Chocolate Cup Cakes
Easy peasy: these are the standard fare of cake sales, cooking lessons, family baking for lunch boxes and for my Seniors Lunch Club group delivery. They’re bouncy, fluffy and portion sized. You can flavour them as you like – vanilla, chocolate, coffee. Watch out if you want citrus flavours – adding lemon juice to the mixture tends to inhibit the rise, so add citrus by using grated rind in the mixture and making the icing with the strongly flavoured juice. You can make them slightly richer by adding buttercream icing, or plainer by using water icing. Decorate with chocolate curls or sprinkles as you desire, let your creativity and imagination run free!
In the Seniors Lunch Group, our discussion this week was “What Have I got to be Grateful For?” which was a theme originally chosen by a member who is sadly no longer with us – but who was an example of interest, flair and enjoyment in life right up to her last days in her late 90s. An inspiration. We discussed our gratitude for family, friends and helpers. One member told us a story about adopting her daughter – she was so grateful to the child’s biological mother for being willing to give her up to a better home. We loved remembering dance competitions, valuing your own talent for drawing, being in a choir. The basic blessings which are so often taken for granted – the telephone, modern communications, classical music on the radio, central heating, driving a car. The world of work and study: being trained in a skill, being part of a team, doing a good job and gaining self-respect. Skills and sport – playing tennis and golf, being a soccer referee and working with blind children to help them play using a ball with a bell in it! What a set of varied and valued experiences we had to look back on with thankfulness and joy. Uplifting as ever.
Makes 18 cup cakes. Timings – 10 minutes preparation, 20 minutes baking, time to cool down and 20 minutes to ice and decorate.
For the icing: 100g butter, quite soft, 200g icing sugar, sieved, 30g cocoa powder, 2 teaspoons coffee powder mixed with 2 teaspoons warm water, or some coffee essence.
Pre heat the oven to 190°C
Beat the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy and all beaten in together. Add the eggs one at a time along with a spoonful of the flour each time. Add the rest of the flour and beat in the yoghurt. The yoghurt is not 100% necessary – the buns will be perfectly nice without it – but I find that cupcakes can be a little dry because of their small volume and adding a little yoghurt or cream to the mixture just makes them that little bit softer.
Spoon the mixture into cupcake papers and bake for 20 minutes -check after 15 minutes and maybe turn the tray around. I prefer to bake one tray of these at a time to avoid switching levels in the oven, and the mixture won’t hurt to stand while you bake the first batch.
Put the cupcakes on a wire rack to cool down before you decorate and ice them.
To make the icing, just beat the butter until fluffy (I find a hand mixer is more efficient if you have a choice as the whisk of the big mixer doesn’t get into all the corners of the bowl and you end up with some butter smeared round the edge that hasn’t been reached) and add the icing sugar spoon by spoon and then the coffee essence – this is optional but does give a lovely mild coffee-contrast to the chocolate flavour. Spoon the icing mixture into a piping bag with a large star nozzle and pipe round each bun, sprinkle with chocolate shavings or sprinkles if you like.
I couldn’t honestly say the cup cakes are as uplifting as my Seniors group high spirits, but they make you feel good too, in a different way! Enjoy.
A Hug from the Kitchen
Healthy, hearty, happy food, for good times and bad. Cheer yourself up, or spread the cheer around your family and friends.