It is March 2008 and we have just got back from a trip to southeast Asia, Australia and all of that. The cupcake is only just a thing. Or actually I have no proper idea whether it’s a thing or not because I’m not on Twitter, so where would I find out what we like and what we pour sweet, buttery scorn on?

I live at home with my parents whether they like it or not, because I just took off and came back like a brat. I wake up early because I have jetlag; the family PC whines loudly enough to wake everyone up. I wonder what possessed me to be home in time for my birthday.

I have a teaparty. (It’s tough not to have regrets when you spent your 23rd birthday at your parents’ house having a teaparty, but we do what we think is right at the time.)

Rich brings these. But only half a batch. Six perfect cupcakes, literally with cherries on top. And they’re a sign of our cooking twenties to come. He, taking his sweet time, making the correct quantity, seasoning accurately, ensuring optimum flavour. Me, winging it, slopping it on, leaving trails of ganache wherever I go.

It won’t be a surprise to you that while we were all cooing over buttercream, Nigella had already invented these (in How To Be a Domestic Goddess). They are rich and dark and full of it. They are the Nancy off Eastenders of cupcakes. I am crazy about them.


A cupcake tin and papers


Pre-heated at 180ºC

125g soft unsalted butter
100g dark chocolate, broken
300g Morello cherry jam
150g caster sugar
pinch of salt
2 eggs, beaten

100g dark chocolate, broken
100ml double cream
12 glacé cherries

1. Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed pan. When nearly completely melted, stir in the chocolate. Let the chocolate start to soften then take the pan off the heat.
2. Stir until smooth.
3. Add the jam, sugar, salt and eggs – stir with a wooden spoon until even.
4. Stir in the flour.
5. Spoon, scrape and tip the mix into the papers.
6. Bake for 25 minutes.
7. For the ganache, heat the cream and then pour it over the squares of chocolate in a bowl. Leave them to melt for a minute, and then stir until thick and glossy.
8. When the cakes are cool, ice them as neatly or as messily as is your disposition, and give them a cherry each.