Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Cupcakes for Mom

There is a great cupcake divide in my house.  My mom and Heay love yellow cake with chocolate frosting while my dad and Ween love chocolate cake with white frosting.  I fall in the middle and don't really have a favorite.  When certain holidays and birthdays come around, we all know what I will be making....and since it was Mother's Day on Sunday I made yellow cupcakes with chocolate frosting.  And not just any chocolate frosting, the BEST chocolate frosting.  But we will get to that in a little while.  Having found the best recipe for chocolate cupcakes that are moist and light and fluffy, I'm constantly on the search for the same in a yellow cake.  I have sadly not found one yet, but I keep testing new recipes away.  The one I used for these cupcakes were great - fluffy and very tasty, just not what my family is looking for.  So the search continues......

Somewhere over the years I've seen parts of my mom in me - like her need to have festive decorations for each holiday.  While I'm not at the level that she is at (and I hope I never get there - Mom I love you but we all joke that you have an issue when your attic is more than half full with decorations), I do have fun spatulas and baking items for holidays and seasons.  Having recently gotten a spring/summer spatula and some extremely fun cupcake liners (polka dots and fun stripes in spring colors) I was happy to use them.

one of my new fun
cupcake liners!
I get out the cupcake tins and line them with the liners and make the batter.  Bake them off and they smell so good.  I don't know why yellow cake smells so amazing while baking.  I love when I find a good candle that smells like yellow cake or white frosting.

naked cupcakes
Once all cooled, time to make the frosting.  My mom is a GIANT fan of this frosting, and I've added a couple of tweaks along the way to make it a little better.  But the fact that the frosting uses a pound of chocolate - thats right, I said a POUND of chocolate - and 3 sticks of butter always makes me giggle, not really sure why....I think it's because my mom loves butter - I mean like loads it on bread.  I make the frosting and load it into a giant plastic bag and pipe away. 

im getting good
with my piping skills
All of us except for Ween love frosting.  Ween will take most of it off and leave it for one of us to eat.  So when she was doing some frosting removal in the kitchen, my mom walks in and says "Don't throw it away...I'll eat it".  I go into the kitchen a little while later and there is this huge pile of frosting just sitting in the paper liner waiting for someone to eat it. 

Yellow Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting
Makes 24

3 cups cake flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups butter, melted
1 1/4 cups sugar
2/3 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cupcake tins with paper liners.  Mix cake flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda; set aside.  Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with electric mixer on high speed until fluffy.  Beat in flour mixture, milk, vanilla and eggs on medium speed until blended, scraping bowl occasionally.  Beat for 2 minutes.  Fill each cupcake 2/3 way full.
  2. Bake for 19-23 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes; remove from tins.  Let cool completely on wire rack. 
  3. Frost cupcakes
makes about 5 cups

1 pound semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 tbsp cocoa powder
6 tbsp boiling water
3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
pinch of salt
splash of strong coffee or coffee flavored liquer

Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over (but not touching) simmering water.  Turn off the heat; stir occasionally until chocolate has melted completely, about 15 minutes.  Set bowl on countertop and let chocolate cool to room temperature, 25-30 minutes.  Meanwhile, combine cocoa powder and boiling water in a small bowl; stir until cocoa is dissolved.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, confectioners sugar and salt on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes.  Add melted chocolate; beat on low speed until combined, 1-2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Beat in the cocoa mixture.  Add coffee and mix until combined.  Use immediately.  Left over frosting can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer (it holds up well).  Just let thaw and then beat for a few minutes in mixer until fluffy and then use. 

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