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I’m a fiend for a cooking programme, and although I love baking, there aren’t that many baking shows that I really get into – they’re always a bit ‘fussy’. But The Great British Bake Off? Now that, I can do!
Whether it’s the competitive aspect that appeals, or it’s just Paul Hollywood’s harsh judging style (the sexy silver fox!), I got so into the show last year that I was at a bit of a loss when it ended. So it’s fair to say I’m more than a bit excited that it’s back on, and what’s more, after a bit of coercion from my friends, I’ve decided to try and enter next year!
My baking’s alright. I mean, I haven’t made anything completely disastrous for a good few years now but it needs a lot of work, so I’m now officially in training.
I found the recipe for these bad boys on the Channel 4 Food site, and have adapted it ever so slightly. I figured they’d be a good place to start, as they’re just basic cupcake recipe tarted up with some fancy filling, and they didn’t disappoint.
If you’re after something that looks impressive but actually requires very little effort then give these a bash!
For the cupcakes
For the syrup
For the topping
1.Preheat your oven to 180 degrees and line a 12 hole cupcake tin with cupcake liners.
2.Cream together the butter and sugar until light and creamy either by hand, in a food processor, or as I did, with an electric whisk.
*If you follow my lead and use an electric whisk, use a high sided bowl. I found this out the hard way, and ended up splattered with cake mixture*
2. Add your eggs, flour, cocoa powder and milk, and whisk until the mixture forms a smooth, thick batter.
*I used 2 tbsp of cocoa powder and 1tbsp of grated pure cacao. You can buy it in solid form like this from Source Cafe in St Nick’s Market, and it just gives a deeper, more intense cocoa flavour*
3. Spoon your mixture into the cupcake liners (approx 1 ½ tablespoons per liner) and bake in the middle of the oven for about 12-14 minutes. Remove and cool.
4. Meanwhile, make your syrup. Put the water, sugar and a tablespoon of the cherry jam into a small pan and slowly heat until the sugar’s dissolved. Then whack the heat up and boil rapidly for about 10-15 minutes until it’s reduced in quantity by about half. Remove from the heat and cool.
*The original recipe called for a few tablespoons of Kirsch, but I’m too tight to buy a whole bottle for just three spoonfuls, so I improvised and used some of the cherry jam instead!*
5. By now your cupcakes should be nice and cool, so now you need to start filling them. Scoop out a small circle from the top of the cupcake (I did this by scoring a circle with a knife and then scooping the ‘lid’ out with a teaspoon). Set the ‘lid’ aside and spoon 1 tbsp of syrup and about 1 tsp of cherry jam into the hole. Pop the lid back on and repeat until you’ve completed all 12 cupcakes.
6. Now all you need to do is top your cupcakes. I followed the original recipe and stuck to whipped cream, but you could get creative, and create your own cherry flavoured butter cream icing if you fancy it. If, like me, you’re keeping it classic and going with cream, simply whip the cream until it creates soft peaks, then spoon into a piping bag and off you go. My piping technique leaves a lot to be desired, but you could just as easily spoon a dollop of cream on top – after all it all goes down the same way!
7. Once all of your cupcakes have been topped with cream or icing, simply plonk a cherry on top and grate over a bit of chocolate if you fancy it and enjoy!