It's Guy Fawkes Night! I wore my best sparkly top to work in honour of the day, with its evening promises of joyous, wonderful and magical fireworks going off in all directions.
As well as being Guy Fawkes Night (or Bonfire Night), today is also the birthday of one of my dear friends. All her recent time has been occupied with pulling together a portfolio for a big, impressive professional qualification, which she was submitting today. So, figuring that baking a birthday cake would be the last thing on her mind as she applied the finishing touches last night, I took it upon myself to bake one for her... or rather, a series of wee cupcakes.
But I couldn't overlook the fact that it was also Guy Fawkes as well, so I attempted to give them a fireworky look, with edible glitter and pearly things.
Not being sure what her favourite type of cake was, I just went with chocolate cake. Everyone likes chocolate cake, right? And the recipe (found on BBC Good Food and reproduced below) was dead easy. It was the beautifying of the cupcakes that was the most taxing, as I vainly attempted to make convincing starbursts...
200g plain chocolate (up to 70% cocoa solids)
200g light, soft brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
250g self-raising flour
200g plain chocolate
100ml double-cream (I used extra thick double-cream...)
50g icing sugar
Heat the oven to 160C/140C fan and line a muffin tin with cupcake cases. Gently melt the butter, chocolate, sugar and 100ml hot water together in a saucepan, stirring occasionally, then set aside to cool a little while you weigh the other ingredients.
Stir the eggs and vanilla extract into the chocolate mixture. Put the flour into a large mixing bowl, then stir in the chocolate mixture until smooth. Spoon into cases until just over three-quarters full, then set aside for 5 minutes before putting on a low shelf in the overn and baking for 20-22 minutes.
For the icing, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Once melted, turn off the heat, stir in the cream and sift in the icing sugar.
Happy Bonfire Night! Hope everyone in the UK has a lovely night, celebrating and enjoying it in whatever way you choose. And I encourage everyone else around the world, wherever you are, to twirl a sparkler or bake some sparkly cakes, in your own personal celebration of early November.