Rachel Allen was brought up in Dublin and left home at eighteen to study at the world-famous Ballymaloe Cookery School. Rachel is now a busy ...
100 g (31/2 oz) butter, softened
150 g (5oz) caster sugar
125 ml (41/2 fl oz) milk
175 g (6oz) plain flour
25 g (1oz) cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
for the chocolate honeycomb topping
150 g (5oz) butter, softened
2 tblsp double or regular cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
350 g (12oz) icing sugar
2 tblsp cocoa powder
about 12 tbsp honeycomb pieces to decorate
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4), and line the muffin tray with the paper cases.
Cream the butter until soft in a large bowl or in an electric food mixer. Add the sugar and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Whisk the eggs together in a small bowl for a few seconds or just until mixed, then gradually add them to the butter mixture, beating all the time.
Pour in the milk and beat until mixed. Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt and mix gently to combine.
Divide the mixture between the muffin cases, filling each case two thirds full. Bake for 20–25 minutes or until well risen and lightly springy to the touch.
Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then remove from the tray and place on a wire rack to finish cooling down.
Whilst cooling, using a hand-held electric beater or an electric food mixer beat together the butter, cream and vanilla extract until very soft. Then gradually sift in the icing sugar and the cocoa powder, beating all the time, until fully incorporated. Continue to beat until very soft, then (if using a food mixer) whisk the mixture until it is light and fluffy.
Pipe or spread the icing (using a palette knife or the back of a spoon) onto the cooled cupcakes. Then sprinkle over the honeycomb pieces, allowing about a tablespoon per cupcake. I like to try and include a mixture of small and large chunks.