Chocolate Cupcakes


5oz plain flour
1oz unsweetened good-quality cocoa powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
2¼oz unsalted butter, at room temperature
8oz castor sugar
2 large free-range eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
5½fl oz milk (the recipe actually calls for buttermilk, but I keep forgetting to buy it).

Preheat the oven to 350F/180C and line 12 muffin tin cups with paper cupcake liners.

Sift the flour, cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda into a medium bowl and set aside.

Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl until smoothly blended – about two minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until each is blended into the batter.

Add the vanilla and beat for another minute. On a low speed, add half of the flour mixture, mixing to incorporate it, then mix in the milk. Mix in the remaining flour mixture just until it is incorporated and the batter looks smooth.

Fill the cupcake liners half full.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the tops feel firm and a metal skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cupcakes from the oven and cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack, then remove the cupcakes from the pan onto the wire rack and leave to cool completely.

They can be topped with buttercream if so desired.

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