At first glance it might seem that I am just a happy, normal girl who loves to bake and walk her dog. However, I have suffered with an eating disorder since I was 13. It was only in May 2014 when I realised that this Voice in my head was slowly but surely trying to kill me. And so began the long, hard, and painful journey which is recovery...

I want My Cocoa Stained Apron to be a special place...a place for reflection, memories, shared stories...and of course a little bit of cocoa-staining ;) Recovery might be the hardest thing you ever choose to do in this life. But it is also the bravest and best decision you will ever make.:)

Friday, 31 October 2014

Happy Halloween Cupcakes.:)

I know, I know...I only posted some cupcakes a few days ago; why on earth am I making even MORE cupcakes I hear you cry? is Halloween. So something Halloweeny had to be made, of course. And so yet even more frightfully cute cupcakes were whipped up today, with a spooky little Halloween touch to them.

Errrrr.... ok, before we proceed any further. You do know what these little shapes are meant to be, don't you? The reason I ask being, that my Daddy didn't. My Mam did though, thankfully, so I haven't lost hope in my piping skills completely. Well yes, maybe Daddy is right in saying the next time, I should make the pumpkins orange, and make the spiders more fearsome looking...he claims they resembled less like scary Halloween spiders and more like jolly, twinkley-eyed little octopuses. 

  • 125 g butter/margarine, softened
  • 150 g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 175 g self-raising flour
  • 5 tbsp full-fat milk + 3 tsp extra
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • few drops of red food colouring
For the ganache and icings:
  • 100 ml single cream
  • 100 g plain chocolate
  • 75 g icing sugar
  • 30 g butter, softened
  • few drops vanilla essence/extract
  • a little cream/milk as required

  • Preheat the oven to 180c/fan 160. Line a muffin pan with 12 muffin cases.
  • Beat the butter or margarine in a bowl until really soft, then add the sugar, the eggs and the vanilla. Beat well for about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl after a minute so that it is all nicely incorporated.
  • Sieve in the flour and pour in the 5 tbsp of milk. Gently fold in with a big metal spoon.
  • Transfer half of the cake batter into another big bowl and sieve in the cocoa. Add the 3 tsp of extra milk and mix gently together. The batter should be of a nice, soft, dropping consistency: add a little extra milk if it's a little thick.
  • To the other half, add a few drops of food colouring. (I used red but of's up to you. :) ) 
  • Drop alternative spoonfuls of the two batters into the muffin cases, filling each three-quarters full. Once you've done this, swirl a thin skewer in each one to get the lovely marbled effect. 
  • Bake the cupcakes for about 17-20 minutes, until well-risen and springy to the touch - if you press the top of one gently with a fingertip, it should spring back. If an indention is left bake for a few more minutes and then test again.
  • Leave in the muffin pan for about two or three minutes, and then move to a wire rack to cool.
  • Make the dark choc ganache by melting the 100g plain chocolate with 100 ml single cream, on a very low heat in a small saucepan. Stir until smooth and then refrigerate for about 1 ½ - 2 hours, checking after 1 ½ hours…you don’t want it very hard, just a nice spreadable consistency.
  • When the cupcakes are completely cold, spread them with a generous layer of ganache.
  • Make the vanilla buttercream by beating the 30g butter/margarine until very soft, then sieve in the icing sugar. Beat together to get a nice soft creamy icing, adding a little cream/milk if necessary. 
  • Spoon into an icing bag fitted with a plain nozzle and then pipe shapes on top of the dark chocolate ganache. Pumpkins, ghosts, spiders, and a witch's hat (which looked anything but that in my case, but anyway...) were what I came up with...though of course there are many more possibilities. Just don't make them too ghoulish or you might put people off eating them. Oh, well, I suppose you are right...whether cuteness or scariness is involved or not, noone is ever really going to refuse a cupcake. ;)

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