Chocolate cupcakes. That is all.

One of the advantages of having a lovely friend who is also a fab cook is that you get to try her cooking when you see her.

And trust me, English Mum (this is she, photographed by the lough – lock – near her home in Ireland) makes exceedingly good cupcakes.     So as it's National Chocolate Week I asked her if she would let me share her recipe for chocolate cup cakes with you – and here it is. Go on go on go on, you know you want to…

English Mum's Chocolate Cupcakes


200g bar dark chocolate (something with high cocoa solids is best)
170g butter, softened
170g caster sugar
3 eggs
115g self raising flour
55g cocoa powder
Double cream

Preheat the oven to 180/gas 4.  Snap the chocolate into squares and melt it in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Leave it aside to cool slightly while you beat together the butter and sugar until they’re really light and fluffy. Now add in the eggs one at a time, beating really well after each addition. Sieve the flour and cocoa into a bowl and fold them gently into the mixture. Now, grab your melted chocolate and pour HALF of it into the mixture.  Stir briefly to combine. Spoon into paper muffin cups in a 12-hole muffin tray, or if you’re really greedy and want to make MASSIVE cupcakes, then just make 8 and stuff them very full. Bake them for about 15/20 minutes (the bigger ones will take longer) or until the centre springs back up when you push it with your finger. Leave them to cool on a wire rack.

Now, for the ganache, take the rest of your melted chocolate, place it into your mixer (you can use a bowl and a whisk if you don’t have one) and whizz while gently pouring in just a slosh of double cream.  Don’t go mad – you need it thick enough to pile lusciously on top of your chocolatey cupcakes.  
written by Liz Jarvis