I’ve taken block chocolate out of this recipe as it adds cost rather than value to the muffins.

Instead, the richness is provided by condensed milk, which acts as a humectant to keep the crumb moist, together with custard powder to add a creamy flavour behind the cocoa.

If you really want to double up on the chocolate, stir in good quality chocolate chips at the end.

Strong white flour together with baking powder, rather than sponge flour, helps keep the crumb moist and avoids it crumbling too much when you bite into it.

Combining the cocoa in a paste with soda, then whisking boiling water into it, removes any remaining acid in the cocoa before you begin mixing.

Do look for a good dark reddish cocoa, like the Extra Brut manufactured by Barry Callebaut, rather than the cheapest you can find. It will give a much better colour to the crumb and appeal more to the customer.

Makes 24 at 100g raw weight

Dark cocoa powder - 225g

Bicarbonate of soda - 15g

Cold water - 450g

Boiling water - 450g

Unsalted butter, softened - 450g

Light brown soft sugar - 800g

Whole egg, beaten - 250g

Condensed milk - 550g

Strong white flour - 800g

Custard powder - 115g

Baking powder - 35g


In a bowl, beat the cocoa, soda and cold water to a smooth thick paste then add the boiling water and whisk until smooth. Leave to one side while you prepare the other ingredients.

Whenever I am baking cakes I get the tins prepared first. Sit paper muffin cases either on a tray lined with a sheet of non-stick baking parchment (to keep the bottoms clean) or inside muffin trays oiled around the edge of each pocket to stop the muffins sticking.



Preheat the oven to 190ºC. Baking in a fan assisted oven will get more height from the muffins and help the top crust to burst well.

In the bowl of an upright planetary mixer (Bear/Hobart type), with the whisk attachment fitted, beat the butter, sugar, egg and condensed milk for three to four minutes on a high speed until pale and fluffy.

Meanwhile, sift the flour, custard powder and baking powder together two or three times to combine.

Beat half of the chocolate mixture through the butter mixture, until smooth, then beat in half of the sifted flour.

Turn off the machine, scrape down well around the sides, then add the remaining chocolate mixture and beat again.

Finally add the remaining flour, scrape again around the sides and beat until smooth.

Scrape the mixture into an easy-pouring jug and pour into the muffin cases. If they’re sitting in muffin pockets or dariole moulds, then fill to the top. If they are sitting unsupported on the tray, fill until around three-quarters to four-fifths full.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the muffins comes out barely clean.