Monday, February 4, 2008

Mini Chocolate & Pear Cupcakes with Chocolate Sauce

Melted butter, for greasing
3/4 cup, firmly packed brown sugar
6 drained, canned pear halves in natural juice
1 cup self-raising flour
2 tbs cocoa powder
1/2 cup skim milk natural yoghurt
2 eggs
2 tbs water

Chocolate sauce
1/3 cup, firmly packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tbs cocoa powder, sifted
2 1/2 tsp cornflour
1 cup water

Preheat oven to 400 F Brush 6 large 3/4-cup muffin pans with melted butter to lightly grease. Line the bases of the greased muffin pans with non-stick baking paper.
Sprinkle 1 tsp of the sugar over the base of each pan. Place 1 pear half, cut-side down, in each pan.
Sift the flour and cocoa together into a medium mixing bowl. Add the yoghurt, eggs, water and remaining sugar. Use electric beaters to whisk on low speed, scraping down the side of the bowl once or twice, until the ingredients are just combined.
Pour the cake mixture evenly over the pears in the pans. Tap the pans on a bench to settle the mixture. Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cakes comes out clean. Remove the cakes from the oven and set aside for 10 minutes before turning onto serving plates.
Meanwhile, to make the chocolate sauce, place the sugar, cocoa and cornflour in a small saucepan and mix well. Gradually stir in the water until smooth. Stir over medium heat until the sauce boils and thickens slightly. Transfer the sauce to a jug and cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a skin forming.
Pour the chocolate sauce over the cakes and serve immediately. If you would like to serve the cakes for afternoon tea instead of dessert, turn onto a wire rack and set aside until cooled completely. Serve without the sauce.

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