My friends are not domestic goddesses. They are smart, fearless, fun, funny, hard-working, hard-playing, and many, many things besides, but domestic goddesses they are not. None of them spend their lives continually enveloped in clouds of sweet baking scents, humming cheery tunes while cooking home-grown fruits into jams and mixing their men stiff drinks to enjoy with the paper on the couch after a long day at the office.
Honestly: goodness forbid.
However, they are smart women and not averse to creating the impression of being a little more Martha Stewart than they are. Never know when it might come in handy to have people think you could bake Oreos from scratch, if need be. (What? You’ve never wanted to figure out how to do that? I say it is ubercool to be able to recreate Oreos.) Which is why my eating club pal A. was well-chuffed when her sister told her “I believe you always stock everything needed to bake excellent chocolate cupcakes at a moment’s notice.”
Why no, she does not. But she is not sorry that her nearest and dearest rate her baking skills highly enough to assume.
Luckily for you, she is also generous. She won’t mind if I share one of her baking secrets with you. It is a way to get moist, seriously chocolatey cupcakes with a little something extra effortlessly right every time. In fact, these will bring you a little closer to domestic divinity, or so the title of the book they come from promises: How To Be a Domestic Goddess, by Nigella Lawson. I have baked them on quite a few occasions after she first told me about them, and feel a little more like a deity every time.
What Nigella has you do is mix a batter based on melted chocolate, butter, eggs, flour and jam (the little something extra). Then you bake the mixture, cool the cakes and top them with an icing made of more chocolate and cream (or let them go naked, if you are lazy like me). For the final touch, you can decorate them with a glazed cherry. Easy-peasy, but the result is so much better than you’d expect. I myself have never yet baked a dry cupcake with this recipe (and I am shamefully prone to overbaking), and have had requests for the recipe more times than for any other baked good I’ve ever made.
And that, my lovelies, feels pretty divine indeed.
The full recipe is here. I am submitting this instead of the recipe for the lemon cakes I showed you before taking off for Italy. I, uhr… can’t quite remember how I made them… Have decided to be more thorough about recipe notes and posts (more on that later), but that doesn’t help for right now. Please accept my sincere apologies.