I hardly ever make cupcakes. Do you? I find them a bit fiddly and all too easy to eat 10 without really noticing. I mean if you have a slice of cake that cake will look smaller. If you take one cupcake out of an airtight cake tin and pop the lid back on who knows how many have scoffed!
So, when I was asked to make cupcakes for Free Cakes For Kids last week I knew I was in trouble. I needed to make 24 cupcakes and my recipe makes 20. Well what was I to do? I halved the recipe and made an extra 12 so that there would be – ahem- some for my girls. But with all good baker’s style I HAD to test one – just to check they were okay. They were OK!
As a charity FCFK is often the recipient of cake ingredients and those lovely people over at Mamys Sugarcraft donated bags of beautiful sprinkles to us. I was desperate to use them on these cupcakes. They’re really cute- flat circles of beautiful sugaryness. Lovely aren’t they?
The Chocolate cupcakes
My plan was to bake nice flat chocolate cupcakes and then pipe chocolate mirror glaze around the outer edge, dip them in sprinkles then flood the middle part of the cupcake with more thick delicious glaze. I wanted the cakes to be flat. I baked them really slowly and with a baking sheet above them but they still wanted to be light and fluffy and tall! Usually that is the desired effect but not this time.
As a result I had to keep the mirror glaze a little thick so that I could pipe it over the cake mound without it dribbling off the sides. If I made these again I would lower the baking temperature and maybe bake just 6 in a small tin at a time rather than 12. I’d place the empty baking sheet above the cupcakes a little bit closer which usually helps create a flatter cake with my larger cakes. I used 4 tbsp water in my glaze so if you want it smoother and runnier then add more and see how you go.
Chocolate mirror glaze sprinkle cupcakes
270g caster sugar
200g Self raising flour
6 medium eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
225g dark chocolate- broken into small pieces
50g unsalted butter
4-6 tbsp water
Preheat the oven to 190C (170C for fan ovens . Fill a cupcake tin with paper cases.
Cream the sugar and margarine together till light and fluffy
In a separate bowl whisk up the eggs then add to the margarine and sugar mix a little at a time.
Add the vanilla extract and mix
In a separate bowl sieve the flour and cocoa powder and mix until it is one shade with no clumps. Fold into the wet ingredients.
Fill each paper cupcake case to half way then bake for 12-15 minutes till the cakes bounce back straight away when pressed lightly in the centre.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 10 minute before removing from the tin and cooling completely.
Make the chocolate mirror glaze by placing the chocolate into a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Ensure the bowl does not touch the water.
Once the chocolate has completely melted add the butter and combine then add the water one spoonful at a time stirring continuously.
Fill a bowl with sprinkles.
Place the mirror glaze in a piping bag and pipe around the outer edge of each cupcake. Dip the cupcake into the sprinkles so the outer edge is covered. Set aside to harden up.
Work on 3-4 cupcakes at a time.
Fill the centre part of the cupcake with the remaining mirror glaze. Leave to firm up for a few hours.
The end result
Well, lets just say that I ate more than one! That mirror glaze is something else and teamed with the sprinkles. DELISH! The charity I delivered them too looked pretty happy with them as I assured them that they tasted “alright!”
How much do you love chocolate brownies? Well let me tell you as I sit here typing I’ve had both daughterlings come and ask me when they can eat these soft cherry brownies? They’ve only been out of the oven for two minutes but they’ve made the whole house smell all chocolatey. “They’re for New Years Eve” I told them as they skulked off as if they had to wait an eternity.
Brownies rock NYE
I’ve found that with this recipe these brownies taste good when still warm with a dollop of ice cream but if you can bare to wait they improve in richness if eaten a day after baking. I made these to take to a New Years Eve party this year where there will be other chocolate loving kids so I wanted to add a soft cherry flavour. Usually I add glacè or natural morello cherries but for this one I decided to make them quick and easy and used a tin of pitted cherries in juice. I drained the juice completely so they wouldn’t make the cake all gooey – well more gooey than it should be. I also didn’t cut them in half so when you eat them you get all that juicy flavour in one hit.
