Hi! This is the very first time I have linked up with the Forever Nigella online blog hop and I think it is a fab idea. This month’s Forever Nigella is hosted by Recipe Junkie and The Attack of the Custard Creams and is organised by Sarah of MaisonCupcake.
I was intrigued to know what Forever Nigella was as I looked through my Twitter feed the other week and just had to investigate. As a huge Nigella fan who has all of her recipe books, I was keen to have a go at taking part in the hop!
This month’s theme is “Food To Cherish Your Loved Ones” and I admit I found it difficult to choose one recipe. I first stumbled upon Nigella when her Domestic Goddess book was published a few years back. My children were still very young then and I found the book was a comfort to me, enabling me to bake food I loved for the ones I loved at a time when my confidence was at an all time low. By baking I felt as if I was actually achieving something worthy, that not only my immediate family liked but others did too. They were fairly simple to decorate and I loved the fact that they looked expensive, decadent and classy but without too much decoration. Over the years I have baked this recipe time and time again for coffee mornings, for family and for friends.
As soon as I decided to bake the Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes for the blog hop I thought, great, that’s fine I have all the ingredients in. Nigella’s recipe also specifies natural glace cherries, which sadly I did not have. I had the garish retro red ones but at least they were cherries even though I prefer the natural ones! I only had to buy in a jar of Morello cherry jam when I was out shopping. As the jam itself was well over £2 for a 300g jar this is not a cheap recipe to make but it is worth it for a special occasion. It also requires real plain melted chocolate and double cream so it does bump up the cost, unfortunately.
I decided to bake the chocolate cupcakes on Tuesday afternoon after I had finished all my other jobs and walked my dog. It was a miserable, wet afternoon and I just longed to be back in my kitchen with my apron on. On went the oven and out came the cupcake cases. Nigella’s photo in the book shows her chocolate cupcakes to perfection with plain white cases. I had a look in my box and had some union jack muffin cases which I had bought in a pack from Waitrose a couple of weeks ago. I thought they would contrast perfectly against the dark chocolate colour.
Once these were ready, I got out the ingredients. I did not melt my chocolate and butter in a glass bowl over a simmering pan of water but instead melted them in the microwave, checking every 20 seconds. This worked well for me. While I was nipping backwards and forwards to the microwave I weighed out the other ingredients: self raising flour, sugar. baking powder, free range eggs and finally folding in a whole jar of morello cherry jam! This gave the cupcake mixture an unusual lilac colour which was gorgeous. Sadly it didn’t stay that colour for long as I then folded in the chocolate and butter mixture. It smelt heavenly and didn’t take long to mix up.
Meanwhile, while this was going on, my two children had arrived in off the school bus and were desperate to know what I was baking. I told them I was making chocolate cherry cupcakes and they immediately said “Can we have one?”. The plan was to give my husband and two children a cupcake each and the other 9 in the batch would be taken into work the following day to share with my work colleagues. Sadly my children would have to wait until they had baked, had cooled and iced before they could eat one.
The cupcakes were then put into the oven and I then started prepping some veg for tea and putting washing away upstairs. The cupcakes were due to take 20-25 minutes in the oven but I checked after 20 as my fan oven can be on the quick side. They were fine so out they came and onto a cooling rack. While they were cooling I made the icing which was like a chocolate ganache. It was simply plain chocolate and double cream heated together. It smelled gorgeous and I couldn’t resist taking a mouthful from a teaspoon!
Once the cupcakes were cooled I got on with the decorating. I had to work quickly before the chocolate set on the cupcakes and then added a whole cherry to each one. I had rinsed the cherries first though.
Once the cakes were decorated I thought they might be a great idea for a Comic Relief fundraiser as the cherries reminded me of red noses!
I’m pleased to say the cupcakes went down well at work and also my family tucked into them. As I’m on a diet (again) I kept away but maybe next time eh?
Love Sam xx