I went for a walk today as it was beautiful out – one of those crisp, sunny cold winter days. There was frost on the ground, and it made everything crunch as the crystals were huge.
As I walked over last year’s dead leaves with their glittery coating, I stopped to take dozens of pictures, as the contrast of the dull and dead with the sparkly really appealed to me.
On the way home, because I was starting to feel a bit cold, my thoughts turned to baking. And so I made some winter walk cupcakes. I wanted something dark to suggest the earth and leaves, so it had to be chocolate. But I wanted depth and earthiness. I looked for Chinese Five Spice, but somehow I have managed to run out, so I used pepper, cloves, aniseed and ginger. I had a bit of creme fraiche in the fridge, so I used that instead of milk to give a deeper, earthier taste.
Winter-spice chocolate cupcakes
* 200g self raising flour
* 150g caster sugar
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
* 50g cocoa
* 175g butter
* 125 ml sour cream (I think – it was about half a tub)
* 2 large eggs
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* spices (as above)
I mixed the whole lot in a food processor, but you could make this the old fashioned (sugar into butter, add dry ingredients, add the rest) way. Then it went into muffin tins and into the oven at 160C for about 15 minutes.
When they were cool, I added a cream cheese and lemon frosting – I wanted something a bit sharp, to suggest the frost. And then, of course, I had to add some glitter. I had some white edible glitter just made for these cakes.