The result? Pretty good I’d say.
3 medium eggs
275g caster sugar
175g salted butter
200g dark chocolate
175g plain flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tin of pitted cherries (about 230g)
Line a 20x 30cm baking tin with silicon paper and pre-heat your oven to 180*C (160*C for fan ovens).
Place the eggs in a bowl and whisk up then add the sugar and combine. Set to one side.
Place the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat and when melted remove from the heat and add the broken up dark chocolate until it melts. Place over the heat if necessary but be sure to watch that it doesn't burn.
Measure and sieve the flour and cocoa into a separate bowl.
Add the chocolate to the egg and sugar mix and combine. Add the dry ingredients and fold in.
Stir in the drained pitted cherries then transfer to the cake tin.
Bake for 30 minutes. The top will start to form cracks. That shows it's ready to be removed from the oven.
Leave the tin on a rack to cool completely before removing the cake from the tin.
To cut neat portions place a large knife in hot water then dry before cutting each slice. The heat from the blade will slice easily through the whole brownie if you re-heat it each time.
So what are you baking for New Years Eve then? Last year I made a tart and the year before I made Tiramisu. Anything goes as long as it sees in a sweet new year and brings you plenty of joy and happiness.
Happy New Year.
The only choc chip cookie recipe you’ll ever need!
Do you ever have one of those days when only a choc chip cookie will do? I love them but Beau simply adores them. Whenever I’m baking that’s what she wants – Freezer cookies. So, when I went to make her a quick batch I discovered that I actually didn’t have all the ingredients I needed so in true EmmaMT style I just made up teh recipe as I went along and used similar alternatives. What I discovered was a batch of the most moreish, soft, gooey chocolateyness I have ever tasted. I had to hide them just so I wouldn’t eat them all before I had shot them. In fact I am alone in my house right now as I type this and I know that there are still five more calling me from downstairs
“Emma! Come and eat us. We’re all soft and warm and bursting with waaaayyyy too much chocolate to resist us!”
But resist them I must. I promised Tim that I wouldn’t eat them all and that there would be some when the girls get home too! Pfew! My waistline thanks him for that!
Alternatives that work
The thing about these cookies that took me by surprise it how good they taste when made with margarine instead of butter. I knew that the brown and granulated sugar would work instead of soft brown sugar but I expected them to be a bit soggy not perfectly gooey. They were just right. Another benefit is that you can use margarine straight from the fridge as it’s soft to begin with. I used Flora’s Buttery as I have a post I’m writing for them in April and had it in the fridge already. It’s goooood!
The trick to getting the perfect soft cookie
… is to not over bake them. This is something that has taken me years to perfect. They only need 9-10 minutes in the oven. The edges will start to turn golden brown but not brown-brown- if you know what I mean? They’ll be light and puffy and they’ll look under baked. They’re not. Just take them out of the oven and place the tray on a cooling rack and leave them for 20 minutes before removing them. I know, I know. Warm cookies from the oven are too good to resist so just do your best! As they cool they wrinkle and look like the ones above. Chocolate heaven.
Even after nearly forty minutes the chocolate was still all warm and melted. See? It’s hard to resist! Hence there are now only five left from the batch – which makes 18. (just so you know I’m not completely greedy I did bake these yesterday. I haven’t eaten them all by myself in one go!
I hope these become a staple in your recipe repertoire as they have mine! Let me know how you get on and if you manage to resist/share them.
Chocolate Torte Madeira Sprinkle Birthday Cake
Where do you get your cake inspiration from? I follow quite a lot of blogs but I only stay subscribed if they keep on delivering great inspiration month after month. If they don’t post for a few weeks I don’t really mind as when they do it’s always amazing new content and that’s how I feel about Sweetapolita. She has a very distinctive style and I always want to have a go at recreating her cakes. Her style was the inspiration for this cake.
BeauBeau is TWELVE!!!!
