Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

Like I promised, this will be my last post from the baby shower series. Inside the boxes set on the table were these adorable cupcakes as shower favors. Since the mother-to-be is expecting a boy, I decorated the cupcakes by placing little blue fondant animal cut-outs in the middle of the chocolate frosting.

One thing to note about this recipe is that it does double very well. Cooks Illustrated recommended making two separate batches and baking each separately as to not compromise the cupcakes’ rise. Another tip for cupcakes is to refrigerate them unfrosted overnight, then let them come to room temperature before frosting and serving. This helps give cupcakes that moist texture that make biting into a cupcake so enjoyable.

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
from Cooks Illustrated

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position; heat oven to 350 F degrees. Line standard-sized muffin pan with baking-cup liners.
2. Combine butter, chocolate, and cocoa in medium heatproof bowl. Set bowl over saucepan containing barely simmering water; heat mixture until butter and chocolate are melted and whisk until smooth and combined. Set aside to cool until just warm to the touch.
3. Whisk flour, baking soda, and baking powder in small bowl to combine.
4. Whisk eggs in second medium bowl to combine; add sugar, vanilla, and salt and whisk until fully incorporated. Add cooled chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Sift about one-third of flour mixture over chocolate mixture and whisk until combined; whisk in sour cream until combined, then sift remaining flour mixture over and whisk until batter is homogenous and thick.
5. Divide batter evenly among muffin pan cups. Bake until skewer inserted into center of cupcakes comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes.
6. Cool cupcakes in muffin pan on wire rack until cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes. Carefully lift each cupcake from muffin pan and set on wire rack. Cool to room temperature before icing, about 30 minutes.
7. Frost with chocolate cream frosting, recipe below.

Chocolate Cream Frosting
12 ounces semisweet chocolate
1 2/3 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup light corn syrup

1. Break up chocolate and pulverize in food processor until it is the texture of coarse sand.
2. Bring heavy cream to a boil, and with machine running, pour hot cream over the chocolate. Add corn syrup; process until just combined.
3. Turn mixture into a bowl and refrigerate until spreadable, stirring with a wooden spoon every 15 minutes; about 1 hour.

A Catered Baby Shower

Here are a few shots from the baby shower I catered last weekend. That’s right, I don’t just bake these days, I do catering too! After the success of Jenn’s bridal shower, I kept thinking about how much I enjoyed every aspect of throwing it – working with others in planning and the coordination of food and logistics. What I loved most was that in helping, the guest of honor was left worry-free from the painstaking details needed to make the event successful.

My involvement in the shower kept coming up in conversation from time to time, so when my co-worker told me the news that he and his wife were expecting their first this summer, he had the grand idea of having me cater his shower. I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into, but I jumped at the chance to flex my planning skills.

They wanted an outdoors seated lunch which took some time confirming a venue, but in the end it worked out nicely on the rooftop of a Columbus Circle apartment. What did I come up with in terms of food, you ask? This.

My test run included half a steak roll and half a lobster roll, but the final menu only had full lobster rolls. Below is my menu, and I will have detailed posts on the baked goods in the near future.

Hors D’oeuvres
Smoked Salmon Mousse in Cucumber Cups
Prosciutto Cantaloupe Crostini

Field Greens and Basil with Balsamic Vinaigrette and Parmesan Crisp

Main Course
Lobster Rolls with Root Chips

Fruit Tart/Nutella Tart

Chocolate Cupcake with Chocolate Ganache