By MH Staff - Posted on 14th October 2013
Who can bake a cupcake and make it manly too? You can, with help from Master Pâtissier Eric Lanlard
1 Chocolate Sponge Cake
Preparation Time 15 minutes
Cooking Time 30 minutes
125g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
85g pure cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting
125g good-quality dark chocolate, broken into pieces
150g caster sugar/muscovado sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 170°C (fan 150°C)/gas mark 3. Grease a 20cm cake tin with extra butter, and dust lightly with some extra cocoa powder.
Place the chocolate and butter in a large heatproof bowl and set the bowl over a pan that is half-filled with gently simmering water. The base of the bowl must not touch the water. Leave to melt, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, whisk together the sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and the cocoa powder, using an electric hand whisk at medium-high speed, until you create a ribbon effect. Remove the chocolate bowl from heat and stir the egg and sugar mixture into it.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
Leave cake to cool in the tin for 10-15 minutes, then turn out on to a wire rack to cool down. Or, do like me, and serve it straightaway with crème fraîche.
2 Gluten-free Pear & Almond Cupcakes
Makes 12 cupcakes
For the poached pears:
2 large ripe pears, peeled, cored and quartered
100g caster sugar
1 vanilla pod, split lengthways
300g ground almonds
1 tbsp gluten-free baking powder
100g caster sugar
100g butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten
3 canned pears, drained
25g flaked almonds
Icing sugar, to decorate
If time allows poach the pears the day before. Put the sugar, water and vanilla pod in saucepan. Slowly bring to the boil, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved. Add the pear quarters, cover and simmer over a low heat for 15 minutes. Leave to cool.
When you are ready to cook the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 200°C/fan and line a cupcake tin with paper cases.
In a large bowl, mix together the ground almonds, baking powder and sugar. Add the melted butter, eggs and milk, and mix until creamy. Drain the poached pears and cut them into small cubes, then fold these into the mixture.
Divide the mixture between the paper cases. Chop each of the canned pears into quarters (you should have 12 pieces) and place one quarter upright standing proud on top of each cake. Sprinkle over the flaked almonds and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of a cupcake comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for five minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely. Dust with icing sugar before serving.
3 Southern Chocolate Mud Pie
Preparation time: 15 minutes, plus chilling
Cooking time: 55 minutes
For the sweet gluten free chocolate pastry:
150g butter cut in small cube
6 tbsp icing sugar, sifted
2 egg yolk
200g gluten free flour
2 tbsp pure cocoa powder
2 tbsp water
For the chocolate mud pie filling:
200g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
175g unsalted butter, softened
350g dark muscovado sugar
4 large eggs, beaten
4 tbsp pure cocoa powder
400ml double cream
2 tsp chocolate extract (optional)
500ml whipping cream
3 tsp vanilla sugar
2 tsp finely grated dark chocolate
Make the pastry. Rub the butter, flour, cocoa and icing sugar into a bowl using your fingertips till you get a breadcrumb effect. Make a well and add the yolks and water. Combine together to form a dough. Wrap in clingfilm and leave to rest in the fridge for 1 hour. On a floured surface roll the pastry out using a rolling pin and line a 25cm diameter, 6cm deep pie dish or ovenproof dish and bake it blind using baking beans.
Make the filling. Melt the dark chocolate in a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, making sure the surface of the water does not touch the bowl. Put to one side to cool.
Preheat the oven to 160°C (fan 140°C).
Cream the butter and sugar until nice and fluffy using an electric hand whisk or a freestanding mixer. Gradually beat in the eggs one at a time on low speed. Sift the cocoa powder and stir in, along with the cooled melted chocolate. Stir in the double cream and the chocolate extract, if using.
Pour the mixture into the cooked pastry case and bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes, or until just set. Leave to cool, then chill in the refrigerator.
Remove from the refrigerator 1 hour before serving. Whip together the whipping cream and vanilla sugar to soft peaks. Pile on the top of the pie and sprinkle with the grated chocolate. Enjoy!