I spent a few hours last night cutting eggplant and vegetables for caponata, and then cooking them and taking photos… and then I made some chocolate cupcakes for my friend Erica’s birthday. The caponata was going to be my post today, and then I was thinking that I would post the cupcakes tomorrow. Last minute switcheroo…
My friend Jamison texted me around 6:30am this morning to inform me that today is National Chocolate Cupcake Day. I texted back: “Get out, really?” “Yep”, he replied, and then sent me the link to prove it. So I sent him a pic of a chocolate cupcake that I just happened to make last night to celebrate my friend Erica’s birthday which is tomorrow. I mean, how crazy is that?!! I told him that this would be perfect for the blog, in which he replied “Blog away..” I love having foodie friends. I might have totally missed this, so thank you Jamison..
When I was planning on the baking cupcakes for Erica, my thoughts were yellow. Yellow, because I call her my sunshine. Erica is not only my friend, but she is my co-worker as well. When the day gets stressful as it often does, I stop down for what I call a little sunshine. It’s like you walk into her cubicle and there is sunshine just radiating. She will sit there and listen to my petty grievances and rants, and then she just comes up with the craziest remark, and totally makes me laugh, washing away any stress that I might have thought I had five minutes before. I just love that girl….
So, to signify sunshine, I thought I’d make chocolate cupcakes with yellow rose frosting cupcakes.
Corny? Most likely.
Fitting? Most definitely!!
Ok, so why photos of chocolate frosted cupcakes, and not yellow frosting? While I still like that idea of yellow.. that changed quickly when I realized at 10pm that I didn’t have yellow food coloring! I could have made a different color, but then I caught sight of marshmallows on the top shelf of my cupboard…I knew right away that I was going to make a marshmallow crème filled chocolate cupcake with chocolate frosting. I mean, what else could really make a sunshiny statement more than chocolate? Right? Yeah, I thought so too…I’m so glad that I didn’t have that yellow food coloring….
Chocolate. The new sunshine.
Happy Birthday Erica, I’m lucky to have you as my friend, and life is truly good.
Marshmallow Crème Filled Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting
(Makes 24 cupcakes)
2 cups cake flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 ¾ cups sugar
½ cup (1 stick) cold butter, shredded with a cheese grater
½ cup vegetable oil
1 ½ tsp vanilla
1 cup half and half
½ cup strong coffee
Preheat your oven to 350°. Line your cupcake tin with cupcake liners.
In a mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder and sugar. On low speed, add the butter and vegetable oil until well blended. Don’t worry, at this point it’s going to look more like cookie dough than cake batter.
Add the half and half, coffee, and vanilla and beat on medium speed until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, making sure they are well blended after each egg. Increase the mixer’s speed to high and beat for about three minutes.
Fill the lined cupcake tins about 2/3 full. Bake for 16 minutes, or when a toothpick comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool completely.
1 cup mini marshmallows
2 tbsp butter
1 cup confectionary sugar
1 tbsp heavy cream
A pinch of salt
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Stir the mini marshmallows to the melted butter, and continue to melt them over low heat. You don’t really need to stir them constantly, just watch them because it all melts rather fast. Let the marshmallow crème cool completely.
Add the marshmallow crème to your mixing bowl, and to that add the confectionary sugar, heavy cream, and salt. Mix on medium speed until well blended.
Spoon the marshmallow crème into a 14” decorating bag that is loaded with a plain round extra- large tip (I use Wilton 1A), and insert the tip into the top of the cupcake and give a gentle squeeze until you see the cupcake bulge just a little, about 2 seconds! If you squeeze too hard, you’ll end up with a cracked cupcake and crème gushing out of the top!
Repeat with the rest of the cupcakes.
For the frosting, I left the remaining marshmallow crème in the mixing bowl. Whatever you have left in the bowl is fine. After you fill the cupcakes, there will probably be about ½ cup crème remaining.
To the remaining marshmallow crème, add:
3 cups confectionary sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
½ cup heaping with unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp heavy cream, possibly 3 tbsp*
Beat the marshmallow crème, confectionary sugar, butter, cocoa powder, vanilla and heavy cream until fluffy.
*Add more heavy cream if you feel it needs more to be a spreadable consistency. Not too soft so that when you pipe it on the cupcake it flops, but not too hard so that it is impossible to squeeze out of the decorating bag!
Spoon the frosting into a 14” decorating bag that is loaded with an extra- large star tip (I use Wilton 1M). Beginning in the middle of the cupcake, pipe about 1 inch up, and begin to swirl around the cupcake until you reach the edges, about two times around the cupcake.
Add whatever decorations that tickle your fancy….
We will talk caponata tomorrow….