Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

cupcakeSaturday was Jan’s birthday, and on Sunday I felt like baking… perfect timing for Jan to be able to take something in for his colleagues today. I didn’t want to make a full on cake, so I decided on chocolate cupcakes using a recipe that I’ve had for ages and is really easy to follow. I found the original recipe on BBC Food years ago, but I can’t provide you with a link because it doesn’t seem to be on there any more. Buuut I’ve adapted the recipe to suit my own purposes over the years, which means it’s mine now and posting it here without a link won’t be breaking any copyright laws, right? Right? Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

For the cupcakes:
220g butter
220 g caster sugar
220g self-raising flour OR 220g plain flour plus 1.5 teaspoons baking powder (plus half a tsp of bicarbonate of soda, if you have it)
4 eggs, beaten (mine were medium, but I’ve used large before)
15g cocoa powder
30g chocolate chips
A few drops of vanilla extract

For the frosting:
125g soft butter
210g icing sugar, sifted (the sifting is important or the frosting will have lumps of icing sugar in)
125g plain chocolate
1 tsp cocoa powder

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.  Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

2. Add the cocoa powder and blend it into the other ingredients, then stir in the chocolate chips and vanilla extract.

3. Add the eggs and stir well (don’t worry if it looks a bit lumpy at this stage).

4. Gradually fold in the flour until you’re left with a thick paste that looks a bit like chocolate mousse.

5. Place heaped teaspoons of the mixture into cupcake cases in a bun tray and bake for around 15 minutes until risen and bouncy when touched. The mixture makes around 24-26 cupcakes, depending on how much of the mixture you eat before it makes it to the oven (what? I know I’m not the only one that does that…). Once the cupcakes are baked, leave then to cool while you make your frosting.

Fresh out of the oven (if they look flat in this picture, it's the camera angle. I swear they had actually risen!)
Fresh out of the oven (if they look flat in this picture, it’s the camera angle. I swear they had actually risen!)

6. Melt the plain chocolate in a bowl over a pan of water (or in the microwave if you have such a thing…)

7. While the chocolate is melting, cream together the butter and icing sugar.

8. Add the melted chocolate the sugar and butter and stir everything together well.

9. Add a teaspoon of cocoa powder and stir until all the powder is properly blended in.

10. Place a teaspoon of the frosting on each cupcake and spread it with a knife (or pipe it on if you want your icing to end up looking better than mine… I preferred the less washing up option!).

Chocolate cupcakes and chocolate frosting
Chocolate cupcakes and chocolate frosting

11. You can either leave the cupcakes as they are now or decorate them as you see fit. Apparantly, I saw fit to sprinkle stars on mine in an incredibly haphazard manner. I could claim it’s supposed to be artistic but we all know it was sheer laziness…

Seeing stars...
Seeing stars…

12. Leave the frosting to cool/set for a bit then enjoy your cupcakes!

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Looking at art

Since I’m going to be moving into my very own flat soon I thought it might be nice to have some proper pictures to put on my walls, rather than the slightly childish posters I’ve had up to now. Specifically I wanted to see if I could find anything by the artist Rosina Wachtmeister who I discovered just before Christmas. You can take a look at her website here if you wish. She mostly paints slightly surreal things in ridiculously bright colours and seems to be obsessed with cats. I’m not too fond of cats myself, but I do like a bit of ridiculously bright coloured art, so this afternoon I thought I’d do a bit of googling and see if I could find any non-cat Rosina Wachtmeister pictures to beg people to buy me for Christmas. In this process I found myself on the website allposters.de (there’s a UK version as well, but the German one is where I ended up). Here I found Regina Wachtmeister, but I also found a few other things that I have now decided I must own one day. The Regina Wachtmeister one I want, called Red Cheek, is here by the way and I will definitely be buying it once my wages go in at the end of the month.

Now, my taste in art is not exactly what you’d call normal. I like bright, I like sunny, I like hearts and stars and rainbows,  I like pictures where things are not exactly the colour you’d expect them to be (bright red buildings, red and blue cats, purple unicorns. Oh yes! Bring it on), I like Tomi Ungerer (illustrator of Flat Stanley those of you that remember the book). Here are just a few of the pictures I’ve come across today that I now really, really want (Click on the name to see the picture on allposters.de):
Celebration II by Sophie Harding – Three orange flowers on a purple background. Very cheerful
Slipper Tub by Paul Brent – A picure of a bath tub with a pillow for your head and a plant standing behind it. I want to hang this in my bathroom
Sunflowers by Will Rafuse – Three bright sunflowers on a blue background. I love sunflowers – they’re such a happy flower!
Love Letters in Yellow by Anna Flores- Squares containing various different hearts on yellow backgrounds. It looks much nicer than my description makes it sound!
Easy Listening by Rosina Wachtmeister – Two cats looking out of the window on the left. On the right the outline of a piano with music sheets seeming to drip down the side of it. Go and look, my description really doesn’t do it justice.
There are more but I won’t bore you by listing every single one. I’m sure by now you get the picture.
I also bought myself two prints because they were in the sale and going for incredibly cheap.
Mesa Cactus by Paul Brent for only 1 euro and 58 cents, reduced from €5.90. How could I possibly resist? And Mocha by Sophie Harding, originally €9.90, now reduced to €2.98. Again, how could I possibly resist?

I now wish I was a) rich and b) lived in a big house so that I could spend all day finding art online and buying it for my walls. Of course, I would have to do this in between buying books for my library (I am going to have a library one day. Not a lending library – the kind of library you see in old house. You know, with books all around the walls, a huge fireplace for warming yourself in front of and a nice sofa to snuggle up in while you’re reading. My idea of heaven!).
So, which artists do you lot like? Tell me all about your favourite paintings so I can go and check them all out and add even more things to the list of stuff Bev wants but has neither the money nor the space for. You know you want to help me in this mission 😉