Eat My Words

November 21st, 2007

Cupcakes

I like to think that the desserts I create my kitchen tell a story. Maybe they say that I like trying new and unusual recipes. Or that I like making the classics too. That sometimes I get obsessed with perfecting a recipe. Or that I get obsessed with certain French pastry geniuses.

Maybe this says, I really feel like tackling that six-component dessert that requires a special trip to the grocery store to the ingredients, every pan and tool in the kitchen, a long unfettered day for baking, and a deep breath with a quick prayer to the pastry gods before starting.

Or perhaps this says, I was at the market and these apples and pears looked so fab, and I knew I had brown sugar and butter at home, so I bet I could whip up a fabulous little crisp in no time at all.

These definitely say, I’ve got a brand new toy and I can’t get enough of it.

Oh, and of course, this says that I belong to a fabulous group of fellow bakers who all inspire and brighten my days.

I like to think that whatever I bake, carries and conveys some of my thoughts and feelings I had while I was making it, about what inspired its creation, about how I hope it will turn out, about what people’s reactions will be when I serve it.

But just in case the message isn’t always clear, sometimes it’s nice to spell it out.

These cupcakes are saying:

Happy birthday to my sweetie, who inspired these cupcakes a year ago and has inspired a re-invention of them using one of Dorie Greenspan recipes. These cupcakes are also saying that I’m going to take him here for dinner, but shh! it’s a surprise.

Isn’t the power of baking a wonderful thing?

Cupcakes2

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Oh, and P.S. I forgot to post this, but the winner of the Nordicware bundt cake contest was…the Minty Mountains cake! Definitely one of the prettiest cakes and quite tasty – and it’s just about Christmas time, so what a perfect time to try it out!

Cocoa-Buttermilk Cupcakes

from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking

makes 20 cupcakes

2 cups (10 oz)  flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

8 oz (2 sticks) butter, room temperature

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

2 egg yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup buttermilk

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners or silicone baking cups.

Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl and set aside.

Beat the butter in a stand mixer for a few minutes on medium speed to soften it up. Add the sugar and beat for several more minutes until it is light-colored and fluffy.

Add the eggs, one a a time, to the the batter, letting the first one incorporate fully before adding the second. Repeat with the egg yolks.

Add in the vanilla.

Reduce the mixer speed to low. Add the sifted dries in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk so you start and end with the dries. Beat each addition just until it is combined into the mixture; do not overbeat. Scrape down the bowl as necessary between additions.

Pour in the melted chocolate and use a rubber spatula to fold it in until it is combined.

Divide the batter between the cupcake tins, filling each cup about 3/4 full.

Bake in the oven for about 15- 20 minutes, until the tops feel firm and springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Remove cupcakes from oven and let cool on wire rack.

Coffee Buttercream

makes about 3 cups

1 1/2 cups butter, room temperature

1/2 cup milk

3/4 cup sugar

5 egg yolks

1 tablespoon granulated coffee flavoring

The butter should be very soft but not melting for this recipe.

Heat the milk and coffee flavoring and 1/4 cup of the sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, until small bubbles appear around the edge of the pan.

Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks and remaining sugar in the mixer bowl with the whisk attachment until pale and thick (ribbon stage). Reduce speed to low and pour in the hot milk mixture. Return the entire mixture to the saucepan.

Cook the mixture in the saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it registers 170 degrees on a thermometer. Pour the mixture into a clean mixer bowl and beat with the whisk on medium until cool, about 5 -10 minutes. Add in the butter in 4 additions, allowing each addition to incorporate before adding another.

The buttercream can be used immediately, or stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. If you store it in the refrigerator, let it soften first and whisk by hand or in the mixer to bring back to proper consistency.

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13 Comments so far ↓

  • Sudhakar #1

    Those cupcakes look ace. The ones you linked from last year also look amazing.
    I know what you mean about your cakes meaning something. “I feel chocolatey”. “I feel I need something stodgey.” “I bought a new cake tin.”

  • monica #2

    happy birthday to your sweetie! and these are gorgeous cupcakes. sometimes between all the more complicated baking, a simple treat like a cupcake is just needed. happy thanksgiving, anita!

  • Kat #3

    these cupcakes are so cute! and festive too. Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Rosa #4

    Those cupcakes are gorgeous and ever so pretty!

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  • veron #5

    We really seem to be on the same wavelenght. The hubby asked me this morning what dessert I plan to make to bring to our friend’s house for thanksgiving. I said, aside from macarons I’ll make some chocolate cupcakes.
    Yours look fantastic and I’m sure your sweetie is please.

    Btw, who do you think make the best cupcakes in San Francisco? (ofcourse your homemade ones beat storebought anytime)

  • Cheryl #6

    The cupcakes are beautiful. He is one lucky man.

    I love the stories your desserts tell. You make wonderful creations.

  • Hillary #7

    Those cupcakes are very very cute and so is the message!

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

  • peabody #8

    Great looking cupcakes…one lucky birhtday boy.

  • Tartelette #9

    Beautiful cupcakes! Great post with previous links. I love archives and yours are always a feast for the eyes. Happy Birthday to your sweetie and I hope you had a great dinner!

  • Chris #10

    What great cupcakes! I am sure he loved them!

  • Brilynn #11

    I think everything should be said with a Dorie recipe! Looks wonderful!

  • Nora #12

    Hi Anita,
    The power of baking is a wonderful thing! Happy birthday to your sweetie and I hope that he enjoyed his birthday surprise.

  • Anita #13

    Sudhakar,
    Thank you! I know, don’t you love telling stories with your food!

    Monica,
    thank you! My bf is lovely, he doesn’t ask for anything too complicated *wipes forehead in relief*

    Kat,
    Thank you! Hope you are enjoying your holiday season!

    Rosa,
    Thank you, and best holiday wishes to you too!

    Veron,
    Thank you! Hmm, for cupcakes I might say Citizen Cupcake. There are some new ones opening up I have to check out and report on!

    Cheryl,
    Thank you! I guess it comes from my love of storytelling!

    Hillary,
    Thank you and best holiday wishes to you as well!

    Peabody,
    Thank you…he ate them pretty quickly!

    Helene,
    Thank you! We had a great time out…and he loved the cupcakes!

    Chris,
    Thank you! I think he liked the message, and the cupcakes!

    Brilynn,
    yes, Dorie does have the right recipe for every occasion!

    Nora,
    Thank you! He devoured the cupcakes, so yay!

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