Valentine’s Day isn’t popular here, as for a long time we didn’t know it existed (being occupied we didn’t know about a lot of things that the rest of the world happily consumed, celebrated or savored). It also is too close to another important date – 16th of February, the day we became independent for the first time, this happened in 1918. So I guess it will never be very important for an ordinary Lithuanian, maybe just for the young school kids, who see it as an opportunity to secretly express their love, or for the businessmen, who want to sell more flowers, champagne and little tacky things.
Well, I got a card from my admirer and, to make this day at least a bit special, decided to bake some cupcakes. This recipe can be found in a book by Martha Swift and Lisa Thomas “Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery”, where it is presented as a perfect winter dessert!
You will need:
115g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
90g butter at room temperature
175g caster sugar
Grated zest and juice of one orange
2 large eggs
185g plain flour
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
½ teaspoon of baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon of skimmed milk at room temperature
Preheat the oven to 160ºC (fan).
Break the chocolate into pieces and melt it. This can be done in two ways: 1) in a microwave – on a medium setting in 30s bursts, stirring between each session; 2) in a bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water.
In a large bowl cream the butter, sugar and orange zest until the mixture is pale and smooth. Add the eggs and beat again briefly.
Combine the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Mix the milk and orange juice in a jug.
Add the chocolate to the cream mixture and beat on a low speed until the mixture is just combined. Add one third of the flour mix and beat until it all comes together. Add half of the juice/milk mix and beat again. Repeat these steps until all of the ingredients are in.
Spoon the mixture into cupcake cases. Make sure you fill just two-thirds. Bake in the oven for about 28-30 minutes.
They can be decorated with some chocolate buttercream, but I think they are really nice even without it!
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