Sunday 22 March 2009

Nigella's Malteser Cake and Chocolate Cupcakes

So, I kept seeing pictures of Nigella Lawson's Malteser Cake on the awesome cakes and baking community, bakebakebake, recently. Honestly, it looked so good, so I resolved to make it at my next opportunity. 

To be honest with you though, the cake was kind of a Fail. It didn't rise and had this weirdly rubbery texture. With the butter icing, though, it tasted pretty good, but I wouldn't make the cake part of this recipe again. The icing though, was awesome, basically pure butter and sugar with a maltesery taste. 

Here's the recipe for the Malteser cake, from Nigella's Feast. If I did this again, I'd make a plain chocolate sponge (probably with some Horlicks in for that malty taste) but I would totally do the butter icing again, it was awesome. I ran out of Horlicks and used Malteser hot chocolate, and that worked brilliantly. This is the original quantities - I made double the amount of icing because I wanted to ice the side of the cake too, which meant that I had a ton left over. And went overboard with the thickness of the icing on the cake. But it also meant I had enough left over for cupcakes! See below for recipe.

Chocolate Malteser Cake
From “Feast" by Nigella Lawson 
For the cake
  • 150g soft brown sugar (muscavado sugar is best for flavour)
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 175ml milk
  • 15g unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons Horlicks powder
  • 175g plain flour
  • 25g cocoa, sieved
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

For the icing and decoration
  • 250g icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa
  • 45g Horlicks
  • 125g soft unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons boiling water
  • 2 x 37g packets Maltesers

Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 3/170C. Butter and line two 20cm loose-bottomed sandwich cake tins with baking parchment.

Whisk together the sugars and eggs until light and frothy. Heat the milk, butter and Horlicks powder in a small saucepan until the butter has melted and the mixture is hot but not boiling. Beat the milk mixture into the eggs a little at a time. Fold in the dry ingredients thoroughly. Divide the cake batter evenly between the two tins and bake in the oven for 25 minutes, by which time the cakes should have risen and will spring back when pressed gently. Let them cool on a rack for about 5-10 minutes and then turn them out of their tins.

Once the cakes are cold, you can get on with the icing. I use a processor just because it makes life easier: you don’t need to sieve the icing sugar. So: put the icing sugar, cocoa and Horlicks in the processor and blitz to remove all lumps. Add the butter and process again. Stop, scrape down, and start again, pouring the boiling water down the funnel with the motor running until you have a smooth buttercream.

Sandwich the cold sponges with half of the buttercream, and then ice the top with what is left, creating a swirly pattern rather than a smooth surface. Stud the outside edge, about 1cm in, with a ring of Maltesers or use them to decorate the top in which-ever way pleases you.

Makes 8-10 slices.

I bought a big bag of Maltesers and mashed most of them up in a plastic bag with a rolling pin and then pressed them to the sides and the top, then stuck some whole Maltesers on. It really made it look amazing - I took this in for my boss's birthday at work (I'm a kiss-ass) and everyone loved it. I was disappointed though, because I'm critical of myself. 

Anyway, like I said, I used the leftover icing for cupcakes. I stuck it in the fridge and it lasted great for about two weeks, and then I took the cupcakes to the aforementioned hen do. 

I can't remember where I got this recipe. I just googled 'best chocolate cupcakes' and this came up on some random site. They were pretty good!

Chocolate Cupcakes 

  • 1/2 cup (50 grams) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1 cup (240 ml) boiling hot water
  • 1 1/3 cups (175 grams) all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 - Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly butter, or line 16 muffin cups with paper liners.

2 - In a small bowl stir until smooth the boiling hot water and the cocoa powder. Let cool to room temperature.

3 - In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

4 - Then in the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth. Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and beat only until incorporated. Then add the cooled cocoa mixture and stir until smooth.

5 - Fill each muffin cup two-thirds full with batter and bake for about 16-20 minutes or until risen, springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, frost with icing. You can either spread the frosting on the cupcakes with a small spatula or if piping, using a large Wilton 1M open star tip to make lovely swirls.

Makes 14-16 cupcakes.

My leftover icing meant I could really pile it onto the cupcakes so it was all thick and luscious. And piped icing ALWAYS looks good, even if you're a bit rubbish! Check it. I bought a piping bag from Amazon which made it so much easier.

I'm my own worst critic and I would say these weren't the best chocolate cupcakes ever. They were a bit too dense for my taste. But everyone else said they were amazing, and even though I took the full amount to the hen do, I only managed to get half a cupcake. They went FAST. I'm still trying to make the perfect cupcakes, though. I've had some awesomely light and fluffy ones in the past, and so I will not rest until I've made some that are just as good. The battle continues!  

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