Cheeky chocolate chip cupcakes

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Tuesday was National Cake Day. Much to my horror, I didn’t discover this until I saw an errant tweet at 7.30pm. I simply had to bake something to celebrate my discovery, so I decided to experiment with one of my favourite – and the most simple – baking recipes of all time: the humble chocolate chip cake.

I was inspired by one of my favourite chocolate bars: Green & Black’s Maya Gold. What could be better than a chocolate chip cupcake that also taste of orange and spices? Not much in my humble opinion.

The reason I decided to call these ‘cheeky chocolate chip cupcakes’ is due to the Cointreau-laced orange syrup I made to add the Maya Gold inspired flavour.  The spice comes from ground cinnamon and nutmeg syrup (you could use grated nutmeg instead!).

I made the syrup using fresh orange juice, Cointreau and golden caster sugar; it took about 10 minutes to reduce on a gentle heat. I cooked it down in a heavy bottomed Le Creuset saucepan; I find these best for making sauces and syrups (you don’t have to use Le Creuset, any heavy or copper bottomed pan will do). You could use good orange extract instead.

The cakes came out a deep golden colour and smelt lovely: just like I’d hoped! They tasted pretty damn good too (even better the next day) – not bad for a tarted up chocolate chip cupcake!

All in all, it only took me about 20 minutes to prep and 18 minutes to bake, which is pretty good going if you’re craving a sweet treat! Ingredients list and method below… Happy baking!

Let me know if you try my recipe out using the comment box below; I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Ingredients (to make 10 muffins)

4oz unrefined golden caster sugar
4oz unsalted butter
2 eggs (free range – best you can afford!)
4oz self raising flour
½ tsp baking powder
4oz dark chocolate chips (you could use milk chocolate instead)
Orange syrup made with juice of half a navel orange, four shots of Cointreau and 2tbsp of unrefined golden caster sugar.
Grated nutmeg or squirt of nutmeg syrup to taste
½ tsp cinnamon

Method

1) Preheat the oven to 180 (gas mark 4 – I have a Falcon fan oven so you will need to adjust if yours isn’t fan to 200 / around gas mark 6).
2) Line a muffin tin with cake cases.
3) Put the ingredients for the syrup into the pan to reduce.
4) Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
5) Add the eggs one at a time, whole and unbeaten is fine if using an electric hand whisk – if you’re doing it with a wooden spoon then beaten them first and pour it in a little at a time. If the mixture starts to curdle at any point add in a bit of the flour – this will stop it and won’t affect the final mixture!
7) Once all the egg is incorporated, beat your mix until it is really fluffy and you shouldn’t be able to fill any individual grains of sugar any more.
8) Now you’re ready to fold your flour in (in a figure of eight movement, turning the bowl as you go to keep in as much air as possible) – if you use good flour there really is no need to sift it anymore. I always use a metal spoon like my Granny taught me, so I don’t knock the air out. You can also use a spatula to do this but I don’t find it as effective.
9) Once all the flour is mixed in, stir through the chocolate chips and poor in the cooled syrup. This is how the mix should look…

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10) Portion the mixture into the muffin cases.
11) Bake for 18-20 minutes.
12) Take out of the oven and check they are done – my favourite way to do this is to use a clean cocktail stick, inserted into the middle. If it comes out clean, the cake is done.
13) Cool, EAT and enjoy!

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