Birthdays are always very exciting for me, but this year I was faced with a number of moral dilemmas, such as: when should I start lying about my age? Should I start using anti-ageing cream yet? Is it ethical to continue not to wear foundation at the age of 23 and blithely inflict my naked face on unsuspecting members of the public?
Someone obviously knew I was going to find turning 23 hard, because they bought me this book, which contains recipes that just make everything better.
As a child, Nutella for breakfast was one of the best things about going abroad, because it's somehow more acceptable in the rest of Europe than it is in Britain. I have no idea why this is.
So these cupcakes, packed with gooey Nutella, are a real treat and make me feel about 10 again. They should probably be enjoyed only occasionally (they are very rich) and with a good cup of tea.
You will need:
For the cakes:
100g plain flour
20g cocoa powder
140g caster sugar
1½ tsp baking powder
120ml milk, semi skimmed or whole
120g chocolate and hazelnut spread (such as Nutella, although I hasten to add other brands of spread are available)
a 12-hole cupcake tray, lined with paper cases
For the topping:
250g icing sugar
80g hazelnut and chocolate spread
36 whole hazelnuts (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 170 C and beat the butter and caster sugar together until light and fluffy.
2. Beat in the milk and sugar, adding a little of the flour and cocoa to stop the mixture curdling.
3. Beat in the rest of the flour, cocoa and baking powder.
4. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases and bake for 20 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, beat together the icing sugar and butter for the topping.
6. Beat in the milk and Nutella and mix until evenly coloured throughout.
7. When the cupcakes are well risen and smelling chocolatey, take them out of the oven and leave to cool. Once cooled, use a sharp knife to cut out a small section of each.
8. Put a little dollop of Nutella into each hole.
9. Spread the frosting over the cupcakes with the back of a spoon and top each with 3 hazelnuts.
And you're done. If, like me, you are someone who occasionally needs chocolate like they need oxygen, these cakes are for you.
Enjoy responsibly. I will not be held to account for your cake headache if you eat 3 of these on the trot.
Thanks to the good people at the Hummingbird Bakery for this great recipe.
Until next time,