Desert island dessert

Salted caramel brownies and bannoffee pie (retro, I know) need to up their game because I have a new dessert obsession that I don’t think will be beaten any time soon: chocolate Guinness cupcakes with Bailey’s mascarpone and chocolate ganache.

I was given a copy of Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh’s Sweet for Christmas last year, and I have to say my first flick through the book instilled an equal sense of terror at the level of cooking skill required, and pride that my brother thought I would be capable of making such recipes. Sadly this resulted in me putting off trying any of the recipes for a while.

When I did finally muster up the courage to take a serious look at the book, this one caught my eye. I’ve made chocolate Guinness cake before with great success (if I do say so myself), but I loved the idea of elevating it to dessert status with the addition of baileys, mascarpone and a dark chocolate ganache.

It’s actually an easy recipe to follow – it is after all just some fancy cupcakes – but the decoration does take time to get right as you need to allow time for (and between) each stage to allow the various components time to cool and set.

And it sure is worth the time. Even with my slightly scrappy decorating skills, the cakes look impressive with their tempting shiny ganache coating and creamy filling. And the flavours are perfectly balanced. The sweet baileys mascarpone complements the richness of the cake, while a slightly bitter ganache prevents the whole thing from becoming too sickly.

The recipe itself can’t really be improved, though I have been wondering how amaretto would work in place of the Bailey’s, and think that individual loaf tins would look more impressive for a dessert. Although maybe it’s best not to mess with perfection!

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