The most important lesson we’ve learned about picnic cakes is that they need to be relatively mess and melt proof, and easy to pack. Cupcakes with a fuss-free icing are our definite picnic default. In fact, ganache in particular sets quickly, so most of the icing will still be on the cake when you get to your destination!
Prep Time: 20-25 mins Cook time: 30-40 minutes
Makes about 12 cupcakes
1 cup/ 225g softened butter (unsalted)
1 cup/225g caster sugar
1 1/2 cups/180g self-raising flour
1/2 cup/65g good cocoa powder
3 medium eggs
2 tbsps milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
70 g 90% cocoa chocolate (if you can only find 75% that’s fine too)
70g 40% cocoa chocolate
1/3 cup/ 100ml double cream
Set the oven to 150 deg c . Grease your bakeware. We don’t use wrappers for this cupcake beause we dunk the top of the cupcake into the ganache and it looks messy if there’s a wrapper (all the ganache gets stuck onto it). We use silicone bakeware and even then prefer to grease it, but very lightly. Then we place the bakeware on a baking tray, ready to fill when the batter is ready.
Sift the flour and the cocoa powder together and set aside.
Beat the butter and sugar together until it’s pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well to incorporate. If you notice some separation when you put in the third egg, don’t worry, just beat until it’s as incorporated as possible. Sometimes, if you happen to use slightly larger eggs this can happen. Add the vanilla extract. Once mixed in, add the flour and cocoa mix. Add half first and fold in and then add the other half and fold. Add the milk and gently mix in. Don’t beat it in as you want to be introducing air into the cake now.You want to be able to draw a number 8 through your batter with the back of your wooden spoon, and for the 8 to gradually fade. If it disappears immediately, it’s too watery, if it holds it’s shape and doesn’t start fading, it needs a little more milk.
Our aunt Rani is a fabulous baker and her tip is that you want to be able to draw a number 8 through your batter with the back of your wooden spoon, and for the 8 to gradually fade. If it disappears immediately, it’s too watery, add a bit more sifted flour (tablespoon by tablespoon to get the right consistency) if it holds it’s shape and doesn’t start fading, it needs a little more milk.
Fill the cupcake tin or cases until about 3/4 full. And then pop it in the oven for about 15 minutes and then rotate the tin or cases and bake another 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Rotating helps the tops of the cupcakes brown evenly.
Once done, set the tin or tray it on a wire rack to cool completely. Once they are cooled then make the ganache. Making it earlier will cause it to ‘set’ too much. Break up and melt the chocolate (both kinds) together in a bowl set over simmering water. Once melted, add the double cream and gently mix until well incorporated. (If the ganache sets halfway, just put the bowl over some boiling water so it loosens up again. Don’t pour any water in!)
Carefully pick up a cooled cupcake and dip the top of into the ganache. Make sure the whole top of the cake gets dunked in or you’ll get a patchy finish. As you lift it, twist clockwise, gently. This will prevent the ganache from dripping too much down the sides. We don’t mind the drip though, gives it a more home-made look! Repeat with all the cupcakes.
We used cake crumbs and chunks of chocolate to decorate but you can use anything really – chopped nuts, coloured sprinkles, chocolate buttons…then pack it carefully in a cake tin , box or tupperware for your picnic!
x Anu &Suba