Cupcakes!

Our wedding is in 10 days and I have good news on the knee front. X-ray shows I’m on track and am perfectly healing. I’m cleared for physical therapy to work on improving my strength and  range of motion (ROM). I’m at 70º right now and 135º or so is normal. Now I just need to practice walking down the aisle.

The amount of television I’ve watched in the last few weeks rivals the amount I’ve watched my whole life prior to my injury. I’m exaggerating a tiny bit. Just a bit. Streaming Netflix has been a lifesaver while I’ve been stuck at home. TV Shows I’ve watched their complete available libraries include: United States of Tara, Raising Hope, The League, Better of Ted, Parks & Recreation, The Killing, Damages, Downtown Abbey, Portlandia, Cake Boss. I’m currently watching: Bones, Samantha Who, Sports Night, White Collar, How I Met Your Mother, Lie to me. See? Lots of TV.

What does all this have to do with cupcakes? Well. While watching Cake Boss, I decided I need to give this decorating thing a try. I’m what you call a rustic decorating. A sprinkle of powdered sugar does wonders. I decided to start small. Cupcake small. I ordered a couple of cupcake books from Amazon (not really able to go to bookstores now).

One of those cookbooks is Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes and these cupcakes are the first recipe in the book: Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Frosting. Yum. As you can see, not a lot of fancy decorating here. I’m starting slow. You can find the recipe for the cupcake base HERE and for the dark chocolate frosting HERE.

Dairy Milk Cupcakes

In pursuit of the perfect English chocolate cupcake, I present to you my third attempt. Although not perfect, I now know the next few tweaks that will get me closer to my goal. The frosting on this version is still the whipped ganache I used for version #2. We really like it. It’s not too sweet and it’s simple: melted chocolate and heavy cream. Unfortunately, I over-whipped this batch.  The base cupcake is Dorie Greenspan’s Chocolate Chocolate Cupcakes with Dairy Milk substitutions. My first attempt at English chocolate cupcakes also used Dorie’s recipe and that has been our favorite over this course.

In the time since baking these, I baked a 4th version using a “perfected” chocolate cupcake recipe I pulled out of Food & Wine magazine  a few years ago and relegated to my magazine stack until now. I am sparing you all not sharing that version because although tasty, it wasn’t close to perfect. Until next time…

Photos by Paulrus

Dairy Milk and Wispa Cupcakes

I’m on  a quest to perfect a cupcake recipe using English chocolate. I’ve mentioned Paul’s love of Wispa Bars before. And although he ranks Wispas #1, his love is not exclusive. He likes all Cadbury chocolate, including Dairy Milks. A Dairy Milk bar is Cadbury’s version of a milk chocolate bar.

My inspiration for the recipe came from Cadbury’s UK recipe website: Chocolate Cup Cakes. The cupcake I baked is an adaptation of King Arthur’s Flour Milk Chocolate Layer Cake.  The frosting is great; a simple whipped chocolate ganache. I’ll use it again. The cake is tasty. Not perfect; it’s a bit dry. My quest for perfection continues…

Dairy Milk Chocolate and Wispa Cupcakes

You can find English chocolate at World Market or at your local gourmet grocer.

Ganache Frosting

Cupcakes

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 3 ounces Cadbury Dairy Milk, chopped (about 1/2 cup) and melted
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1/2  teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup Cadbury Drinking Chocolate
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature

Topping

Directions

1) For the ganache: Place the chopped Dairy Milk in a medium-sized bowl. Heat the cream until just boiling and pour over the chocolate. Slowly stir until completely melted and lump-free. Set the bowl in the fridge to chill while you make the cupcakes.
2) Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a standard 12 cupcake tin with liners.
3) In a medium bowl stir together: salt, flour, baking soda, and Cadbury Drinking Chocolate Set aside.
4) Place the oil, butter, sugar, and eggs in the bowl of your mixer. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.Add the melted Dairy Milk and vanilla. Mix for 1 minute.
5) Reduce the mixer speed to low and add half the dry ingredients, mixing only until they disappear. Scrape down the bowl and add the buttermilk, mixing until incorporated, then mix in the remaining dry ingredients.
6) Pour the batter into the tins, and bake 15 to 17 minutes. The cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, with just a few moist crumbs.
7) Rest the cupcakes in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.
8) To prepare the ganache: The chilled ganache should now be the consistency of chocolate pudding. Place it in the bowl of your mixer and whip with the whisk attachment until thick, light, and fluffy. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl to fully incorporate all of the chocolate.
9)Place a dollop of frosting on each cupcake and top with chopped Wispa.
Yield: 12 cupcakes.
Photos by Paulrus

{sms} red velvet cupcakes

There was controversy with this week’s Sweet Melissa Sundays recipe selection. Apparently, one person in my life really can’t stand red velvet cupcakes/cake. He doesn’t understand cocoa-flavored red cake. I was on the fence about making it. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted it. I was out of town this weekend and no one was saying, “yes yes make it!”.

Anyway, I got home and read the recipe and realized I didn’t have to wait for butter to soften (cake part) so I decided to go ahead and make it, but instead of a Red Velvet Cake I made cupcakes for easier work-distribution. Even though the recipe didn’t require butter to soften, it did require canola oil. Since I made the Little Snackie Things, I didn’t have any canola oil. After briefly debating whether it would be okay to use olive oil, I jumped in my car (in my pajamas) and ran to the store to buy it.

In the end, I’m glad I made the cupcakes. I thought they were delicious. I love the slight taste of cinnamon and cocoa. The cream cheese frosting makes it even better, but I also thought they were great plain.

Thanks to Rosy of Rosy Lips and Lavender for hosting this week’s recipe. For the recipe, please visit her blog or buy the book.