180C | 160 Fan
"My passion for baking was certainly ignited with the arrival of Great British Bake Off five years ago. All of a sudden I found myself attempting ever more complicated recipes, baking bread for the first time and debating how to avoid the dreaded 'soggy bottom'. But the bakes I turn to time and again are usually simple, incredibly delicious and guaranteed to elicit a delighted response.
Take these cupcakes for example. They really could not be simpler to make – so easy in fact that a child could whip them up in about 10 minutes. These are the type of cupcakes you turn to when unexpected visitors knock on the door or you need to impress at the school fair. What's more they are egg-free and can also be made dairy-free so that no one with allergies needs to feel left out.
What really turns these simplest of bakes into a bit of a showstopper worthy of Mary Berry is the incredibly rich chocolate frosting. This needs a little advance preparation but it is worth it! Frost your cupcakes with a generous swirl, top with a few jewel-bright berries and a dusting of icing sugar and the star baker crown is yours!"
Prepare this first to give it time to cool while the cupcakes are baking. Do not store in the fridge as it will set hard and will be impossible to whip! You will need:
Chop the chocolate really small and put into a bowl.
Put the cream and golden syrup in a medium saucepan. Swirl the pot over medium-low heat until the cream comes almost to the boil – you will see little bubbles appear around the edge.
Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate and set aside for a couple of minutes.
Use a small whisk and stir gently in the centre of the bowl using very small motions. Keep stirring gently until the chocolate melts completely and turns into a glossy glaze.
Pour the ganache into your stand mixer bowl, reserving a small amount to drizzle over the cupcakes.
Let the chocolate cool until it sets and has a firm consistency then whisk until it forms firm peaks.
Preheat the oven to 180C and place a rack in the centre. Line your muffin tin with 12 cupcake cases.
Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder and salt into a large bowl.
Add the milk, vegetable oil, vinegar and chocolate extract if using into measuring jug and stir together.
Pour the liquid ingredients into the bowl with the flour and use a whisk or spoon to mix the two together until the batter is smooth.
Fill your cupcake cases with the batter, just over halfway up. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cupcakes are risen, firm and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes completely before frosting.
Transfer the whipped chocolate frosting into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip. Generously frost the cupcakes with the chocolate and then decorate with fresh berries.
Drizzle with the reserved chocolate glaze (you may need to heat it gently if it has set) and dust with a little icing sugar.