Thursday, March 24, 2011

Just the Basics...

I admit, when I think about baking, my tastes may sometimes be...esoteric for some....the lavender cupcakes I made for my birthday last year, rose vanilla get the idea.  So you may be surprised to know that today I made chocolate cupcakes.  With a chocolate frosting.  Basic.  Safe.  Easy.

Of course, I did tweak the recipe and added a little espresso powder.  I topped them with chocolate frosting, but not a buttercream.  More like a thick glaze which gets better as it sits.  They're dense without being really fudgy.  The frosting has a great gloss.  It was my first time using either recipe.  I may tinker with them some more.

I took a basic chocolate cake recipe from the CD Kitchen site.  I cut the recipe in half, since there is no reason for me to be sitting here with 2 dozen cupcakes.  Having half that many is bad enough, especially considering that my lunch was a cupcake and a lot of frosting from licking the bowl clean.  The icing recipe is from the website. Now here's a problem I'm sure you wish you had.  The icing recipe made a LOT of frosting and I have a ton left.  Time for some sandwich creme cookies, maybe?  We'll see.

Basic Chocolate Cake
adapted from CD Kitchen

Makes @ 10 cupcakes (give or take one)

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup shortening (I used Butter Crisco)
1 egg
1/4 cup cocoa power (I used Trader Joe's Organic Cocoa)
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream sugar, shortening and egg.  Mix espresso powder and cocoa with the hot water.  Sift flour, baking soda and salt together.  Mix cocoa with the milk.  Alternately add the cocoa mixture and the sifted flour to the creamed sugar and egg.  Add vanilla.  Pour batter into lined muffin tin and bake for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Mine were done at the 30 minute mark.  

Easy Chocolate Frosting
adapted from

Makes about 3 cups

1 1/2 cups sugar
6+ tablespoons cornstarch
6 tablespoons cocoa
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups boiling water
4 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

 Mix sugar, cornstarch, cocoa and salt.  Make sure it's combined well.  Stir in boiling water.  Transfer to sauce pan and cook over low heat until mixture thickens, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.  Add butter and vanilla. Whisk until combined.  Spread while still hot.

Mine thickened to the consistency I wanted in about 15 minutes.  I added an additional 2 tablespoons of cornstarch to thicken it a touch more.  Next time I may let it sit and cool a bit before frosting the cupcakes.

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