"All I really need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt!"
Charles M. Schulz
I thought about letting the National Chocolate week pass by, and avoid all the hype, but my toddler very timely requested chocolate cupcakes, after he realised that the cherry cake was gone.
So what is Chocolate week?
It's a week long celebration in October of everything chocolate in the UK. Americans apparently have their National Chocolate week in March each year.
It began some 8 years ago in 2003. I haven't yet been able to find the answer to how and why? To be honest, do we all really care? As this is the time to indulge in chocolate, attend posh teas, buy chocolates on promotion, explore new flavours and attend lavish events near you. One such event being held tomorrow is Chocolate Unwrapped.
Chocolate cupcakes with Caramel Ganache frosting
I personally prefer anything dark, and not too sweet when it comes to chocolate, and I decided to do justice to Valrhona cocoa powder bought at Paul A Young with this recipe.
- Plain flour 200 grams
- Soft brown sugar 200 grams
- Butter 180 grams
- Baking powder 1/2 tsp
- Baking soda 1/2 tsp
- Salt 1/2 tsp
- Eggs 2 (large)
- Cocoa powder(Dutch processed) 60 grams
- Boiling water 60 mls
- Vanilla extract 1 1/2 teaspoon
- Creme fraiche 120 mls
- Dark chocolate 70% 150 gms
- Granulated Sugar 120 grams
- Water 2 tablespoons
- Double cream 300 grams
- Butter (unsalted) 50 grams
- Vanilla extract 1 tsp
Dark chocolate 70% (for shavings or curls)
Preheat oven to 180C (160 Fan).
Line the tin with cases. Sift flour with baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Mix cocoa powder and water together and set aside to cool.
Melt butter and then mix sugar and butter together for about 5 minutes. Add in one egg at a time and mix well. Add cocoa mixture, vanilla extract and mix well. Fold in flour alternating with creme fraiche in 3 additions.
Bake for 25 minutes or until skewer comes out clean. Take them out and let them cool completely before frosting.
Chop the chocolate in small pieces.
Heat double cream and simmer whilst you make caramel.
Heat sugar and water till it reaches 170C . Take the pan off the heat immediately, as it will continue cooking and pour cream carefully, stirring well. Return to the heat and simmer for 1 minute. Take off heat and add butter.
Pour over chocolate and mix till creamy and shiny. Leave at room temperature. It can be put in the fridge for a harder piping consistency if necessary.
Decorate with the icing and then top with chocolate curls or shavings.
Have a great National Chocolate week! More on cocoa powders later...
Green and Black's cocoa powder is Dutch processed or alkalized. Mixing hot water and cocoa brings out the best flavour.
Put Dora on whilst dealing with caramel to keep your toddler busy.