I’m writing a novel.
I have always loved to write. I started this blog to write, and I made it a food blog because I love food. I love to make it and I love to share it. And National Novel Writing Month has given me that same opportunity in a completely different way.
I don’t think that I would be at forty thousand words (forty thousand! only ten thousand more to go!) with ten days to go without the wonderful community of NaNoWriMo, both online and the real life Melbourne WriMos. (NaNo on its own refers to the events, while participants are WriMos.)
I just participated in what we call the Night of Manuscripting Madly. We get together, eat lots of junk food and write and/or procrastinate our way through the night. I brought cupcakes, lemon cake and peanut butter fudge (recipes coming soon!) We had pizza, laughed madly and wrote…well, some of us wrote many words. It was so much fun.
When I was a little kid, I wanted to be an author when I grew up. I dreamed of seeing my name in print. When I found out that most authors didn’t make much money, I moved away from my dream. But since then, I’ve realised that I don’t need writing to be my full time job – and I don’t really care about making money anyway. I care about doing what I love. And for me, particularly of note in the coming Christmas season, it’s writing, baking and giving.
Chocolate Cupcakes with Ganache swirls
Cupcakes adapted from Sweetapolita
1 ¾ cups plain flour
2 cups sugar (I used raw but you can use white)
¾ cup dark cocoa powder (or regular cocoa powder, if that’s all you have)
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup strong hot coffee
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
½ cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 180˚Celsius. Line 2 muffin trays with 24 patty pans and set aside.
Sift flour, cocoa, baking soda and baking powder together in a large bowl. Whisk in sugar and salt, and make a well in the middle.
Add in all other ingredients all at once. Mix together well, (you may want to whisk the lumps out) until smooth. Mixture will be liquidy.
Fill prepared muffin pans about three quarters of the way full of the mixture. I had exactly enough to make 24 cupcakes, and they were filled at about 80% capacity.
Bake in preheated oven for about 15-18 minutes. Let cool about 5 minutes in pans before cooling completely on a rack, then top with a swirl of chocolate ganache.
Adapted from Bravetart
½ vanilla bean, split and scraped (if you don’t have a vanilla bean, a hearty splash of vanilla extract is good here)
227 g dark chocolate, chopped
227g or about 250ml cream
Bring cream with vanilla bean to boil, shut off the heat and let it steep for an hour. If you don’t have the vanilla bean, skip this step.
Scrape out vanilla bean after an hour and whisk the cream to allow the vanilla bean flecks to intersperse. Bring back to the boil (pick up here, extract users [I’m with you!]), take off the heat and add in the chocolate. Whisk until smooth and add vanilla extract (if using) and salt. Let cool, then refrigerate to set. To swirl the tops of your cupcakes, you’ll want to let it cool to room temperature or a little under. I just kept an eye on it in the refrigerator. Then, fill your piping bag and swirl away!