Saturday, May 28, 2011

How time flies

Last night I was at a pre-wedding celebration for a good friend from college. I've known her for 13 years!

Last week I was in Arizona watching my baby brother graduate from college. He's been a pain in my ass for almost 25 years. (Just kidding Danny!)

Last month I was at a friend's house helping her celebrate her newly remodeled home. We met while doing AmeriCorps 10 years ago (we'd both just graduated from college)- and now she's happily married and has a beautiful house.

Where does the time go??

Apparently it goes to cooking and baking and cake decorating!

My friend insisted we bring nothing to her housewarming party, but what kind of friend would I be if I didn't bring at least a few deliciously decorated goodies?

I drew a blank on what exactly to decorate them with, but seeing as spring is (very, very slowly) approaching Chicago, I felt cute teeny flowers would be the way to go. And she loved them!

Yea for awesome friends and baked goods!

I don't make cupcakes often (other than these unbelievably moist pumpkin cupcakes), because I have yet to find recipes that I'm very happy with (I find cupcakes get overly dry or crumbly). But they're great to bring to parties so people can eat without cutting a big cake. So I went with one of the only from-scratch cupcake recipes I've made that I'm completely happy with: dark chocolate cupcakes from Cooks Illustrated.

Since I put fondant decorations on top, I filled the cupcakes with 
some of the frosting and used just a bit of frosting on top 
of the cupcake to adhere the fondant circles. 
I loved filled cupcakes!

They're deep and intense, not too sweet, and super tender. A description of the perfect cupcake (and possibly the perfect man...)

Yours in celebrating with old friends,

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes, from Cooks Illustrated

Note from CI: This recipe does not double very well. Cupcakes made from a doubled batch and baked side by side in the oven yield a slightly compromised rise. It's best to make two separate batches and bake each separately. Store leftover cupcakes (frosted or unfrosted) in the refirgerator, but let them come to room temperature before serving.


8 TBSP unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
2 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa (1 1/2 ounces) (Note, I usually just use regular or Hershey's Dark, but it is best with Dutch-processed)
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (3 3/4 ounces)
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar (5 1/4 ounces)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp table salt
1/2 cup sour cream (4 ounces)


1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard-sized muffin pan (cups have 1/2-cup capacity) with baking-cup liners.

2. Combine butter, chocolate, and cocoa in medium heatproof bowl. Set bowl over saucepan containing barely simmering water; heat mixture until butter and chocolate are melted and whisk until smooth and combined. Set aside to cool until just warm to the touch.

3. Whisk flour, baking soda, and baking powder in small bowl to combine.

4. Whisk eggs in second medium bowl to combine; add sugar, vanilla, and salt and whisk until fully incorporated. Add cooled chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Sift about one-third of flour mixture over chocolate mixture and whisk until combined; whisk in sour cream until combined, then sift remaining flour mixture over and whisk until batter is homogenous and thick.

5. Divide batter evenly among muffin pan cups. Bake until skewer inserted into center of cupcakes comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes.

6. Cool cupcakes in muffin pan on wire rack until cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes. Carefully lift each cupcake from muffin pan and set on wire rack. Cool to room temperature before icing, about 30 minutes.

Cupcake Filling

For the filling/frosting I used leftover chocolate Italian meringue buttercream from my basket weave cake. But feel free to leave the cupcakes unfilled. Or fill with anything you desire: raspberry jam, pastry cream, whipped ganache, coffee frosting, etc.

Note: I used this kind of tip to fill my cupcakes. Just shove the tip in the top of the cupcake about halfway through and squeeze until the top begins to bulge/crack. Top with more frosting to cover the hole.


Jeanne said...

hooray for those cupcakes! thanks for bringing them over jq. the guests loved them.

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