Chilli-flavoured chocolate is used for this lovely, shiny icing and each cake can be decorated with a whole chilli…munch on it at your own peril! Don’t worry about the heat of the chocolate icing itself, though, as it only has a mild kick.
Cook Time17-20 minutes
- FOR THE CAKE
- 150g unsalted butter, cubed, plus more for the tin
- 2 tsp instant coffee
- 200g 70% coca solid chocolate, broken into pieces
- 140g golden caster sugar
- 60g self-raising flour, sifted
- 5 eggs
- 1/4 tsp salt
- FOR THE ICING
- 65g white caster sugar
- 160g 55-70% cocoa solid chilli-flavoured chocolate, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp golden syrup
- 30g unsalted butter
- 15 red chillies
- Preheat the oven to 170⁰C/ fan 160⁰C/ 340⁰F/ gas mark 3 ½. Place the cupcake cases into the 2 x 12- hole cupcake tins.
- Set a large heatproof bowl over a saucepan of very gently simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl does not touch the water. Dissolve the coffee in 4 tbsp hot water. Add the coffee, chocolate, sugar and butter to the bowl and melt together. Cool a little, then add the flour and mix well until smooth. Tip in the egg yolks, 1 at a time, mixing between each addition.
- Whisk the egg whites with the salt to stiff peaks. Using a large spoon or spatula, fold a big spoonful of egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Once combined, fold in the rest.
- Divide the batter evenly between the cases and bake for 17-20 minutes, or until the cakes spring back to the touch. Don’t worry if they crack in the oven; the icing will cover any fissures. Remove and cool on a wire rack.
- Meanwhile, make the icing. In a heavy-based pan, gently heat together 125ml water, the sugar, chocolate and syrup and bring to the boil, stirring so it doesn’t catch on the bottom of the pan. Stir constantly for about 3 minutes, or until thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter.
- Allow to cool, then spoon over the cupcakes. If the icing becomes too thick before you have finished coating the cakes, simply reheat it very gently. Place a chilli on each cake as you apply the icing, then leave to cool completely and set.
- Alternatively, in case chillies aren’t for you:
Chocolate-vanilla: use unflavoured dark chocolate and add 1 tsp vanilla extract with the butter
Chocolate-mocha: use unflavoured dark chocolate and replace the 125ml water with strong coffee
Bake and Decorate by Fiona Cairns (Quadrille Publishing) Photograph: Laura Hynd