Saturday, August 23, 2008

1 Year Cupcakeaversary!

This is not the one year anniversary of my having started this blog, which was only a few months ago. Rather, today (Sunday, August 24) is the one year anniversary of my having made my first cupcake! (I know because I never delete e-mails, and so could look up the e-mail about the potluck from a year ago). I had just started law school, and the peer advisors had organized a potluck for our section (the group of students with whom we have all our first year classes). I signed up to make a dessert. At this point I didn’t really know anyone, and was still trying to make friends, so I decided on something guaranteed to make people friendly: cupcakes. This is not to say that I had never baked before, I had made my fair share of cookies and brownies, and done a fair amount of simple cooking, but that was it. I decided to make cupcake-cones from a recipe I saw on Cupcake Bakeshop (the first food blog I had ever seen). Truthfully, I wasn’t a huge fan of the cake in the recipe, it wasn’t chocolaty enough, but it was a hit none-the-less. Hard to believe only a year ago I had never separated an egg-white, never made a caramel or a custard, and never even considered making my own recipe, much less photographing my food or running my own blog. It’s amazing how much can change in just a year.

Anyway, to celebrate my cupcakeaversary, I decided to make cupcake-cones again. This time I used the chocolate butter cake recipe from Cakelove, which I like a lot (it makes a rich and chocolaty cake), but I stuck with the original American buttercream frosting posted on Cupcake Bakeshop. Since I was taking these to a friend’s house, I didn’t frost them at home (transporting them is a pain). Instead I brought the frosting in airtight containers and let people frost their own cupcakes as they pleased. Here is the recipe I used:

Cupcake Cones

Makes ~24 cones

7 oz (1 ¼ + 2 Tbs) AP flour
2 oz (1/2 cup) unsweetend cocoa powder
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup half-and-half
2 Tbs Triple Sec (I couldn’t taste it in there at all, might just add a little half and half instead)
1 Tbs Vanilla Extract
6 oz (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
14 oz (1 ¾ cup) extra-fine granulated sugar
4 eggs

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two 8 inch cake pans with parchment paper, do not grease the sides of the pans.

2. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.

3. Whisk together the half and half, frangelico, and vanilla together.

4. On low speed, using the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and the sugar for 3 – 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

5. Add the eggs one at a time, fully incorporated after each addition.

6. Add about 1/5 of the dry ingredients, then 1/5 of the wet ingredients, and continue alternating, ending with the dry ingredients. Do this step quickly to prevent over-mixing of the batter. Don’t wait for full incorporation between additions.

7. Fill each cone just to the brim of the central hole (before the opening gets wider from the lip). Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.

8. Cool the cupcakes completely

Chocolate and Vanilla Buttercream

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

3 cups powdered sugar (more if you want the frosting even stiffer, cupcake bakeshop calls for up to 7 cups!)

¼ cup milk

1 tsp vanilla

¼ cup cocoa powder.

1. Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment cream the butter. Add the powdered sugar and beat to combine.

2. Add the milk and vanilla, beat to combine.

3. Remove and reserve half of the frosting. This is the vanilla frosting.

4. Add the cocoa powder to the remaining frosting, and beat to combine. This is the chocolate frosting.

5. Frost the cupcakes, adorn with sprinkles if you like.

As a little kick, here is the photo I took of the first cupcakes I made. My mom asked me to send a picture. Here is what she wrote back when she saw the photo: “Love the cupcakes. Long on style; short on presentation. Good thing you're studying the stylist not your thing.”

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