I absolutely love marzipan. I could eat it by the block.
Its an essential ingredient in some of my favourite cakes too. Could you imagine Battenberg, for instance, without that almondy layer? It would be nothing but regular sponge and a bit of pink and yellow food colouring. Where’s the excitement in that? Then there’s Christmas Cake. I may be completely stuffed from Christmas dinner, but I can always manage a bit of space to peel the marzipan layer off that slice of cake I just don’t have room for. A Simnel cake with those 12 golden yellow balls of marzipan apostle perfection is an absolute dream for me. How the marzipan balls manage to make it to Easter I will never know.
Finding a lump of marzipan leftover from Christmas therefore came as a bit of a surprise. Around here marzipan doesn’t normally get to hang around like that. Anything that doesn’t go on the cake gets ripped apart by greedy fingers, nibbled away at until there’s nothing but a few crumbs left in the packet.
This marzipan was destined for cupcakes.
Marzipan goes beautifully with dark chocolate. The bitter bite of the chocolate contrasts with the sweetness of the almond paste, bringing out the flavours of both. They compliment each other beautifully. There should be more chocolate and marzipan things in this world.
These are really simple cupcakes. They use a basic sponge recipe and can be put together in minutes. The marzipan and dark chocolate are grated into the mixture, giving you both in every bite. If you’re a chocolate chip fan feel free to cut some of your chocolate into bigger chunks. Don’t, however, try and do the same with the marzipan, it will sink through the cake and leave you with a solid, slightly burnt, marzipan layer in the bottom of your cupcake case!
It’s rare for me not to top my cupcakes with towering layers of buttercream, or cream cheese frosting. These really don’t need it though, there is enough sweetness and moisture from the marzipan. A little dusting of icing sugar, if you fancy, is enough to top them off beautifully.
Marzipan and Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
150g caster sugar
170g plain flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3 large eggs
4 tablespoons milk
150g dark chocolate
Icing sugar for dusting (optional)
Preheat the oven to 180c/350F.
Line a cupcake tin with 6 paper cases.
Beat the butter until smooth and creamy, add the sugar and beat until light, fluffy and pale.
Add the flour, baking powder and eggs. Mix until combined, then mix in the milk.
Grate your dark chocolate and marzipan. You can either do this with a hand grater, or pulse them in a food processor until you have a mixture of fine and larger crumbs. You can leave some of the chocolate as larger chunks if you would prefer.
Fold the marzipan and chocolate into the cupcake mixture.
Divide evenly between the 6 cases.
Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the tops of the cupcakes are risen and golden, and an inserted skewer comes out clean.
Cool completely, then dust with icing sugar.