprinkle some of Waitrose’s gloriously gilded bronze crunch around the edges. And voila, enjoy with a good strong cuppa preferably next to a log fire.
Morello Cherry variation assembly:
Spoon the ganache over the cooled cupcakes and decorate with sugar paste flowers or leave unadorned, letting the shiny ganache do all the talking.
Bye for now!