Pigs in the mud cupcakes

Love is... making 30+ icing pigs for your first born. 

Late December brought with it coughs, colds, wearing three jumpers indoors and the playschool Christmas party. Parents were asked to contribute food so I swiftly put my two year old hat on.

What did I like to eat when I was two? Well, I can't really remember I'm afraid. However, my earliest memories of food preferences (probably from age four) include, in no particular order: Walkers smoky bacon crisps, mint choc chip ice cream, Walnut Whips, Kit Kats, those salty fishy snacks shaped like fish and chips that cost 10p, Marmite, butterfly cakes, pink wafer biscuits and of course any of my friend's birthday cakes that featured castles or animals.

Taking these memories as inspiration I decided on chocolate cupcakes with a ganache icing featuring mini pink pigs wallowing in the icing. Pigs stuck in the mud if you like. Here's how. NB: these aren't hard but you do need to sacrifice an evening.


- 3 large eggs weighed in their shells
- the same weight as the eggs in self raising flour minus 1 tablespoon
- the same weight as the eggs in margarine
- the same weight as the eggs in caster sugar
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder
- 350ml double cream
- 350ml dark choc broken into bits (Hell, these were for greedy toddlers so I used bog standard dark choc, not your 70% cocoa solids stuff.)
- white royal icing, ready made (You only need a blob about the size of a fist, but the rest will keep if wrapped up well.)
- a thumb size amount of red coloured icing (I used this stuff.)

This makes about 30. First pop the oven onto Gas 5 and then put some fairy cake cases into metal/plastic trays. If you're using plastic siliconey trays be sure to make them stand level in the oven on a baking tray. If not you get cake mixture spilling everywhere.

Weigh the eggs in their shells. Make a note of the grams/oz. Then weigh out the same amount of flour, caster sugar and marg. Throw the lot into a bowl (eggs without the shells though) as well as the cocoa powder and using a handheld mixer whizz up until combined. If the mixture looks stiff then add a little milk until a scoop of the mixture drops off a spoon easily. Spoon into the tins and smooth with a knife then cook in the middle of the oven for about 20 mins. The tops should be golden and springy when you touch them. Remove from the oven and pop on a wire rack for 5 mins, then de-tin them and leave to cool back on the rack.

Whilst they're cooking make the ganache - put the cream and dark choc into a saucepan and heat very gently until the chocolate has melted. Stir and then pop the saucepan into the fridge on a tea towel. Check every 10 mins as you want it to harden but not be rock solid. You need 'dolloping consistency' to use the technical term. 

Next get on with the pigs. Take the white royal icing and the red icing and knead on a very very clean plastic chopping board until you have a baby pink colour. (Any tiny bits of anything will show in this icing. If you're not the most meticulous cook this maybe isn't the recipe for you.) Then start to roll your pigs. They're easy, even for me. Roll a ball for the body, then 4 small balls for the feet, then one for the head, a small ball flattened for the snout, a thin sausage twirled up for the tail and two small triangles for the ears. A cocktail stick comes in very useful for making the eyes and the nostrils. Leave on a plate to slightly dry. I made just over 30 in about 45 mins. There was something good on TV so I didn't really notice. Mr. B is the artistic one so next time he's going to be enticed to get involved. 

Once the cakes are cool and the ganache has thickened in the fridge assemble your stuck pigs. A dollop of ganache, followed by a pig. Leave to set and then deliver to a playschool Christmas party and listen for the gasps. Charlie ate the pig's head first, I wonder what that means?
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