Where does the time go. I’ve been writing this blog for over four years and each year my daughter’s birthday cake posts seem to come round quicker and quicker. For the first time in ages I actually can believe Beau is twelve. She is so much more happy and mature than she was last year. She’s settled into senior school really well and has a lovely group of new friends who we met for the first time on Sunday. One of them even offered to help carry over the drinks for all the gang while we were at bowling! I mean literally said “Would you like me to help you carry the drinks over“!!! How happy am I that Beau has found such polite and friendly group of girls to hang out with? VERY.
So, when it came to her birthday cake she asked for something simple, chocolatey and pretty. Gone are the days of sculpting cakes into fancy designs. In fact I can’t actually remember the last time I was asked to do that. I knew exactly which of Sweetapolita’s cake designs I was going to make. Lots of soft chocolate ganache buttercream and lots and lots of pretty sprinkles!
Now, I would say that this cake is quick and easy to make and I am sure it is, but not when you are desperate to finish season 4 of Prison Break on Netflix and can’t stop watching it and stay up till 3am to do so! Without Netflix it would have been sooo much quicker!
Chocolate Torte Madeira Cake
Happy Birthday Beau Beau Bob. We love you so much.
Emma (a.k.a. Mamma.xxx)
Chocolate Ganache Recipe
If you follow me on Instagram then you would have already seen this picture of the chocolate ganache I made for a birthday cake a few weeks ago. I totally love ganache. I mean what’s not to love – it’s chocolate and cream!
I thought I’d share my recipe with you as it’s really handy to have – especially at this time of year when you’re thinking about making chocolate truffles asChristmas gifts. Usually I use double cream but I had some dairy free soya cream alternative left over so I used that and it was absolutely delish. Soya milk and cream are so much more creamy tasting that regular ones. I think I’ll be using them every time in the future- what’s more it’s great to have a dairy free ganache in your repertoire- don’t you think?
Print off the Chocolate Ganache Recipe here
Chocolate Ganache Recipe
Ingredients (this recipe is enough to sandwich and cover an 8″ cake
• 200ml double cream
• 250g dark chocolate- broken into small pieces
To make the ganache
- Place the cream in a bain- marie over a low heat making sure that the bowl doesn’t touch the water below.
- Heat the cream till very hot but not boiling – it will burn very quickly and you don’t need it that hot.
- Remove the bowl from the heat and add the chocolate pieces.
- Stir until all the chocolate and cream is melted and combined.
- Set aside to cool then pipe or spread over your cake with a palette knife.
Tips with Ganache
- You can add half as much chocolate again to your mix (ie another 125g) to make your ganache a thicker consistency. Much more chocolate than that and it will be very firm and won’t be easy to spread on a cake.
- For a dairy free ganache use dark chocolate (Bourneville is buttermilk free – most others aren’t) and a soya dairy free cream. Even if it is single cream the ganache will still taste fab – just add a few more squares of chocolate to thicken it up.
- Milk and white chocolate both work well with this recipe too.
- This recipe is great for making truffles. Simply add a tablespoon of flavour – alcohol always works well, once the cream and chocolate are combined. Set aside to cool then roll into balls. Cover in cocoa powder, icing sugar or anything your heart desire.
How to make a quick Ice cream splat cake
It’s that time of year again. That time when your daughter who has a summer holiday birthday get’s three birthday celebrations and three cakes! One on the actual day, one with family and one with her friends! I’m shattered just thinking about it now! This has to be the last year we do it like this!
This year I decided to keep it simple whilst trying out a new recipe for the friends party. I’ve heard genoise cake mentioned loads on The Great British Bake off (along with creme pat!) and thought this was the perfect opportunity to see what all the fuss was about.
Oh my goodness!
This has to be the lightest, fluffiest, most delicious cake I have ever made. It does take a bit of faffing – what with the heating up of the eggs and all that whisking but it is WELL worth the effort. The cake is so soft it literally crumbles in your hand when you pick it up so be warned – handle with care!
