Recipe: Nigella’s Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes
So today my shining light of a daughter turns 18, which makes me 97, or maybe it just feels that way. Anyhow, with such an auspicious occasion to mark, I wanted to find an appropriate treat to cap the festive birthday dinner — traditionally the birthday girl’s choice, and as always she’s requested mac and cheese with grilled asparagus on the side.
I found this delightfully easy recipe for chocolate cherry cupcakes in Nigella’s Domestic Goddess book, and was congratulating myself on coming up with the perfect marriage of the adult (sour cherries, dark chocolate) and the childish (cupcakes) in an incredibly simple recipe (bonus!), when I noticed that it called for self-rising cake flour. Now, this item struck me as just a tad exotic to have on hand, but lo and behold after a bit of frantic rummaging I did find some in the dark recesses of the pantry. It is, to say the least, unusual to find exactly what I need on any given day; however, given my customary frame of mind during a trip to Fairway, it is not surprising that I have in stock things I can’t recall ever buying.
People swear by the Barefoot Contessa, but I don’t agree. It’s not just that her bangs bug me, though they most certainly do, or even that I get so preoccupied with the desire to flip her collar back down where it belongs that I can’t focus on the food. What really gets up my nose is the not-so-subtle nagging quality to Ina’s recipes: use extra large eggs, finest quality chocolate, freshly brewed hot coffee. I mean really – once a cup of coffee has been baked into a cake, who could possibly tell the difference between a freshly brewed cup and one that’s been sitting around on the counter for an hour? I’ll tell you who. Nobody.
Then there are the oven temps where the Fahrenheit is always indicated, as in “350 degrees F.” Now there’s an important safety tip, Egon. You don’t want to take a chance that people will think they should set their ovens to 350 Celsius, which if memory serves is approximately the surface temperature of Mercury. But of course, our Contessa spends so much time on the Continent that one understands her need to clarify.