Living by the sea you would have thought that the one thing we have in abundance is natural light. Alas, no. My little house sits under two very large trees which do a spectacualar job of blocking out the light. To make matters worse, there are only two tiny windows in the entire house that actually face out into the world.
For food photography ‘natural light’ is almost a holy phrase, whispered in corners like a sacred truth, or shouted from the roof tops as solid fact. To take decent pictures of food, you need natural light. Well, that’s just something I don’t have. I’m making do with the ‘natural light’ bulb overhead, trying to ignore the shadows it casts, the funny colours it produces and the way that the camera just can’t seem to focus in its glow.
Today though, it really bugged me. You just can’t tell from the pictures how amazing a pile of chopped up, gooey sticky Mars Bar looks piled on top of a cupcake. I sliced them open to the perfect moment, a chunk of chocolate slowly, slowly dropped away from the cake on a ribbon of sticky caramel and landed into a soft puddle. It was beautiful, but you missed it. All because of Natural light, or more precisely, the total lack of it.
I seem to have developed a bit of an obsession for adding rich, gooey things into things which are already gooey and rich enough by themselves. Perhaps adding Creme Eggs into brownies was my first mistake, or maybe it goes back further than that and the Lindor Muffins are to blame. Either way, I’ve crossed a line; I can’t go back.
Mars Bar Cupcakes
(Makes five, very rich and generous, cupcakes)
60g caster sugar
60g self raising flour
2 tbsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
2 tbsp cocoa powder
chocolate butter cream
2 Mars Bars (I used standard size – 53g – but I wouldn’t judge you if you used the big ones)
Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.
Beat in the vanilla essence.
Add the flour and egg and beat together until well combined.
Sift in the cocoa powder. Add the milk and mix.
Roughly chop one Mars Bar. Stir it through the mixture. You will have to work at it for a while to separate the chunks as they do tend to stick together.
Bake in a moderately hot oven for about 15 minutes, or until firm to the touch.
Allow to cool completely.
Top with a generous spread of chocolate butter cream. I have included a recipe for this, but I can add it in if you need it. Chop the remaining Mars Bar and pile it on top of the cupcakes.