I teamed it with a chocolate ganache buttercream which I made with soya cream leftover from the family party. I have to say that soya cream is doubly creamy! Give it a go. You won’t regret it.
The ice cream splat
Decorating this cake literally took 10 minutes and if I made this kind of design again I would probably make a Madeira cake so I could cover the whole cake with sugar paste and make the dribbling ice cream a bit prettier from sugarpaste too. This cake would never have taken the weight of a sugar paste coating. It would have gone completely splat – more than the ice cream did!
The kids literally went “Wow’ when they saw it and that’s what it’s all about for me. The smiles on their faces – especially Darcey’s who helped me at each step of the way – mini photographer/baker/blogger in the making that one.
Print this recipe
Chocolate Genoise cake
- 60g butter
- 8 medium eggs
- 200g Caster Sugar
- 140g Plain Flour
- 60g cocoa powder
Chocolate ganache buttercream
- (this quantity is enough to fill and cover the cake in ganache)
- 150g unsalted butter- at room temperature
- 150g icing sugar
- 50g cream (double or single depending on how thick you want it)
- 50-100g dark chocolate- broken into small pieces
To bake the cake
- Grease and line four 8” cake tins with silicon paper (I use sunflower oil to grease my tins as the edges of the cake stay soft and less crumbly). Preheat your oven to 170ºC (Fan oven150ºC)
- Sieve the flour and cocoa powder into a bowl and combine completely. Set yo one side.
- Place the butter in a saucepan and heat until it has melted. Keep stirring it until it becomes a deep brown colour. This adds to the flavour of the butter. Set aside to cool.
- Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and add the egg and sugar. Whisk by hand until the mix warms up. You don’t want to cook the mixture – just warm it.
- Remove the bowl from the heat. You now need to whisk the egg and sugar mixture till it doubles or triples in size. By warming the eggs you are encouraging the air in them to expand. This will take around five minutes so it’s a good idea to use a stand mixer and let it do it’s stuff.
- Once it doesn’t look like it can expand anymore drizzle the melted butter into the bowl while the whisk is still going.
- Sieve the flour and cocoa onto the mixture – don’t be tempted to just tip all the dry ingredients in over the egg mix as it will be heavy and will burst all the air bubbles you’ve just created. Without the air bubbles the cake will be heavy. The air bubbles in the egg are the cake’s raising agent. Slowly and carefully fold the flour and cocoa powder into the mix till just combined. It’s important not to over mix.
- Spoon the cake mix evenly into the cake tins and smooth with the back of a spoon. I made one cake tin a smaller amount than the others as it was going to be made into a giant cake pop.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the sides come away from the tin. The cake will instantly bounce back when pressed lightly in the centre with a finger.
- This cake is very delicate so leave it to cool completely in the tin before turning out.
To make the chocolate ganache buttercream
- Place the butter and icing sugar in a bowl and mix until light and fluffy.
- Place the cream in a saucepan and heat until just starting to bubble then remove from the heat.
- Immediately place the chocolate pieces into the cream and stir until completely melted. Set aside to cool.
- Once the chocolate has cooled add it to the buttercream and whisk.
- Try not to eat it on a spoon from the bowl!
How to make the Ice cream cake
- Layer up three layers of cake with chocolate ganache.
- Take the small layer of cake and crumble it into a bowl . Add a small dollop of ganache and mix it up until it forms a ball. Roll it up in your hands and pop it in the fridge for 10 minutes to harden.
- Make up some royal icing in your choice of colour and put it in a piping bag. Use a little royal icing to position the cake pop on the top centralarea of the cake.
- Pipe the icing over the top of the cake pop and let it dribble down over the cake.
5. Don’t go too mad as the icing will keep dripping once you stop. I let it just reach the sides of the cake.
6. Place a trimmed wooden skewer into the cake pop at an angle. Push it in far enough that the ice cream cone will sit at an angle and won’t slip down.
7. Place the cone over the stick and press into the cake pop. Leave to set.
Happy 9th Birthday Darcey Doodles. We love you so