Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

MAKES 12

PREPARATION TIME: 40 MINUTES

COOKING TIME: 15-18 MINUTES

With their rich hot chocolate-flavoured sponge bases and towering toppings of Italian meringue, these lovely morsels are perfect for a chocolatey twist on afternoon tea.

Made with the Lakeland 12 Hole Deep Bun Tin.

Ingredients

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

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C/fan 140°C/Gas 3. Line the holes of the bun tin with cupcake cases.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.