My knowledge of the British diplomacy service is scant; it is gleaned solely from avid viewing of Spooks and devouring of John le Carre novels.
I am however fully aware of the confectionery of choice of every ambassador this side of the Suez crisis.
Thanks to Ferror Rocher and 'Monsieur, with thezze Ferrero Rocher you are realllly spoileeng us, hahaha'.
Indeed, we all know, thanks to those iconic (and some argue excruitatingly awful) adverts, exactly how Ambassadors with exquisite taste across the world are spoiling their reception guests. With hazelnuts covered in hazelnut cream, encased in a wafer shell, covered in chocolate and yet more hazelnut of course.
I have undertaken some research to see how true to life these adverts really are.
Firstly, on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website. I can sadly report there is no mention of Ferrero Rocher usage. And just as I was about to put in a Freedom of Information request I find that someone has beaten me to it. Yep, the British Foreign Office have already been asked how much of their annual budget is spent on Ferrero Rochers. Regrettably, I have to inform you that the request was deemed 'too frivolous' and an answer not forthcoming.
Which makes me think the answer to how much the Foreign and Commonwelth Office spend annually on Ferrero Rocher is: 'a lot'.
Since Ferrero Rochers have been enjoyed at Ambassador's receptions since 1982, I suspect (despite the wide range of varieties available) our diplomats may be getting a little tired of seeing the same towering silver tray of gold wrapped chocolate hazelnuts being brought out at every do.
Therefore, British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, I'd like to present you with the following: The Ambassador's Cupcake. A Ferrero Rocher hidden inside a chocolate and hazelnut cupcake, topped with hazelnut-chocolate frosting and chopped hazelnuts. No need to thank me, William Hague, I like to do my bit for Queen and Country.
For the Cupcakes
150g caster sugar
200g self-raising flour
2 tbsps cocoa powder
100g melted dark chocolate
For the icing and decoration:
100g softened butter
180g icing sugar
40g cocoa powder
40g finely ground hazelnuts
1-2 tbsps milk
12 Ferroro Rocher chocolates
60g finely chopped hazelnuts
1. Preheat the oven to 190C/170C fan/375F and line a cupcake tray with twelve cupcake cases
2. Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. With the mixer on a low speed gradually add in the eggs.
3. Sift in the flour and cocoa powder
4. Gently fold in the milk and melted chocolate until thoroughly combined.
5. Spoon the batter between the paper cases, filling each case approximately three quarters full. Bake for 18-20 minutes
6. Allow to cool in the cases for a few minutes before removing onto a wire rack to cool completely.
7. To make the icing: Beat together the butter, icing sugar, cocoa powder and ground hazelnuts until combined. Gradually add the milk and whisk until the icing is soft and fluffy.
8. Using a sharp knife cut a shallow ‘crater’ in the top of each cooled cupcake. Spoon a small amount of icing in the crater and place a Ferrero Rocher on the top, using the icing as a 'glue' to hold the chocolate in place
9. Place the remainder of the icing in a piping bag and pipe up and around the Ferrero Rocher until the chocolate is hidden. Sprinkle the chopped hazelnuts over each cupcake