At the beginning of February, I went to London to visit my lovely friend, Jessica. Jess and I have known each other since we were teeny tiny children at nursery. I won’t lie, there’s been some rocky patches in our friendship; Jessica once savagely kicked me under the table in class when we were 9. Fortunately, I decided to forgive her (once I’d kicked her back) and we have been friends ever since, even if we have only managed one visit every five years due to lots of moving around :)
Having had our second five-yearly catch up at Christmas, we decided not to leave it too long ’til the next one and so my trip to London was planned. While both of us managed to start the Saturday feeling slightly delicate from drinking the night before, we had a rather cultured weekend with a couple of galleries and… um… well, we went and sat in the Natural History Museum while we ate cakes! That’s cultured, right? Yeah it is.
So! The cakes! They were from the Hummingbird Bakery (whose books I love). Jess went for the raspberry cheesecake brownie and I had a chocolate caramel cupcake. Firstly, the cakes were pretty. People came up to us and asked us where we got them from. Actually one guy did that. He was pretty hot. That isn’t the point. Where was I? Oh yeah. Now, this cupcake doesn’t feature in the Hummingbird Bakery books, but I decided it needed making and it wouldn’t be hard to recreate by combining a couple of the cupcakes which do feature in their book. Surprisingly, the caramel and the chocolate ones. I know right.
The cupcakes have a really good chocolate caramel flavour and they’re so soft it’s ridiculous. They’re topped with a caramel buttercream and you can add an extra dollop of caramel if you want to (I did, obviously). And you can eat them openly in your own home, instead of slightly secretively on a bench in a museum. Yay!
Chocolate caramel cupcakes
A combination of two recipes from Hummingbird Cake Days by Tarek Malouf
Makes about 15
For the cake:
80g/3 oz butter, at room temperature (I used lightly salted)
280g/10 oz caster (superfine) sugar
200g/7 oz plain (all-purpose) flour
40g/ oz cocoa powder
1 tbsp baking powder
240ml/8.5 fl oz milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
150g/5.5 oz tinned caramel
For the buttercream:
250g/9 oz icing (confectioner’s) sugar
80g/2.25 oz butter, at room temperature
25ml/0.75 fl oz milk
50g/1.75 oz tinned caramel
Preheat the oven to 170C (340F) fan oven/190C (375F) conventional oven and line two muffin tins with 15 cupcake cases.
Using an electric handwhisk, whisk together the butter, sugar, cocoa powder, flour and baking powder until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Add the vanilla extract, eggs and half the milk and whisk until smooth. Scrape down the sides, then add the rest of the milk and the caramel and whisk until smooth. Divide the mixture between the cases and bake for 18-22 minutes (mine took 22 minutes in a 170C fan oven).
Let the cupcakes cool for 5 minutes in the tin before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the icing, whisk together the icing sugar, butter and milk until combined, then add the caramel and whisk until you have a smooth icing. Whack it on the cupcakes and shove them in your face.