Ingredients (makes 12):
- 35g butter
- 225g caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 130g plain flour
- 60g cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of sode
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 185ml milk
- 12 squares dark chocolate
- 170g butter
- 250g icing sugar
- 500g fresh raspberries
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC and line a muffin tray with 12 cupcake cases.
- Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs and stir in the vanilla.
- Sieve in the flour, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder.
- Pour in the milk and mix well.
- Half fill the cupcake cases and then put one square of chocolate on top. Top up the cupcakes with the remaining mixture, being careful not to overfill the cases, as they’ll rise in the oven.
- Bake for around 15 minutes, or until they pass the knife test.
- Once the cakes have finished baking, remove them from the oven and leave them to cool on a wire rack.
Whilst they’re in the oven, you can make a start on the frosting:
- Beat the butter in a mixing bowl until soft.
- Sieve in the icing sugar and mix carefully and thoroughly until peaks start to form.
- Add in the vanilla extract and the raspberries, saving some for decoration. I tend to go for 2 raspberries per cupcake, so put 24 to one side, and mix in the rest with the buttercream.
- Using either a palette knife or a piping bag, apply the icing to the top of the cooled cakes.
My girlfriend, Ele, is another avid baker, so when she ended up getting a lot of raspberries on offer at the end of the market one day, using them to make some form of cake seemed the most logical thing for us to do.
One of my flatmates from last year, Jennifer, regularly made melt-in-the-middle chocolate muffins during term, so naturally I was eager to try the idea too.
The result of these two ideas was therefore what you see here: melt-in-the-middle chocolate cupcakes with a hearty topping of raspberry buttercream icing. I was so taken by it, in fact, that I ended up using the idea for my Carnation cupcakes.
Normally I bake for an occasion, or at least I find an occasion to bake a certain recipe that I want to try, but that wasn’t really the case here. Instead, this was baking for necessity, in order to try and use up some of the raspberries quickly. It did prove useful in that I got to have a go at making melt-in-the-middle cupcakes and get an idea for the kind of consistency I wanted, but even so, there wasn’t a particular occasion that the cakes were intended for. As you’d expect though, we weren’t short of people to help us eat them.
They say that money can’t buy you happiness, but money can buy ingredients with which you can bake. If baking doesn’t make you happy, then I’m not sure what will. One of my main plans for meeting new people and making new friends when I’m on my Year Abroad next year is genuinely to bake and bribe people into being my friends through the use of baked goods. You may laugh at me from your moral high ground, but when the cakes come out of the oven and are just sitting ready on the side, there are few who can resist. Me included.