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Tamara Jane's Recipe - Chocolate Cupcakes - 7 August

Chocolate Cupcakes

Makes 24

185g butter
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
380g castor sugar
3 eggs
300g self raising flour
100g cocoa powder
1 cup water

Preheat the oven to 175degC. Line two 12-hole muffin trays with cupcake papers.
Place all the ingredients except the walnuts into a large bowl. Beat on low speed with electric beaters until just combined. Continue to beat on medium speed until the mixture is smooth and lighter in colour.
Divide the mixture between the trays. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until the centre of the cake springs back when lightly pushed.
Allow to cool on rack.
Once cool ice with chocolate frosting and decorate with chocolate cut-outs and chocolate filigree.

Chocolate Frosting

250g butter
500g icing sugar
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla essence

Beat the butter with electric beaters until well softened. Add half of the icing sugar, half the cocoa powder and half the milk. Beat until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl and add the remaining ingredients, including the vanilla. Beat again until the mix is light and smooth. If the frosting seems stiff, add a little more milk.

Dark Chocolate Ganache

400g Dark Chocolate
375ml cream
Melt the chocolate and cream together over a double boiler, or on low heat in the microwave.  Allow to cool and spread onto the cupcakes.

Chocolate Cut-outs

250g chocolate, dark, white or milk
Small cutter
Baking paper
Offset palette knife

Melt the chocolate in the microwave or in a bowl over gently simmering water. Stir until smooth.
Spread the chocolate over the baking paper and leave to semi set. If the chocolate is too hard is will be brittle and difficult to cut.
Using a cutter, push into the chocolate and remove the cut out shape. If the chocolate is too soft you can press the cutter into the chocolate then leave the chocolate to finish setting before removing the shape.
The chocolate may also be cut into squares and triangles using a sharp knife. If the chocolate is too hard to cut, the knife can be warmed in boiling water, wiped dry then used to cut the chocolate.

Chocolate Filigree Decorations

Baking paper
200g white compound chocolate
200g dark compound chocolate
Traced designs
Powder colour for chocolate

Make a piping bag. Melt the chocolates in separate bowls either in the microwave on low, or over a pan of simmering water. Stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth.
Lay a piece of baking paper over the traced designs.
Half fill one of the piping bags with white chocolate and fold the top to seal. Snip the point off the piping bag and begin to pipe over the chosen design.
Allow to set completely before gently lifting off the paper with a knife.
Repeat with the dark chocolate and use the decorations to decorate your cakes.
White chocolate may be coloured using powder food colour. Do not use liquid colouring as this will thicken the chocolate and make it hard to pipe. Mix a very small amount of powder into the melted white chocolate and stir until the powder is evenly blended. Use in the same way as you would to make the piped decorations above.