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Esurientes - The Comfort Zone

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Dense Chocolate Cupcakes

Cupcakes, with icing still cold from fridge

These are the ultimate decadent chocolate cupcakes. The type that make everyone moan in ecstasy, their eyes rolling back in their head as they make whimpering noises of defeat. You could capture a country with these cupcakes, and I'd think they'd be happy to surrender! They are the recipe for Nigella's Dense Chocolate Loaf, from Domestic Goddess, made into cupcake form and iced very thickly with gooey chocolate buttercream.

An example of how powerful these are: my younger brother and two of his friends turned up just as I was icing these, still slightly warm from the oven. I think they'd just been at the pub, and were keen for food. Now, 24 year old boys are usually the type to knock back chocolatey, sugary, cakey delights in favour of salty chips and fat sausages, when they get a craving. In other words, they're not the type to really appreciate a good chocolate cupcake. But the longing looks they gave me prompted me to hand over a few of my bodgy-looking examples. Their obvious ecstasy was amazing! They moaned, they sighed, they closed their eyes to increase the enjoyment...they even licked the cases clean!! AND they talked about them all night! Most of them hadn't had a cupcake since they went to birthday parties as kids, so I think I've set them on a downward spiral - I wouldn't be surprised if I get a few commissions for upcoming 25th birthday parties!

Cupcakes, with gooey icing at room temperature

I actually made these for a Tupperware party I was going to (my very first), and I was encouraged to find the girls there had exactly the same reaction as the boys. A couple of them had to sit down, put away their Tupperware catalogues and concentrate fully on the Splendour Of The Chocolate. The cake recipe itself is fantastic, full of soft brown sugar and a huge chocolate flavour for so little chocolate used - and it improves after a few days; a bit like gingerbread, they become denser and the flavour intensifies. The texture is amazing; yes, they are dense, but they are also light and soft. I made these on Thursday for a Saturday night party, and stored them, iced, in the fridge - so they were just perfect.
The cakes sink in the middle, as they are so moist, so icing them meant that I first had to fill the hole with rich, gooey chocolate icing, then start icing the top; there were serious amounts of chocolate icing on these cakes. A definite sugar high! Nigella actually has a recipe for chocolate ganache to top these, but I used modified some leftover icing I'd frozen from A's Chocolate Fudge Cake (details below)
I totally recommend making these if you want to wow your audience - of girls OR boys! (or if you are planning a takeover of a country...)
Read on for the recipe:

Dense Chocolate Cupcakes
Variation on Dense Chocolate Loaf, from Nigella's Domestic Goddess
Amounts here are for the cupcakes; the loaf uses double the ingredients and a longer cooking time and temperature.

110g unsalted butter
200g dark brown sugar (or muscovado)
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
50g dark chocolate, melted and cooled a little
100g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
125ml boiling water
175g dark chocolate
75g milk chocolate
200ml double cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
*When I made A's Chocolate Fudge Cake a few weeks ago, I had a lot of fudge icing left over, so I stuck it in the freezer for another project. Pulling it out for these, I intensified the flavour with a few teaspoons of cocoa powder and 1/2 teaspoon of instant coffee powder dissolved in a little hot water, as I thought the icing was a lacking a bit in flavour last time. This made a truly spectacular icing! Go to that recipe if you want that fudge icing recipe.
12-bun muffin tray

Preheat the oven to 180C, put in a baking sheet in case of sticky drips later; this is a very damp cake.
Cream the butter and sugar then add the eggs and vanilla, beating in as well. Next, fold in the melted and now slightly cooled chocolate, taking care to blend well but being careful not to overbeat. You want the ingredients combined: you don't want a light, airy mass. Then gently add the flour, to which you've added the bicarb, alternatively spoon by spoon, with the boiling water until you have a smooth and fairly liquid batter. Fill the 12 muffin paper cases in the muffin tin. Bake for 30 minutes, removed from the tin and cool on a rack.
To make the icing, break all the chocolate into pieces (you may want to use all dark chocolate) and heat with the cream and vanilla in a saucepan until it has melted. Whisk until it's a good consistency for icing, and spoon some onto each thoroughly cooled cake. Spread with the back of a spoon. Leave to set somewhere cool, though preferably not in the fridge.


  • hey niki!
    by the looks of these cupcakes, i can understand why people would moan! ive been wanting to try this recipe for ages, but havent found a good excuse to make cake lately- the cupcakes are a great idea though. maybe ill make some of those up and share :-)

    By Blogger tanvi, at 4/10/2005 02:49:00 pm  

  • ooooohh! wish i could have some right now!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/10/2005 05:17:00 pm  

  • They look so scrumptious Niki. I put on weight just looking at them.

    By Blogger Ana, at 4/10/2005 09:04:00 pm  

  • i've made the dense chocolate loaf cakes as cupcakes too... soo moist and delicious. yours look a lot better than mine did, though!

    By Blogger Emily, at 4/11/2005 06:31:00 am  

  • I loved this sentence: "... and concentrate fully on the Splendour Of The Chocolate". The Chocolate. THE Chocolate. The Choco-lat-te. Sounds like a dance. Or something. Hmm. Maybe I need a chocolate cupcake?;-)

    By Blogger Cerebrum, at 4/12/2005 05:52:00 am  

  • hi Niki
    Nice yummy blog you have there! Your dense chocolate cupcakes look so finger-licking good! How was the tupperware party? It sounds kinda fun.

    By Blogger pinkcocoa, at 4/12/2005 01:14:00 pm  

  • Hi - these were seriously yummy. I actually had one for breakfast on Sunday morning. Bad of me, I know, but wow it was good.

    Pinkcocoa - the Tupperware party was actually really cool. I was a bit embarrassed about telling people bc it sounded so much like something women my mum's age would go to, but they've got some really cool stuff - especially their utensils and silicone baking moulds. Not cheap though...

    By Blogger Niki, at 4/13/2005 11:44:00 pm  

  • Miam !

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3/04/2009 08:04:00 am  

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