It’s never a good idea to go to a supermarket when you’re hungry. Chances are, you’ll buy much more than you need, and plenty that you don’t need at all… I do it regularly. So I was on my way back from the allotment one time, and passed the little superette along the way, and stopped (as I oh-so-regularly do) for some orange juice. And, well, maybe one of those nice pain-au-chocolat things that they do so very nicely for a supermarket in a crappy area. But to get to the pain-au-chocolat shelf, I had to pass that other shelf. You know – the one with the packaged biscuits and cakes and mini-rolls and stuff. And of course, I’d been working in the garden the whole morning, so a box of cupcakes by the so-called Fabulous Bakin’ Boys seemed like A Good Idea.
Ha ha. These guys ought to be called the Not-so-Fabulous Bakin’ Boys. Either that, or the boys had a really off day when they made these. The baked items in the box looked like little fairy cakes with a dark chocolate icing layer. Adorable, really, until you tried to eat them. Dried out, much-too-small fairy cake bit, and utterly unlickable chocolate layer on top. It resembled, uh, dark brown wax. An altogether depressing cupcake experience, and one that left me wanting the thing I’d imagined. Luckily the thing I’d imagined was all too easy to put together.
These are the cupcakes I made. The cake recipe is from Nigella Lawson’s How to Be a Domestic Goddess. I usually find Nigella a bit too AbFab for my taste, but Domestic Goddess does contain more than its fair share of classic recipes (if you have it, go get yourself some orange marmalade and a few slabs of chocolate and go make Store-Cupboard Chocolate-Orange Cake).
Nigella Lawson’s Fairy Cakes
125g self-raising flour
125g caster sugar
125g soft unsalted butter
Half a teaspoon real vanilla extract
Approximately 2 tablespoons milk
1 x 12-bun muffin tin
12 muffin papers
Preheat the oven to 200C and line the tin with the muffin cases.
It couldn’t be simpler to make cup cakes: just put all the ingredients except for the milk in the processor and then blitz till smooth.
Pulse while adding milk, to make for a soft, dropping consistency, down the funnel. Or using a bowl and wooden spoon, cream the butter and sugar, beat in the eggs one at a time with a little of the flour.
Then add the vanilla extract and fold in the rest of the flour, adding the milk to get the dropping consistency as before.
I know it looks as if you’ll never make this scant mixture fit 12 bun cases, but you will. I promise you this mixture is exactly right to make the 12 cup cakes, so just spoon and scrape the stuff in, trying to fill each case equally, judging by eye only of course.
Put in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cup cakes are cooked and golden on top. As soon as bearable, take the cup cakes in their cases out of the tin and let cool, right way up, on a wire rack
For the chocolate topping, I just melted a slab of plain dark chocolate with about a tablespoon of butter to make it soft and glossy. Spread the cooled, melted mixture onto the cooled cupcakes.