Tuesday, 5 November 2013

A Firecracker of a Cupcake

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 butter
200g plain chocolate (up to 70% cocoa solids)
200g light, soft brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
250g self-raising flour

For icing:
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.


  1. The cupcakes look wonderfully like fireworks and starbursts. Like the gorgeous fireworks I thrilled to at our local agricultural show on the weekend. We don't really celebrate Bonfire Night/Guy Fawkes in Australia, so hadn't registered the date until I was too near sleep. So thank you for this delightful post. I trust your friend was delighted with your culinary and creative works. Your top is fun in its sparkles - and shades of Alice in Wonderland, I think.

  2. Thank you very much! I'm glad you can see the fireworks and starbursts in them. My friend seemed very pleased and surprised, which was indeed nice.

  3. Care to FedEx a few of those scrumptious cupcakes my way? It's only mid-afternoon my energy level is already long gone and I sure bet these would pack a good wallop - or firecracker's punch - or sudden (and entirely scrumptious) energy. Seriously though, they really look delicious and I love that you backed sweet treats for this classic celebration (which isn't celebrated on this side of the unfortunately, save perhaps amongst expats).

    I wanted to tell you how very much I appreciate and was touched by your wonderful comment on today's post. Your response to the "what decade are you wearing question" (which I get all the time, too - no joke, I was asked it about eight or nine times the second to last time I went out; answer that day, 1950s) is awesome and reminds me of one of my answers to "What are you celebrating?" question that's another common one. To that, I love to say (because it's true), "life itself" because every day, even the ones that you'd rather forget, is ultimately worth celebrating because you were blessed to be alive and experience it.

    ♥ Jessica