Chocolate Cupcakes with Sour Cream Icing

It seems I am without words today. I have opened this post up at least a dozen times and sat, waiting for the screen to fill. It hasn’t and I’ve closed it down again that same dozen times. Until now, when it just seems inevitable to let the pictures do the talking. I think it’s because I was typing field-notes today, into nice, space related sections and that used up all my words. I’ve been trying to make sense of the last six weeks of field work and the best way to do that, I think, is to examine what has been happening in the different spaces. That way I can see themes coming through. The good news is that there are themes. I’m not one hundred percent sure on them yet – given that I have months of observation ahead of me, that is not altogether surprising – but there are certain things which have caught my eye. At the moment I’m simply writing them into spaces – the dining hall, the classroom, the farm – and letting the ideas I have sit, in the back of my mind, mellowing, like pink pigs in mud.

These cupcakes went on an adventure to Dovedale this weekend as part of a friend’s birthday outing. So that’s where the landscape pictures are taken. I made the cupcakes on Friday night, quite late and I only remembered to take photos when the mixture was all made. So that’s why the method photographs are a bit scant.

Chocolate Cupcakes
Makes 12
Adapted from Tea with Bea
60g cocoa powder (I used Green and Blacks)
1/2 cup boiling water
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
65g butter, unsalted, softened
140g dark brown sugar
85g golden granulated sugar
1/4 cup sunflower oil
2 eggs
140g plain flour
3/4tsp bicarbonate of soda

Preheat the oven to 170C and line a muffin tray with cupcake cases. Put the cocoa powder into a bowl and whisk in the boiling water until the mixture is smooth. Whisk in the milk and vanilla and set aside.
Beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Slowly add in the oil and mix until combined. Then add in the eggs, beating well. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Mix together the flour and bicarb. Add the flour in three additions, alternating with the cocoa mixture. I beat the first two additions of flour in with an electric mixer but then folded in the final addition.

Divide the mixture between the cases.

Bake for about 15 minutes. The cupcakes will be risen and will spring back to the touch when done. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a rack.

For the sour cream icing I used a recipe from Annie Bell’s Baking Bible. It only has two ingredients so I didn’t do any adapting. I’ve made it before and I like it because it is so dark and bitter, it contrasts with the sweeter cake. The amount in the book makes enough to ice 12 cupcakes generously.