Monday, December 5, 2011

Birthday Cupcake Dress Rehearsal

My niece turns 4 in a couple of weeks and I'm making the desserts for her birthday party next weekend. I babysat both of my nieces this weekend so we decided to do a test run of a few recipes. Boy, am I glad we did. The cupcake and the frosting recipe are both from a new cupcake cookbook my mom got me for the holidays. The cake was delicious. I will definitely be using this chocolate recipe next weekend for her mini-cake and the cupcakes for the guests. The frosting is still to be decided. The recipe I tried was a total mess. I'm leaning towards the cream cheese frosting I used with the pumpkin cupcakes (minus the cinnamon). I need to be able to pile a high dollop on top of each cupcake because I have little Hello Kitty rings to go on top.

This picture shows the cookbook. It's absolutely adorable and has tons of fun ideas for holiday decorations. I will definitely be getting some inspiration from here.

Double Chocolate Cake
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3/4 packed light brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
1 heaping tablespoon cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
a pinch of salt
1/2 cup sour cream
6 tablespoons boiling water

I started by melting the chocolate in a bowl over a pot of simmering water. Once it was cool, I set the bowl aside.

Then I creamed together the butter and the sugar. Confession: I read the recipe too quickly and used regular sugar. It still tasted great. But next time I'll follow the recipe.

Then I beat the two eggs in a small bowl.

Then I added the eggs and beat again.

I added the chocolate and mixed again. By the way, notice how I'm using a standing mixer? My mom doesn't use hers, so she's letting me keep it! It's not perfect, but it's so much help!

In a separate bowl, I whisked together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.

Finally, I added the boiling water and mixed one last time.

Then I spooned the batter into cupcake liners and baked for exactly 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

The cupcakes actually looked more like muffins when they were done, but they were the perfect amount of sweetness. They were also amazingly moist and just awesome.

Now for the part that didn't go so well. I started by combining 1.25 cups sugar, 1 tablespoon water, 4 egg whites and a pinch of salt in a bowl. I whisked them together over a pot of simmering water until it was foamy and about 140 degrees. Then I put the mix directly into the standing mixer and started beating. I beat for well over the three minutes it directed (this picture I took at about 1.5 minutes) and it got nice and thick.

But then, when I went to pipe it onto the cupcakes the frosting just fell apart. I hardly handled it at all, so I know I didn't make it warm. I have no idea what happened. I think maybe I didn't beat it enough but I'm not sure why that was the case. Don't get me wrong, the cupcakes were amazing. They just looked absurd. So definitely a work in progress.

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