Flourless Chocolate Cupcakes

I LOVE this recipe (another adapted from the Crabapple Cupcake Bakery Cookbook). The cupcakes  are dense, dark, rich and suitable for the gluten intolerant. These cupcakes are incredibly versatile and can be decorated however you please (flavoured buttercreams, glace icing, dusted with icing sugar and served with berries, or with fondant icing).

Here I have included a couple of ideas, but don’t feel you have to stick to them!

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Photo courtesy of the Australian Women’s Weekly Cupcakes By Colour Cookbook.

Ingredients (makes approx. 30 cupcakes)
350g butter
450g dark cooking chocolate, chopped
2 ½ cups caster sugar
1 ½ cups almond meal
2 cups cocoa
10 eggs
2 tspns vanilla extract

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Method
Preheat oven to 140°C. Line 3 12-hole muffin trays with patty pans (about 30).

Combine butter, chocolate and sugar in a heavy-based saucepan over a low heat. Mix continuously until melted and smooth.

Sift the almond meal and cocoa into a large bowl. Add the chocolate mixture and beat for 1min on a low speed.

Add eggs two at a time, beating after each addition until combined. Add vanilla and beat until combined.

Divide mixture evenly between patty pans (filling each about 3/4 full) and then bake for  30mins or until a fine skewer inserted comes out clean. Remove from the tray and let cupcakes cool on a wire rack completely before icing and decorating. Enjoy!

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Adapted from Jennifer Graham’s ‘John’s Baci birthday cupcakes’ in The Crabapple Bakery Cupcake Cookbook. 

Velvety Vanilla Cupcakes

This is my absolute favourite vanilla cupcake recipe adapted from my absolute favourite cupcake cookbook (and that’s saying something because I have A LOT), ‘The Crabapple Bakery Cupcake Cookbook’ by Jennifer Graham. I’m not paid or employed by them (promise!) but I have tried so many cupcake recipes in my time, and have found this book to contain many of the best (as well as providing fabulous decorating ideas).

Anyway, now my spruiking is out of the way…  This vanilla cupcake recipe produces cupcakes that are full-flavoured, not overly sweet or cloying with a beautiful, delicate texture. You can ice them any way you like – I love vanilla buttercream, but you can just as easily ice them with chocolate icing, plain glacé icing or fondant icing as I have done directly below. Perfect for birthdays, picnics, afternoon teas or anytime you have a hankering!

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Ingredients (makes 24+ cupcakes)
2 ¾ cups plain flour
2 tspns baking powder
200g unsalted butter, softened
1 ¾ cups caster sugar
4 eggs
1 tblspn vanilla extract
1 cup milk

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Method
Preheat the oven to 170°C (150°C-ish fan forced). Line two 12-hole muffin trays with patty pans.

Sift together the flour and baking powder. In a different bowl, cream the butter for 1-2 mins. Add the caster sugar about a third at a time, beating for 2mins after each addition. After the last of the sugar has been beaten, beat until the mixture is light and fluffy and the sugar dissolved. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 min after each addition or until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and beat until just combined.

Add approximately a third of the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and beat on a low speed until combined. Add half of the milk and beat until combined. Repeat this process until all of the flour and milk is thoroughly combined but be careful not to overbeat (this will toughen the mixture).

Spoon mixture into the patty pans (filling each about 3/4 full) and bake for about 18-20mins or until the top springs back when touched. Remove the cupcakes from the trays immediately and cool on a wire rack for at least half an hour before icing.

Old Fashioned Vanilla Fudge

This fudge reminds me of my childhood as it tastes just like the vanilla fudge I used to buy at my local community’s autumn fair. Smooth, creamy and delicious – this fudge has the power to change lives (or at least bring on diabetes…) BEWARE: Highly addictive!

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Ingredients (makes approx. 40 pieces)
250ml milk
50ml double cream
350g caster sugar
100g butter
1 tsp vanilla

Method
Grease and line a cake tin of your choice (I used two thin loaf tins because I wanted fewer, thicker pieces to experience full creaminess). Put milk, cream, sugar and butter in a large heavy-based saucepan and heat slowly, stirring continuously.

Bring to the boil, keep stirring & cook until the mixture has reached soft ball stage (approx. 115°C – I’m lucky that my sugar thermometer has it marked). Remove from the heat and continue to stir it for a few minutes then add the vanilla. Keep stirring for a few more minutes and then pour into prepared tin/s, leaving it to cool at room temperature (NOT THE FRIDGE!)

Once cooled, cut into pieces of your desired size and say goodbye to all your troubles.

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Adapted from Frugal Feeding’s ‘Traditional Vanilla Fudge’