A Cupcake for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Just to let you know, this post was written before I started the paleo diet to help ease my psoriasis. Nowadays I eat a more allergy-friendly diet, but leave these older, non-paleo posts up in case they are useful to readers, as I know not everyone eats the same as I do. Thanks for your understanding. 

55,000 people are diagnosed with breast cancer each year - and its not just women that are affected - 400 of these people are men. And when I discovered that this month is Breast Cancer Awareness Month I wanted to do something to help. 

breast cancer cupcakes with strawberry

It's often said that cancer affects one in three of us - if not us personally then someone close to us. I've been directly affected by breast cancer, losing my grandmother at a fairly young age to the disease, when I was a teenager. When she was diagnosed, there wasn't the publicity about it as there is now. As I understand it, she felt a lump in her breast one day but dismissed it, thinking it would go away. It never did. Thanks to the work of the various cancer charities, there's so much information available to anyone worried or affected by all types of cancer, and they constantly encourage us to check ourselves and report any changes to our doctor. I like to think that if my Nan had been diagnosed today, she would have had a better chance of survival. All because of important research, increased publicity and the support given to people by these charities. 

So I made a cake. A special one. The cake is chocolate, with a strawberry inside. When you cut into it it looks a bit like a heart, as well as taste blimmin' delicious. Each cake is topped with pale pink fondant, and a slightly darker pink ribbon, resembling the breast cancer ribbon worn by so many people who support breast cancer charities and raise awareness of the disease. 

Pink Chocolate Cupcakes with a Strawberry Surprise
Makes 12. 
120g softened, salted butter
120g golden (unrefined) caster sugar
2 eggs
25g cocoa powder (I use Bourneville)
1 tsp vanilla essence
120g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder

250g white fondant (ready to roll) icing
a few drops pink food colouring
12 small strawberries

First, mix together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Crack in the eggs and then the vanilla and cocoa powder. Give the whole thing a good mix together and when smooth, fold in the flour and baking powder. Divide between 12 cupcake cases and bake at 200ÂșC for 18-20 minutes until springy to the touch. Cool completely. (Don't attempt to start the next stage until the cakes are fully cooled - while warm they have a tendency to crumble apart, so it's definitely worth waiting for this.)

Once the cakes have cooled, take a small, sharp knife and chisel a triangular-shaped hole into the top and centre of the cupcake. Remove the piece of cake and very gently ease a washed and fully-dried strawberry into the hole. Cut the top of the strawberry if it sticks out, so it is flush with the top of the cake. 

To make the icing, knead the fondant until smooth and pliable, adding 2-3 drops of pink food colouring as you go. Once you have a uniform, pink fondant dust a board with a little icing sugar and roll out to about 3-4mm thick. Using an up-turned glass or a cookie cutter, stamp out circles and place these over the top of your strawberry-filled cupcakes. With the remaining fondant, colour this a shade or two darker with the pink colouring and roll out into a narrow strip. Cut sections of the strip and twist to form a little ribbon-shape. Gently place on top of the cupcake and serve. 

If you'd like to donate to this worthwhile cause, visit the Breast Cancer Care website for more details. Charities such as this one rely on donations to provide information and support to those affected by the disease.