Honestly, Alice from our story didn’t mean to say it – somehow it just came out in the heat of the moment during a row with her stepmum. She instantly regretted it, but couldn’t find quite the ￼right words to apologise. So instead, she’s using a different kind of language – the powerful language of cupcakes – to say sorry. To her huge relief, it works*.
- First, make the sauce. Heat the caster sugar in a pan with 4 tbsp water, until dissolved, then bring to the boil slowly. Bubble for 3-5 minutes, until you have a dark amber colour. Short for time? Use finest* salted caramel sauce, but spoon it in rather than piping.
- Remove from heat and add the butter, stirring until melted. Mix in the cream and a pinch of salt, then leave to cool for 1 3/4 hours.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to gas 4, 180°C, fan 160°C. Cream the butter and brown sugar, until pale. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix well, then add the vanilla, if using. Sift in the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder and mix, until a soft dough forms.
- Divide the mixture equally between a 12-hole muffin tin and bake for 23-25 minutes. Remove from the oven while still quite soft in the centres. Using a small jar, gently press a well in the middle of each. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then put on a wire rack to cool completely.
- Using a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle, pipe the caramel into each cupcake, or spoon it in and swirl with the back of a teaspoon. Scatter with a pinch of salt and chocolate shavings. Refrigerate until serving.
No time to make your own sauce? Use finest* salted caramel sauce, but spoon it in rather than piping.
If you can resist eating it straight away, chop the leftover chocolate into chunks and scatter over ice cream or throw into the mix the next time you make cookies.
*These cupcakes are quite rich, so save them for a treat.