King Kong on the Big Ben: Banana & Hazelnut Chocolate Cupcakes

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BREAKING NEWS!: A giant gorilla called King Kong has escaped from a circus! The SASis on the hunt, but no luck so far. The gorilla is claimed to be the biggest in the world: 43 stones, 6 feet. And he’s thought to be deadly dangerous. Londoners are warned to stay inside and lock their doors.

After I heard this news, my first reaction was to jump out a window and set off to find the gorilla. People say “curiosity killed the cat”, and it’s true. This was a deadly dangerous giant gorilla on large that we were talking about. I had got to see it!

On the street, I swivelled my ears, searching for screams. Soon I spotted people running in terror, screaming and shouting. I ran against the rush of the panicked people, dodging between hundreds of stomping feet.

The crowd gradually got thinner as I approached the Houses of Parliament. A large dark object suddenly caught my eye. I looked up and spotted King Kong at the top of Big Ben! The clock tower was crowded around by panicked politicians and terrified tourists, all frozen with fear, too scared to run. The SAS, police and firefighters were all thronging around the base of the tower, but nobody seemed to know what to do. In the sky swarmed broadcast helicopters.

I saw the gorilla shaking when I looked up to see him. Something was wrong. I squeezed through feet of the crowd and climbed up the clock tower (I can tell you it wasn’t as easy as climbing up a tree). At the top, I greeted the giant gorilla politely (it’s very important when you speak to a deadly dangerous gorilla):

‘Hello,’ I said.

It made the gorilla jump suddenly. I lost my footing by the jolt, and I started falling. The crowd below gasped. But the gorilla caught me by his hand just in time.

Without knowing what was really going on, those reporters were broadcasting whatever they thought would make a good story: Update. King Kong hit a cat who had bravely volunteered to talk it into give­-in. However, the monstrous monkey took hostage of the poor little pussy cat!

‘Thank you,’ I said to King Kong. ‘I’m Clementine the cat baker. How do you do?’

‘Hello. I’m a bit busy at the moment, I’m afraid.’ replied the gorilla.

‘I bet you are,’ I said. ‘You’re the most wanted gorilla in the town. Everybody wants to catch you, but they are too scared.’

‘I’m so fed up!’ groaned the gorilla. ‘I’m fed up with people calling me a monster, putting me in a horrible iron cage! You know what they call me at the circus? “The World’s Most Terrifying Living Creature”. And people jeer and boo and throw things at me.’

‘That sounds awful,’ I said.

‘They also call me “Man­-eating Monster”, but I’m vegetarian! And they even named me “King” but I’m a GIRL!’

‘No way!’ I cried.

‘I’m not a monster. I like reading books and I know hand signs. I’m a intelligent and gentle creature.’

I looked around and saw those helicopters hovering like hungry eagles above us. ‘I see why you ran away. But unfortunately this is not doing you any favour. What is your plan?’

‘I’m going to recite my poem,’ said the gorilla. ‘But I’m very shy. I’ve got cold feet.’ She looked around those big audience and started shaking again.

I squeezed her big finger with my paws. ‘Don’t worry. Just imagine those humans in monkey suits. It’s not difficult, actually.’

King Kong took a moment to calm herself and took a breath, then recited her poem out loud so people could hear:

I know you think I’m a heartless monster
Why you see me that way, I wonder

Don’t judge a book by its cover
You should read what’s inside to discover

You’ll see I’m as gentle as your old nana
All I need is your love and banana

Then I will be your fondest gorilla
as sweet as vanilla

When she finished, the crowd below gave a massive applause. The reporters filmed her performance and broadcast live to the world.

The following week, I visited what used to be the circus. The old owners had been driven out of town. The sign above the door now read ‘Poetry Corner’. The tent was full to bursting. When the lights went down, the giant gorilla, who’d renamed herself as Queen Quentina, came on stage. Then she recited her poems in a spot light. The audience lapped it up and gave her big cheer.

After her performance, I went to see her in the backstage. She was in her pink dressing room full of flowers from her fans, wearing a pink flower pattern dressing grown. I gave her my Banana & Hazelnut Chocolate Cupcakes, and we enjoyed them with a nice cup of tea.

My cupcakes are just like a giant gorilla – look closely inside and you’ll find a sweet surprise. I’d say that finding hazelnut chocolate filling inside a cupcake is on a par with finding the soul of a poet within a giant gorilla.

‘It seems really very unfair that man should have chosen gorilla to symbolise all this aggressive and violent. That’s the one thing the gorilla is not, and we are.’ – David Attenborough

Learn more about gorillas and help save them at WWF.

*****

BANANA & HAZELNUT CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES
Makes: 16 large cupcakes

INGREDIENTS
160g unsalted butter
200g caster sugar
4 eggs
240ml whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 medium ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
200g plain flour
40g cocoa powder
1 tbsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt

(FOR THE FROSTING)
160g unsalted butter
160g hazelnut chocolate spread (such as Nutella)
500g icing sugar
2 tbsp double cream

100g hazelnut chocolate spread for filling
20g chopped hazelnuts and some banana chips to decorate

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C* and line two 12-hole muffin tins with muffin cases.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl with a whisk until pale and fluffy (this is the key to the fluffy sponge). Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Then add the milk, vanilla extract and mashed bananas. Don’t worry if the mixture curdles. Adding flour will fix it.
  3. Combine the the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl, and sift into the wet mixture. Fold in gently, using a rubber spatula. Do not overmix if you want light and fluffy sponge.
  4. Spoon the cake mixture into the prepared cases until 2/3 full. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until a stick poked into middle comes out clean. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the tin and cool completely on a wire rack.
  5. Meanwhile, to make the frosting, beat the butter and hazelnut chocolate spread until smooth and add the icing sugar little by little until well combined. Add the cream and beat until light and smooth.
  6. When the cupcakes are cool, using an apple corer or a small knife, cut out a 1-inch deep piece from the top of each cupcake. Fill each hole with the hazelnut chocolate spread. Frost the cupcakes and sprinkle the chopped hazelnuts on top and top with the banana chips before the frosting dries.

*Every oven is unique. Know your oven and adjust the temperature and baking time.

What's happening out there?
What’s happening out there?

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