For the cupcakes
- 125g plain flour
- 35g cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 100g granulated sugar
- 120ml vegetable oil
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 80g soured cream
For the topping
- 3 egg whites
- 170g caster sugar
- 4 tbsp water
- Preheat the oven to 160°C/fan 140°C/Gas 3. Line the holes of the bun tin with cupcake cases.
- To make the cupcakes, sift the flour and cocoa powder into a medium bowl. Add the baking powder and salt, mix well and set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat together the sugar and oil with an electric hand mixer until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition, then stir in the vanilla extract.
- Add in the flour mixture and the soured cream alternately, mixing after each addition until just combined. Divide the mixture between the cupcake cases, filling each about two-thirds full.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until well risen and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then remove the cupcakes from the tin and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
- To make the Italian meringue topping, whisk the egg whites with an electric mixer (you can use a stand mixer with a whisk attachment or an electric hand mixer with beaters) until they form stiff peaks.
- Heat the sugar and 4 tbsp of water in a small pan over a low-medium heat, swirling the pan gently until the sugar is dissolved. Turn up the heat and simmer until it reads 120˚C on a sugar thermometer.
- Remove the syrup from the heat and pour slowly into the bowl with the egg whites, and beat until fully combined. Continue to whisk for another 2-3 minutes until thick and shiny.
- Spoon the meringue into a piping bag, snip off the end and then pipe a swirl on top of each cupcake, then blowtorch lightly to give a caramelised finish. Add short sections of stripy straws for the ultimate hot choc effect.