The first time I made these cupcakes, it was bonfire night and they went down (unlike the houses of parliament) with a blast! Today, however, I just wanted a chocolate fix and I certainly got it with these. They look very impressive but are very simple to make.
Ingredients (Makes 12-16):
For the sponge:
- 70g/ 2 ½oz unsalted butter, softened or margarine
- 170g/ 60z plain flour
- 250g/ 9oz caster sugar
- 50g/ 1 ¾oz cocoa powder, sifted
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 210ml/ 7 ½fl oz whole milk
- 2 large eggs
For the cinder toffee:
- 75g/ 2 ½oz golden syrup
- 170g/ 6oz caster sugar
- 30ml/ 1fl oz water
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
For the frosting:
- 450g/ 1lb icing sugar, sifted
- 60g/ 2oz cocoa powder, sifted
- 160g/ 5 ½oz unsalted butter, softened or margarine
- 60ml/ 2fl oz whole milk
- Pre-heat the oven to 170C and line deep muffin tins with paper muffin cases.
- First make the sponge. With an electric hand-held whisk, beat the butter/ margarine, flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt until they form a crumb-like consistency.
- In a jug, mix together the milk and eggs by hand.
- With the whisk on a slow speed, gradually pour half of the liquid into the crumb mix and beat until thoroughly combined. Raise the speed and whisk until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl from time to time and gradually add the rest of the liquid until the mix is smooth and combined.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared cases, filling them two-thirds full.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the sponge bounces back when lightly touched. Leave to cool slightly before removing from the tin and placing on a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
- Meanwhile, make the cinder toffee. Line a baking tray with grease proof paper. In a large, high, sided saucepan, mix the golden syrup, caster sugar and water together and bring to the boil. Boil until it reaches 150C on a sugar thermometer. Do not stir while the mixture is boiling or the caramel will crystallise; just gently swirl the pan from time to time to prevent catching.
- When the temperature is reached, whisk in the bicarbonate of soda – the mixture should froth up vigorously. Carefully pour the toffee immediately into the prepared tray and leave to cool and set completely.
- Using a hand-held electric whisk, gradually mix the icing sugar, cocoa powder and butter/ margarine together until well incorporated. Gradually add the milk while whisking on a low speed. Once combined, beat on high until light and fluffy.
- Break up the cinder toffee into small rough pieces. It can be as fine or coarse as you like. Reserve some for the topping decoration and mix the rest into the frosting.
- When the cupcakes are cool, frost by spooning or piping the frosting onto the cakes and decorate with the remaining cinder toffee.