Haphazard Baking with Rachel Allen | Chocolate & Peanut Butter Cupcakes

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I’ve been at it again. As soon as I wrapped from the film, firstly I slept and attempted to get warm, then I baked. This time I challenged myself. I a) used a proper recipe book written by a proper cook and b) it wasn’t vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream!

I took this recipe from Rachel Allen’s cook book ‘Home Cooking’. Fun fact for you all, I’ve had this cook book for about 4 years. It only found the kitchen around 6 months ago (because I was having a sort out and decided the fancy looking cook books that look like cook books (Rachel Allen and Jamie Oliver) should go in the kitchen) and this was the first time I actually opened it. There’s a lot of cool stuff in there. I might actually crack it’s spine again soon!

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Admittedly I was looking for a carrot cake recipe because I have carrots to eat and don’t want to eat them. However, this caught my eye and I thought, ‘hey I could get rid of that peanut butter I bought ages ago, that I thought would be a good idea but now I hate.’ So I dug out my coco powder, dusted off my scales and set about making a massive mess once again. Problem is, I’m a half hearted cook. I generally don’t use recipes because I get bored easily and just go ‘eh, whack it all in.’ This is why I don’t make meringue. Too fiddly.

I liked the first bit of the method. Put all the dry stuff in a bowl and mix. Your cocoa powder, your plain flour, your salt, your baking powder and your caster sugar. Mixy mix and tada! A chocolatey, floury bowl of dry stuff. First bit done.

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Then comes the point where I didn’t prioritise correctly. It says melted butter (cooled). So I melted the butter, I knew I had to melt the butter first. I did that thing your meant to do and read the entire recipe first (oh, my old catering teacher would be proud. Especially after the blender debacle and the time I nearly chopped off an entire finger. See, I learnt something!) Yet, I didn’t follow it int he correct order so melted the butter now. Then in an impatient and blind panic I put the warm melted butter in the fridge to cool. No biggie. It worked.

Then I broke my two, still a little bit cold but mostly room temperature eggs into the bowl. Wunderbar. Then I put in my cold milk that I didn’t think to bring to room temperature because milk is meant to be cold and I’m an idiot. Hello slightly solidified, lumpy butter, eggy mixture. So, I did what any discerning cook would do. Dumped it all in to the flour mix, crossed my fingers and stirred rapidly (even if the instructions said pour bit by bit.)

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Amazingly it worked and I had a smooth batter. Then it said to add the peanut butter and to ‘ripple’ it through. How the heck do I ripple through this? Especially because I thought I had smooth peanut butter but all I actually had was crunchy and it was hard as… well something hard. It had been in the fridge and to reiterate my previous point, butter is meant to be cold and I’m an idiot and didn’t think about it.

After giving up rippling and just mixing it all in, the instructions were to fill the cases up ‘quite full’. So, I filled them to the top as you do. I did second guess myself but I had already done it. The worse that can happen is HUGE cupcakes and an extra few minutes in the oven. Surprisingly after 20 minutes, they actually came out cooked and looking edible! Huzzah! Cooking success!

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The chunky peanut butter actually worked well also. There was still a subtle taste of peanut butter throughout the cakes and the chunks of peanut added a nice texture to them.

Then I got ambitious and thought I would attempt the fudge glaze too. Ooooo. Ahhhhh. After an approximation of ingredients (who needs to measure stuff), I shoved it in a bowl (and ate a bit) and melted it down into a shiny looking, runny, gloop. I used the ‘bain-marie’ method to melt it all together. I have no idea how to temper anything so I just waited for it to look like chocolate sauce and it worked. Coat the cupcakes and add whatever you want. I have to admit, they were pretty yummy. Rachel Allen, I thank you!

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