I know it's kind of boring, but when I find a recipe that works for me, I tend to stick with it. Which is why I was rather thrilled to discover that my usual chocolate fudge cake recipe is way more versatile than I'd originally thought. This recipe was a hand-me-down from Mum, who in turn got it from a friend of hers. I've been making it for years, and it's never failed me.
And when a year or so ago, I had some unfortunate encounters with chocolate cupcake recipes (the batter was so thick it climbed the beaters and I spent an hour cleaning out my mixer with Q-tips... Thanks, AWW - triple tested, my arse!), I figured it was time to break out the trusty chocolate cake recipe and see if it would stand up to alterations.
Since then, I've subjected the recipe to a LOT. I've turned it into cupcakes. I've replaced the vanilla with peppermint extract, coconut extract, and orange zest. I've replaced the flour with gluten free flour. And, last weekend, I replaced the milk with orange juice to make it dairy free. It's performed admirably every single time, and it's never failed to get compliments.
I've got some other plans for it, like adding pureed raspberries or white chocolate chips. I'm actually kind of curious to see just how much it takes to turn it into a total failure! I guess I'll just have to keep playing, and see what happens...
PS. The choc-orange dairy free version was the BOMB. The icing was butter cream made with Nuttelex instead of butter. You need to add a little more sugar than usual to account for the softness of the Nuttelex, and I added orange juice and orange zest to it for flavour. The overall effect was pretty damned awesome, even if I do say so myself!