It may be a slightly ironic hobby for a type one diabetic, but I’ve always loved to bake. I love the process as much as eating the results. There is something enormously therapeutic about the manipulation of raw ingredients in to aesthetically pleasing finished products. So baking is one of the things I’ve recently promised myself to make more time for. In fact, I’ve gone so far as to pledge to myself to stop buying any pre-made baked items, but instead to spend time baking anything that I want to eat, and baking something at least once a week. Three weeks in to this pledge, which is as much about creating a bit of time to myself as anything else, I’m doing really well!
I don’t usually blog recipes. In fact, I’m almost certain this is my first, but it’s one that I had to share after whipping it up this week when charged with providing cake for a work colleagues birthday.
There is something about those little malty chocolate balls that everyone seems to love – my colleagues definitely included. So straight away I knew I wanted to use a Malteser theme for the birthday cake. The only problem was with transporting a full size cake in to work, whilst also juggling Thomas on the nursery run, was going to be a challenge. I knew that cupcakes would be much easier. So I set about adapting a Malteser cake recipe – from the Hummingbird Bakery – in to one I could use for cupcakes. This is the end result. I may be biased, but they are really good. And judging by the empty box, my work mates agreed!
For the cakes
150ml Sunflower oil – using oil rather than a solid fat makes for a much lighter cake
75ml whole milk
75ml buttermilk – can be tricky to find (Waitrose sell the St Ivel brand, find it near the cream) so you can just use extra milk, or plain yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
215g plain white flour
25g cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
310g caster sugar
40g Ovaltine or Horlicks powder
100ml boiling water
1. Preheat oven to 140 degrees centigrade
2. Beat together the oil, milk, buttermilk and vanilla extract. Then add the egg and whisk again.
3. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder. Then mix in the sugar.
4. Mix the Ovaltine or Horlicks with the boiling water (add a little water to the powder at a time, and stir well).
4. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl of wet ingredients a little at a time and mix well. A rubber spatula works well here. After each addition of dry ingredients, add a little of the Ovaltine mixture too. Continue adding until all the ingredients are combined.
5. Divide the mixture evenly between 12-16 cupcake cases – depending on size. You need to fill them about 3/4 full
6. Place in the oven. In my very efficient fan oven, they took about 25 minutes to cook, with one turn at about 11 minutes. In the last five minutes they were checked every 1-2 minutes. This is key as the cakes can easily overcook and become dry. It’s important not to cook them at a higher temperature as this will lead to them becoming more dry around the edges, and also gives cupcakes that “peaky” look. They should spring back lightly when they are done. Take them out of the oven and leave for a few minutes to firm, before transferring to a wire rack.
For the topping
200g chocolate – it’s up to you what you use. For a richer topping, use dark 70% cocoa solids. For a lighter result, try milk. or you could do half and half
225ml double cream
150g Ovaltine or Horlicks
50g full fat cream cheese
50g icing sugar
Maltesers to decorate
1. Melt the chocolate (either in a bowl set over simmering water, or in the microwave)
2. Whip the cream until it forms soft peaks (use an electric whisk). Whip in the Ovaltine powder.
3. In a separate bowl, mix the cheese with the icing sugar. Be careful not to overbeat. Add the chocolate to the bowl.
4. Add the cream to the cheese and chocolate mixture a bit at a time, still being careful not to overbeat.
5. Pipe on to the cupcakes and add Maltesers for decoration.
And then: Enjoy!