Before I start to talk about that scrumptious little guy up there, I’d like to thank everyone who read my first post! I love all the support — you’re all so great. 🙂
On another note, I recently realized that I hardly have any Valentine’s Day kitchen decorations. I collect salt and pepper shakers, and have my oh-so-cute Hershey’s Kisses shakers out in preparation for February. But that’s IT! Oh, the horror! So naturally I took a trip to Sur la Table in search of something that would fill the void, and I think I struck adorable gold!
A heart-shaped spatula with the word “love” in different languages!
I’m such a sucker for cutesy decorations. I’m sure my boyfriend loves having them around the apartment too…ha!
Okay, so today’s recipe was made in celebration of my dear friend Fernando’s birthday! He specifically asked me to make him cupcakes for his birthday and I happily accepted.
There were just two rules:
1. They had to be chocolate.
2. No banana.
Of course after he told me “no banana” all I could think about was how great banana and chocolate sounded…mmmmm. Once I stopped drooling, I decided on a basic chocolate cake recipe and thought a tasty topper would be a brown sugar and cinnamon buttercream. Yumm-o! As usual, I tweaked the recipe and made my own frosting. 🙂
Chocolately-Chip Cupcakes w/Brown Sugar-Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting
2 cups all-purpose flour, unsifted
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter at room temperature
2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup milk chocolate chips
3 oz semi-sweet chocolate, melted
Don’t know how to melt chocolate? Don’t have a double-boiler? Don’t worry! It’s super easy. Fill a small pan with water (about 1/8 full) and place over low heat. Nest a metal bowl on top of the pan, so the bottom of the bowl does NOT touch the water. Put the chocolate in the metal bowl, and stir. Within a few minutes, you’ll have melted chocolate!
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Combine flour, baking powder, soda and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, and vanilla and blend thoroughly.
Add flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition. The mixture should be thicker by now (obviously), but still pretty wet.
Add melted chocolate and beat thoroughly.
Mix in chocolate chips, distributing evenly throughout the batter.
Pour into a prepared muffin pan, about 3/4 full.
Bake 20-24 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Cool for about 5 minutes in the pan, then move the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.
Brown Sugar-Cinnamon Buttercream
1 cup milk
5 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter
1 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp salt (because I used unsalted butter)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tbsp cinnamon
Stir the milk and flour over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until it thickens. The consistency changes almost unexpectedly, so don’t walk away from it. And don’t be disturbed by how it looks. I know, it’s gross. But the end result is tasty, I promise! After the mixture thickens, take it off the heat and set it aside to cool.
In a bowl, beat the brown sugar, butter, cinnamon and vanilla for about 5-10 minutes. Why so long? The sugar has to dissolve, so when you can’t taste the graininess anymore, you’re done.
Add the milk mixture to the butter mixture and blend until smooth. Then add the heavy cream and keep blending until the frosting thickens slightly. Remember that when you put this in the refrigerator the frosting gets a lot firmer, so don’t worry if yours isn’t quite decorating-ready.
I think if I use this cake recipe in the future, I will attempt to thicken it a little bit. On some of the cupcakes, the chocolate chips fell straight to the bottom, creating an unexpected (yet still pretty darn good) bottom crust. Overall, success! 🙂 Happy Birthday, Fernie!