But Mark - as it's your birthday - our gift to you is a post dedicated entirely in your honour. Last night I cooked up a batch of birthday cupcakes that Melissa should be delivering to you as I type.
Knowing that Mark has a sweet tooth and loves chocolate cake, we found a recipe in the lovely Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days recipe book that looked spot on. The recipe is actually called S'moreanne Cupcakes, but if you live in the UK like me then this name might not mean much to you either. Apparently a s'more is an American campfire treat: marshmallow and chocolate sandwiched between crackers and toasted. Sounds like my kinda treat - think I'll be trying that one next time we do a barbecue on the beach. But S'moreanne sounded a bit girly and obscure so I have renamed these little beauties Chocolate Campfire Cupcakes. And look how pretty:
These cakes begin with a chocolate cupcake baked with a topping of crushed biscuits and grated dark chocolate, then they're finished off with an Italian meringue frosting, a sprinkling more of crushed biscuits and a square of chocolate.
The chocolate cupcakes were a cinch to make, but I've not made Italian meringue since pastry school and I was a bit nervous as to how it would turn out. It involves boiling sugar and water to exactly 121°C and pouring it in a steady thin stream into half whipped egg whites. I'm not sure if I got it totally spot on but it turned out pretty well and I love how you can create little peaks in the icing which look a bit like the flames of a campfire once you flash it under a hot grill.
If I made these again I think I would change the crushed biscuits for honeycomb which would give these cakes an extra dimension in terms of texture and sweetness. Also as honeycomb is also known as cinder toffee it would go even better with my new name of Chocolate Campfire Cupcakes.
So Mark, you've finally got a mention on the blog. Hope you like it, and the cakes too :o) x