While I’m definitely a summer girl through and through there’s still something quite magical to me about the autumn. From the end of summer until Christmas day it’s like the weekend of winter, the best bit. There’s excitement in the air, cosy nights in are relished and layering up in woollen jumpers and scarfs is a novelty to be enjoyed. There’s a lot to look forward to, first Halloween then bonfire night and the build up to Christmas where the streets are decked with twinkly lights and everyone is in the mood to celebrate.
I like the change in food that the colder weather brings, big batches of soups and stews bubble away on my stove while bread and cakes bake in the oven. Having said that once Christmas is over the magic of winter definitely fades very quickly, if before Christmas is the weekend of winter then January-March is the Monday! The whole period feels bleak and frugal, no fun at all.
So I like to cling on to the wonder of these months for as long as possible and make the most of all the season has to offer. To build up lots of happy memories to get me through the rest of the winter. Baking and autumn go hand in hand, there’s nothing more cosy than a warm kitchen on a chilly day! I think I bake more than ever during these months, stocking up the freezer and gifting friends and family with delicious bakes and treats.
These cupcakes really encapsulate the magic of this time of year. They’re really indulgent and look very special, plus the toasted marshmallow topping to me is exactly what Bonfire night is all about! If you don’t have a blowtorch put the cakes back into the muffin tray before icing then flash under a hot grill until golden brown.
This isn’t the simplest icing to make but it’s well worth the effort, however if you like the sound of the cakes but think the icing seems a bit of a faff then top with a classic buttercream instead. Vanilla would work really well or fold some of the caramel through for an extra indulgent topping!
Chocolate, Salted Caramel & Toasted Marshmallow Bonfire Cupcakes
Makes 21 cakes
250g butter, at room temperature
250g light soft brown sugar
4 large eggs, beaten
175g self-raising flour
75g cocoa powder
½ tsp baking powder
2 tbsp espresso coffee, cooled
½ jar carnation caramel
1/2 tsp sea salt
350g granulated sugar
250g two chicks eggs whites
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Line 21 holes of two 12 hole muffin trays with paper cases, black, silver or gold look really good. Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5.
Beat the butter and the sugar using electric hand mixers or a stand mixer until combined and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the beaten egg a little at a time beating well between each addition. Fold in the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and coffee until no floury patches remain. Use a spoon or ice cream scoop to divide all the mixture between the cases, they should be about ¾’s full. Bake for 19 minutes then remove and allow to cool for 10 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack to cool fully. Turn the oven up to 200C.
Mix the caramel with the sea salt. Use a melon baller to scoop a small hole from the middle of each cake, fill with a spoon of caramel.
Tip the granulated sugar onto a tray lined with non-stick parchment, heat in the oven for 5 minutes. Meanwhile heat 1 inch of water in a saucepan on a medium heat. Set the bowl of your stand mixer on the pan with the egg whites and vinegar and add the warmed sugar. Beat with electric hand mixers for 6 minutes, until thickened and voluminous. Remove and put the bowl back into your stand mixer and whisk on a high speed using the whisk attachment for 8 minutes, then add the vanilla and beat for another minute. Tip into a piping bag fitted with a circle tip.
Pipe swirls onto each cake, see video, then blowtorch or grill until golden brown.