You may be used to my experiments in chocolate by now, for the We Should Cocoa Challenge run by Chocolate Teapot and Chocolate Log Blog. Well May's challenge is hosted by Laura from the How to Cook Good Food blog and the aim is to create a recipe using both chocolate and almonds. It took me a while to dream this up, but when I finally got round to making it I knew that it would be good. The cakes are made with ground almonds and cocoa powder in the mixture, drizzled with a glossy dark chocolate ganache and then topped with a caramelised whole almond for decoration and crunch. The recipe has quite a few extra steps in it, but don't let that put you off. Making the ganache is even easier than your average buttercream icing and it doesn't even take very long to dry. It's all very easy and so worth it for the flavour of this cake, nibbled alongside sips of your favourite cuppa. My children also loved this, but for them I just removed the whole almond.
Chocolate and Almond Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache and Caramelised Whole Almond
Makes 12-16, depending on the size of the muffin tin/cupcake cases
For the cakes:
- 175g unsalted butter, softened
- 100 soft light brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 70g caster sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 140g plain flour
- 80g ground almonds
- 4 tbsp cocoa powder
- half teaspoon French almond extract
- 2-3 tbsp milk, to loosen the mixture
For the ganache:
- 100ml single cream
- 80g plain chocolate (I used Bourneville)
- quarter teaspoon almond extract
For the caramelised almonds:
- 12-16 whole almonds (one for each cake)
- 70g demerara sugar
- splash of water (about 1 tbsp)
- Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a muffin tray with cupcake cases - I used a silicone cupcake mould for these, without cases.
- Cream together the butter and the two sugars until smooth. Crack in the eggs and mix well. Add the other ingredients and stir to create a smooth, dark batter. Divide between the cupcake cases/moulds and bake for 25 minutes, or until a cocktail stick emerges clean when speared into the cakes.
- While they're baking, get on with the caramelised almonds. In a small frying pan, heat the demerara sugar and a splash of water until it forms a sticky caramel. Tip in the almonds, turning each one with a spoon or tongs to make sure they are all coated. Lift each one out and leave to dry on a piece of greasproof paper.
- When the cakes are completely cooled, make the ganache. You can do this in a saucepan over the hob or I do it in the microwave. Just pour the cream into a glass jug and break in the chocolate pieces. Microwave for about 30 seconds, until the cream is hot and the chocolate has started to melt. Stir in the almond extract until smooth, dark and glossy.
- Spoon the ganache over the cupcakes, letting it dribble down the sides, and before it sets just place a caramelised almond on the top. Leave to cool completely.
Have you tried chocolate and almonds together? What are your favourite chocolate/almond foods?