SUMMER. Sunshine, Barbecues, holidays and....humid commuting. It's fair to say the summer season can be the most stifling for commuters. After a long day's work, a little treat can make a big difference.
That's why East Midlands Trains got in touch with me and asked if I'd like to help out in surprising commuters with some sweet treats. It's all part of their #LittleThings campaign to surprise their customers with little treats to brighten their day, which is how I found myself last week in Derby train station.
The task? Making 200 homemade cupcakes ready for the evening rush hour, all in my single kitchen oven! Safe to say it was a busy 9 hours baking and icing them.
When I arrived at the station, all the hours by the oven were totally worth it to surprise people on their way home and bring a smile to their face. The 200 flew out of their boxes, even though some initial travellers declined because they thought there was a catch!
I've had so many requests for the cupcake recipe that I had to pop it up here on the blog. It's taken from the incredible Twist by Martha Collison and I've reproduced a scaled version of it below with her kind permission! If you haven't checked out Martha's book (or her new one - Crave, which is equally lovely), it's well worth checking out for reliable creative bakes.
I love these as they're extremely reliable and have a silky smooth topping that reminds me of the most indulgent chocolate pots you can buy int he supermarket... you know the ones ;)
Treat your friends, family & colleagues and surprise them with one of these - you'll sweeten their day no end. Let me know how you get on on twitter, instagram and facebook @cakesmyth x
Ingredients - makes 24 cupcakes
For the cupcakes
350g caster sugar
120ml sunflower oil
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
200g plain flour
70g cocoa powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
For the whipped ganache
200g unsalted butter
300g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
2 tbsp golden syrup
275ml double cream
50g roasted chopped hazelnuts / mini cookies or other!
2 x 12-hole muffin tins (or make in batches), piping bag with large open star nozzle (optional)
Preheat the oven to 180 C / fan 160 C and line the muffin tins with paper cases.
In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla and whisk until smooth (an electric whisk makes this much quicker).
Into a separate bowl, sieve the flour, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt and whisk together until uniform in colour.
Add a third of the flour mix to the egg mixture along with half the water and beat well to incorporate. Add the remaining flour and water in portions, beating well after each addition. The batter will be liquidy!
Divide the mixture equally between the cupcake cases (fill them 2/3 full) and bake on the middle shelves of the oven for 20-25 minutes until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool completely before decorating.
For the ganache, melt the butter, chocolate and golden syrup together in a heatproof bowl over a bowl of simmering water. Keep stirring until it's smooth and the chocolate has completely melted. Remove from the heat and pour in the double cream. Mix well until a uniform colour then chill in the fridge for around 40 minutes, stirring midway through.
Once thickened to the stage where it can form stiff peaks, whisk using an electric whisk for a few minutes until it turns pale brown. Use a spatula to scrape down the edges halfway through. Transfer to a piping bag and pipe on swirls of the ganache. Top with a sprinkling of hazelnuts or topper of your choice.