Chocolate cupcakes – in defence of Sweet

“Sweet” is one of my favourite words, tastes and sentiments. It’s child-like and when you speak it, it’s like you’ve actually got something sweet on your tongue.

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Some take great offence, though. I once referred to a guy as “sweet” and was told “No guy wants to be referred to as ‘sweet'”. Alright… bitter much? It’s also seen as a fall-back; the go-to adjective when you have nothing nice to say about someone.

Once again I find myself struggling against the perceptions of beautiful, innocent words that have been misappropriated. The English language has so many words – let’s learn a few more and stop mangling the ones we know in order to fill the gaps in our vocabulary.

It’s no secret I love Willie Harcourt-Cooze’s cacao recipes. They are deliciously sweet, but it’s the perfect blend of sweet and bitter from the  cacao that achieves balance, letting the sweet shine through without being obnoxious and diabetes-inducing.

His chocolate cupcakes are just superb. They’re fluffy, rich, and the icing is just a thin layer of cacao, sugar and water. It’s a very grown-up dessert; foregoing over-indulgence for the simple beauty of the quality ingredients.

This cupcake is the pedestal sweet belongs on.

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Chocolate Cupcakes

50g cacao (I used 70% Lindt chocolate), finely grated
125g unsalted butter
125g castor sugar
2 large eggs
125g self-raising flour
2 tbs milk

For the icing:
50ml water
20g castor sugar
20g grated cacao
Speckled eggs

Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Put cupcake liners in your cupcake pan (12).
Melt cacao by placing in a heatproof bowl (I use a Pyrex) on top of a pot of simmering water.
Whizz butter and sugar in a food processor until creamed. Add eggs and combine. Add flour and mix again. Stir in melted cacao and milk. Empty the mix into the cupcake cases and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack.

For the icing, boil water and sugar in a small pot until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the cacao and boil until everything is well mixed. Empty into a bowl and cool in the fridge.

Once the cakes are cool, paint on the thin cacao icing with a small paintbrush. Decorate with almond slivers or speckled eggs, to add whimsy.

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