So as some of you know, I have recently been doing some work for a chocolate shop nearby. All of the chocolates we sell are made right on premises and meticulously by hand. Painstakingly. One by one. It is a beautiful process and one I am grateful to be learning. Last January, I completed an online course through Ecole Chocolat for chocolatiering and this experience has been that knowledge applied and solidified. It’s been great. Anywho…one of her relatively new flavors is a Fig & Port hand-dipped chocolate, decorated with a walnut half. As I made the fig and port ganache one day, it occurred to me what a delicious buttercream frosting it would make. And here you have it. 


In the meadow we can build a snowman…to protect the cupcakes

For the cakes…

1.5 cups flour

3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder

1.5 cups sugar 

1.5 teaspoons baking soda 

3/4 teaspoon baking powder 

3/4 teaspoon salt 

2 large eggs 

3/4 cup buttermilk 

3 tablespoons vegetable oil 

1 teaspoon vanilla

 3/4 cup warm water 

Preheat oven to 350 F. Whisk together dry ingredients. To this, add first the eggs, then the buttermilk, oil, vanilla and water. Beat until fully combined but do not beat excessively if you want to avoid chewy cupcakes. 

Fill the lined cupcake pans 2/3 full and bake for about 15 minutes. Cupcakes are done when the tops spring back when lightly pressed. Let cool before frosting. 

For the frosting…

2 sticks butter, room temperature

1/2 cup fig preserves 

3/4 cup cocoa powder

3-4 cups powdered sugar 

1/4-1/2 cup tawny port (add to your personal tastes) 

Cream butter in mixing bowl to soften. Add fig preserves. Beat in sifted cocoa powder and powdered sugar. Gradually add the port until it is perfect for you. I suspect with every person this will be different. I like mine with plenty of port. A pinch of salt will also liven up the flavor, if you like. 


For every year the Christmas tree / brings to us all both joy and glee…


Merry Christmas everyone!