Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Chocolate Cupcakes

Happy birthday kid.

Moving has turned me into a horrible bitch goddess . (Well, all right, not that alone -- there was always a natural tendency.) Packing is boring, cleaning is tedious, waiting on mortgages is nervewracking, bleeding money is horrifying. For the past two weeks, my inclination is to bury myself in a den of my own making (couch with blanket pulled over my head) with only my DVR/Cable hookup and laptop accompanying me. And maybe some cookies.

There are short bursts of time when I can shake off the funk and be social, but they leave me pretty wrung out afterward. (This is what happens to INFJs in times of stress, I suppose.) Our recent habit of staying up 'til 1am every night probably isn't helping either.

Saturday was one of those times. We celebrated Sadie's 8th birthday with an Asian-themed party at the Finger Lakes Martial Arts studio. For the first hour, Sifu Jerry worked them like tiny mules: stretching, jumping, kicking, running. And they had a great time doing it. (Though I think Sifu Jerry has a tiny sadistic streak he plays up for the the parents watching. There's nothing like watching a mouthy kid be forced to do extra push-ups.)

After the martial arts session, the kids ate chips, pretzels, red fruit punch and chocolate cupcakes topped with red (for good luck) frosting and fortune cookies (thanks to Lis for the idea!). They played Chinese jump rope, made funny faces into the studio mirror, and beat the snot out of a punching bag. A good time was had by all.

The cupcakes were delicious - chocolately and moist. The frosting was boring; intentionally so because kids can be fussy. Not that it mattered -- some of them scraped it off anyway. Next time, I'd go with a chocolate or cream cheese frosting -- but the cupcakes were kick-ass. Both recipes are adapted from those belonging to The Martha.

Chocolate cupcakes frosted with easy "white" icing.

Chocolate Cupcakes

1 cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
¾ cup plus 2 Tbsp. milk, room temp.
2.5 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
12 Tbsp. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350-degrees F. Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt; set dry ingredients aside.

Place butter and chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave at 50-percent power at 40 to 60 second intervals until melted; stir between intervals. Transfer contents to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add milk, stirring to combine.

Stir in 1 cup sugar. Add reserved dry ingredients and beat until well combined. Add egg and vanilla; beat to combine. Pour batter into tins.

Transfer baking sheet to oven, and bake until domes form and a cake tester inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, approximately 25 minutes. Remove from oven, and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Makes 12.


Easy White Icing

1½ sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 pound (3 2/3 cups) confectioners' sugar, plus more if needed
1 tsp. vanilla
Food Coloring (optional)
1 to 2 Tbsp. milk (optional, especially if using food coloring)

In a mixing bowl, cream butter until smooth. Gradually add confectioners' sugar; beat until smooth. Add vanilla and food coloring; beat until well combined. (Scrape bowl's sides frequently.) If too thick to spread, beat in milk. More than enough for 12 standard cupcakes.

Grade: Cupcakes, A; Frosting, B-.

The goodie "bag" in a take-out box, fan on the side.



Lis said...

Awww the cupcakes are adorable! I love the asian theme (as we discussed before) it's one of my favorites. I gotta ask though.. is that real money or chocolate coins?

Laura Rebecca said...

You get mad props for the fortune cookies, Lis! (I'm going to add a link to that conversation right now.)
Those were chocolate coins; I picked them up in the bulk candy section of Wegmans.

Acme Instant Food said...

Very fun party--lucky kids. Kudos to you for getting those cupcakes such a real Chinese red. I bet everyone's tongue was also rather festive!

Laura Rebecca said...

Yes -- an entire bottle of red food coloring (and some drops of blue to darken the color) will do that...