Wednesday, 7 May 2014

RECIPE: Choc Shot chocolate cupcakes

So my colleagues recently discovered my blog. And when your blog is called Handbags and Cupcakes and regularly features cupcakes, it's only natural that people are going to ask, 'Um, Rachel, where are our cupcakes?'

I reminded them I'd brought in these apple flapjacks a few weeks ago, but producer Jonathan told me I was so new at the time that they didn't know if they could trust me not to poison them (all the flapjacks were devoured though.) I'm not sure how much he was joking...

Anyway, I'm pleased to say these cupcakes went down a treat. Jonathan himself ate the majority, I swear, although he tried to make out it was me (#internproblems). I guess that's a sign that I'm now deemed trustworthy, hoorah!

The day before had been a Belgian bank holiday (on a Thursday, what's that about?!) and I figured I couldn't do my essay sunbathe ALL day, so baking it was.

I shan't name names, but one of my colleagues decided to be a bit of a diva and request something chocolatey, so I decided it was the perfect opportunity to experiment with the Choc Shot I'd kindly been sent to trial.

Choc Shot is like a low-cal, chocolatey, squeezy sauce. You can use it in milkshakes, porridge, on toast, pancakes, waffles or simply stirred into hot milk to make hot chocolate. Oh, and it's yummy! I'm keen to try it out in various other ways but have also been enjoying Choc Shot drizzled over berries like this...

Being the girl I am, I decided to experiment and try using Choc Shot in baking. And the result? I think it worked well. The flavour isn't as strong as cocoa so these cupcakes aren't super rich, but I don't think that's a bad thing.

What they are is tasty, simple and cute. In their colourful cases, I actually think they're rather adorable.  Don't you?

They're not as fluffy as your classic vanilla sponge but I personally like the slightly denser texture.

With very few ingredients, they're the sort of thing you can whip up spontaneously without having to go to the shop. What's more: ONE BOWL, PEOPLE! Just whack it all in, mix and you're off.

I sadly haven't done much baking in my Belgian home so hadn't actually realised we don't have an electric whisk. Slightly awks. What we do have, however, is a whisking utensil that must be from the 1930s. So that's what I used. I think an electric whisk would result in fluffier cupcakes though.

We also only had silicon cake cases rather than a muffin tin, but I don't think it matters which you use. The icing is quite runny though so it's best not to overfill the cases before baking.

I personally think simple chocolate sponge + simple chocolate icing + simple sprinkles = a fail-proof combo. And don't you think Hundreds and Thousands are underrated? They're great! Adding a little crunch and a pretty sprinkle of colour. I'm finally learning mum was right and, sometimes, less is more. (But mainly more is more.)

It gets a little messy if you're too impatient to wait for the icing to set...

This recipe makes 11 yummy little cupcakes. Although they're kinda like fairy cakes as they don't have buttercream icing. Meh, the name isn't important... They're yummy!

Ingredients - Cake:

100g caster sugar
100g unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 eggs, at room temperature
100g self-raising flour
3-4 tbsp milk
3-5 tbsp Choc Shot

Icing and topping:

100g icing sugar, sieved
2-3 tbsp Choc Shot
Hundreds and Thousands


1. Preheat the oven to 180C and like a muffin tray with paper cases (or get silicone cases ready.)

2. Measure out all the ingredients except the Choc Shot and milk into a bowl, sieving the flour and sugar.

Mix well ideally with a handheld electric whisk until well combined, adding the milk a splash at a time to make sure your batter is the right consistency: thick, smooth and gloopy but not runny.

Exhibit A: seriously old-school whisk
3. Squirt in the Choc Shot 1 tbsp or so at a time, mixing well in between each addition. Taste the batter and check it's chocolatey enough for you and add some more Choc Shot if you like.

4. Dollop large spoonfuls of the batter into the cases...

...and bake in the oven for 20-25 mins until the tops are springy to the touch.

Watch your fingers!
Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool fully.

5. Make the icing while the cakes cool. Sieve the icing sugar into a large bowl and add cold water 1 tsp at a time, mixing well after each addition. Once you have a smooth consistency that coats the back of a spoon (not too thick or too watery), add some Choc Shot and mix in well - just keep adding a squeeze at a time until it's chocolatey enough for you!

6. When the cakes are fully cool it's time to ice and decorate!

Simply dollop a tsp of icing on to each cake, swirl it around and allow to spread to the edges of the cases...

...Sprinkle some Hundreds and Thousands on top...

... et voilà! Bon appétit, mes chéris!


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