Ratafia is a sweet herb based liquor typically consumed as a digestif in Catalonia. It is made from around 50 different herbs, flowers and spices and it is said to have healing properties. The preparation process can be quite lengthy and includes herb gathering and infusion period that lasts 40 days when ratafia is left in the hot summer sun. Each family is said to have a different recipe and the result can vary each time depending on the herbs used, amount of sugar added and even the amount of light it gets.
We’ve had Genis’ mum’s ratafia for a couple of months and I can’t believe it only occurred to me now to use it in baking. It took me a couple of attempts to ensure these cupcakes show off the best qualities of ratafia without being overpowering, but in the end I think I have finally nailed the proportions. To me chocolate and liquor seems like an awesome classical pairing and in these cupcakes the slight bitterness of dark chocolate delicately complements the sweetness of the cupcakes.
RATAFIA CUPCAKES WITH DARK CHOCOLATE GANACHE (Makes 18 cupcakes)
a few drops of vanilla extract
60g melted butter
a pinch of salt
300g flour, sifted
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
350g dark chocolate
200ml double cream
- Preheat oven to 180°C and line a cupcake pan with paper cases.
- In a large bowl beat together eggs and sugar until foamy and light in colour. Add vanilla and carefully mix in melted (not hot!) butter. Add milk and mix.
- Separately mix together sifted flour, baking powder and salt. Add these dry ingredients into the egg mix. Fold until combined. Finally add ratafia and mix until just incorporated.
- Spoon the batter into cases until about 3/4 full. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cupcake comes out clean.
- To prepare the ganache, pour double cream into a saucepan and heat it until hot, but not boiling. Then pour over the chocolate that has been broken into pieces. Mix until the chocolate has melted completely and set aside to cool. When cool place it in the fridge if you want it to set faster.
- Once the ganache has set (in about 1 hour) spoon it on the cupcakes and decorate as desired.