Having promised to make dessert for friends who were giving us lunch on Sunday, I found myself able to indulge in one my chief cooking pleasures: picking something to bake from my capacious cookbook collection. My first thoughts were for a strawberry tart, something that characterises early summer. But as the week wore on, and it got windier and wetter, I felt that something comforting and chocolately would fit the bill. I ended up with Alice Medrich’s ‘Bittersweet‘, which has chocolate recipes for every occasion you could think of. I was lucky enough to attend one of Alice’s classes in California; she combines a great depth of knowledge about chocolate with an infectious curiosity. This comes across in the recipes, which are suitable for the most elevated occasions, but also detailed and reliable: which is one reason why I felt comfortable breaking the rule that you should never try out a new recipe for the first time on guests.
Molten Raspberry-Chocolate Cupcakes with Marbled Glaze
adapted from ‘Bittersweet: Recipes and Tales from a life in chocolate’ by Alice Medrich
Note: I used the cup measures that Alice specifies in the book when I made them. I have given conversions to metric, but haven’t checked these, so be warned. I’ll test these out next time I make this recipe.
- 1 cup plain flour (140g)
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder (50g)
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup seedless raspberry puree (125ml) (1 punnet raspberries, pureed and sieved)
- 3 tablespoons brandy or rum (I was stuck here, so used 1tbsp Grand Marnier, 1tbsp vodka and 1 tbsp water)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 10 tablespoons butter (145g)
- 1 and 1/3 cups caster sugar (300g)
- 3 large eggs
For the chocolate glaze:
- 6oz dark chocolate, 65-70% (170g)
- 8 tbsp butter (115g)
- 1 tbsp corn syrup (there’s not really a good substitute for this as far as I know – but some supermarkets stock it)
For the marbling:
- 1 oz white chocolate (25g)
Preheat the oven to 350F/180C. Prepare a muffin tin with paper cases or grease the moulds. This makes about 18 muffins; I made 12 muffins and 2 little cakes in some 4″ pie dishes.
Thoroughly mix the flour, cocoa, baking powder, bicarb and salt in a bowl. Sift onto a sheet of greaseproof paper to help mix and get all the lumps out of the cocoa. This also gives extra lightness to the sponge.
Combine the raspberry puree, brandy and vanilla in a small bowl or jug. This will be quite liquid.
In a medium to large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter (*much* easier with electric assistance). Add the sugar gradually while you continue to beat the butter. Once all the sugar is in, continue to beat for 4 or 5 minutes – it should be really pale and fluffy. Don’t shortcut this part – it gets all the air in.
Break the eggs into a bowl or jug and whisk just to combine the yolks and whites. Add to the butter and sugar in a trickle, while continuing to beat. Adding it slowly prevents the mixture from curdling, but if it goes ahead and curdles anyway, don’t worry – it will mean slightly less air in the mixture, but it’ll still turn out OK.
Stop the mixer, and add one third of the flour mixture from the paper. Mix just to combine, then add half the raspberry mix and mix again. Alternate the flour and raspberry until everything’s combined. Be gentle, to keep all the air in that will help the mixture rise.
Scrape the batter into the pan or spoon into the muffin tins. Bake for 20 minutes, until the mixture pulls away from the side of the tin, and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool on a cake rack. (You can store the cakes in an air-tight container overnight at this point, or freeze).
While the cake cools, make the glaze: melt the chocolate, butter and corn syrup together over simmering water, or in the microwave, stirring until smooth. Melt the white chocolate at the same time in a separate bowl. Cool the glaze until it is thickened but still pourable, then dip the top of each muffin into the glaze. While the glaze is still wet, dip a teaspoon or skewer into the white chocolate and drizzle randomly onto the glaze. Use a skewer or toothpick to drag lines through the chocolate and create the marbled effect. I found it easiest to dip 3 muffins before decorating with the white chocolate. Leave the glaze to set.