Thursday, 27 December 2012

Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes

It's super weird how things move really quickly, isn't it?

Well, things "in general", like, say attempting to maintain a blog for leisure, seem to pass in a millisecond and other things, sometimes unwanted and uncomfortable things (like the final exam period in your final school year EVER) take an eternity. In short, I'm sorry I have been away for so long, I have missed you, my little blog!

Much has happened over the time I have spent away from the joys of baking + photographing. Exams were done, holidays to Vietnam were taken, marks were given back, oh, and that little thing called Christmas happened too. Everything is happening and changing so fast now, I'm at the edge of this new huge part of my life. In one aspect, I absolutely cannot wait to go to university, and move out, and do all these things I've been dreaming of doing forever. I got the marks to get into my ideal course, I have everything sorted to move away, and I have been slowly accumulating vintage teacups and sewing bunting to decorate my room at college! But then, on the other hand, I'm scared. And nervous. And I absolutely positively have no idea what I'm about to get myself into. Help!

But then, change seems really scary until you're actually doing it. And everything seems really hard and scary until it's done. So I guess I'll keep on going with life, baking and taking photos and IN NO WAY THINKING ABOUT SCHOOL OR STUDY. 

^This is my vintage high tea stand. Do you like my vintage high tea stand? It is one of my most favourite things in the whole world, and I will use it and love it until it can be used and loved no more. I enjoy putting things on it, like these Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes I made.

Christmas was lovely, and I am hoping that yours was too, whoever you are. These would have been good to make at Christmas, I think, but hey, who needs an excuse to make Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes!

The cupcake itself is gorgeous and has a nice dense, but not heavy, crumb. Then I decided to put chocolate ganache in the centre to emphasise that this was not just a chocolate cupcake, but was a true ode to the delight of chocolate dipped strawberries that I have made with my mum and devoured from a young age. Nothing says love or family or summer like chocolate dipped strawberries. The buttercream has pureed fresh strawberries in it instead of strawberry essence to make it actually taste like strawberries, because really, strawberry essence tastes like sweetened medicine and nothing at all like the delicious berry we all know and love. Then I topped it all with a chocolate dipped strawberry... because it was necessary.

So please make these for your family and loved ones, they will speak for themselves. It's basically like giving someone a hug in the form of a cupcake! Enjoy baking, and keep doing the things you love, no matter how much time has passed and how out of practise you feel!

Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes
Makes 12

{Chocolate cupcake recipe adapted from 500 Cupcakes by Fergal Connolly}

300g milk chocolate, chopped
300g unsalted butter
5 eggs
115g caster sugar
115g self raising flour

Chocolate Ganache:
200g milk or dark chocolate
150ml thickened cream

Strawberry Buttercream:
375g icing sugar, sifted
225g unsalted butter, softened
200g chopped/ pureed strawberries

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries:
Chocolate ganache (see above)
12 strawberries


For the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 160 degrees celsius and place 12 muffin cases in a muffin tin.
In a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter together. Leave to cool a little.
Beat the eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl until pale and thick, then fold in the flour, then the melted chocolate and butter. Mix well.
Spoon mixture into cases and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes in muffin tray. Then move to a wire rack. Leave to cool completely before scooping out little divets in the tops.

To make the chocolate ganache, Place the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring until it melts. Add the cream and stir until uniform and glossy. Place in the refrigerator and chill for 1 hour, until thickened. Then, spoon a teaspoon of the ganache into each cupcake - you should have scopped out toe divets into