Chocolate truffle cupcakes are a very grown-up treat, ideal to end a dinner party or for a special romantic meal for two. Be aware that this recipe contains alcohol which might make it something you don’t want to share with your little ones! Also, because it makes a dozen cupcakes, and contains fresh cream, you may want to freeze some of the cooked cakes before you ice them or scale down the recipe and just make six cakes if you’re not sure you’re going to eat the entire dozen before the cream starts to turn.
These cakes take around thirty minutes to prepare, with extra cooling time and twenty to twenty-five minutes to cook.
- 300g (11oz) good quality plain chocolate, chopped or grated
- 170ml (6fl oz) carton extra thick double cream
- 45ml (3 tbsp) alcohol – choose from brandy, Tia Maria, Baileys or Cointreau
- 1 tablespoon icing sugar – the unrefined sugar gives a better colour
- 150g (5oz) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 175g (6oz) light Muscovado sugar
- 125g (4½) self-raising flour
- 50g (2oz) cocoa powder (don’t use drinking chocolate as it contains sugar and will make the cakes too sweet)
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- 3 eggs
- 60g (4 tbsp) golden syrup
- 100g (4oz) Greek yogurt
Put 100g (4oz) of the chocolate in a heatproof bowl on top of a saucepan of simmering water and stir frequently until melted. Alternatively, microwave on medium power for a minute, stir and microwave for another minute. Be careful if you are microwaving the chocolate that it doesn’t scorch as this will make it granular and give the cakes a bitter flavour. As soon as the chocolate is melted, stir in a tablespoon of the thick cream, with the alcohol and the icing sugar. Put this mixture in the fridge for around 15 minutes to chill while you make the cake mix.
Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4 and set 12 large (muffin sized) paper case in a tray.
Mix the baking powder with the flour and sieve the cocoa powder into this mixture to make sure there aren’t any lumps in it. Now beat the Dry Ingredients with butter, Muscovado sugar and eggs, until smooth and evenly coloured. Put half the mixture in the base of the paper cases, and use a wet teaspoon to make a small depression in each one – into this put a spoon of the Chocolate Cream from the fridge: this will become a delicious truffle centre as the cakes cook.
Now put the remaining cake mixture on top of the truffle mixture, ensuring it is fully covered. Put the cakes in the centre of the oven. Because the truffle mixture remains soft, you cannot use the toothpick method to be sure they are cooked, as a toothpick inserted into them would come out wet, so instead, after 20 minutes, test the case to see if they have risen and are just firm to the touch. If not, give them a further five minutes cooking time. Remove from the oven, put on a wire tray to cool.
Once the cakes are completely cold, you can ice them. Because they have a truffle centre, these cakes are slightly more likely to lift and break if you push the icing down onto them, or move it around too much, so spoon the icing out onto the cakes, dividing it equally between them, and then use a palette knife which you’ve dipped in hot water to spread it out. The heat stops the icing from lifting off the cakes. Remember to keep dipping your knife in hot water as you spread the icing.
- Put the rest of the cream and the golden syrup in a small pan and cook gently, stirring often until very hot – do not allow this to boil or it will form a soft granular toffee.
- When hot, tip the mixture over the rest of the plain chocolate in a heatproof bowl and stir until the chocolate melts and is fully blended, then fold in the yogurt.
- Now you can put spoonfuls of the chocolate icing onto the cakes and spread it out – keep the surface fairly rough and textured, you’re not aiming for a smooth finish.
These cakes can be Decorated with slivers of candied orange, toasted almonds, curls of chocolate made with a vegetable peeler or shop-bought decorations. For a very special occasion, you could top each cake with a crystallised flower, such as a violet and tie a length of purple ribbon around each cake, or pile the cakes on a pretty plate and sprinkle them with fresh rose petals.