Remember Paula? FNBF's BFF? The gourmet queen of the ravioli episode? Well, she celebrated a [milestone] birthday last week, and FNBF hosted the party on his patio on Saturday. I offered Paula any dessert she wanted, as long as it was in the book and I hadn't made it yet. :-) Paula chose the chocolate and yellow cupcakes....
One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes (p. 453)
One bowl? These really are easy. The only thing that held me up was the butter. I had read the recipe ahead of time (sometimes I don't do this), and I knew that I had to melt and cool the butter, but I just forgot. And there I was, adding the wet ingredients to the dry, and the butter was still cold. Booo! It didn't end up ruining the batter, but there was a hold-up in the process while I melted and cooled.
It's still amazing to me how chocolaty a batter can be with merely cocoa added. I had gone to the baking supply store for food coloring, and while I was there, I spied a package of Valrhona Dutch process cocoa, i.e. the good stuff, which I bought. :-) It made for a dark and delicious cake, if I do say so myself.
I like these cupcakes because the batter is not overly sweet, which is my general complaint with desserts. These are balanced really well and plenty moist. I can't wait to make the layer cake version!
Swiss Meringue Buttercream (p. 455)
This is the dream frosting you can't get enough of. Unlike the Easy Chocolate Buttercream Frosting that went on the Yellow Cake in June, which is fine but earthbound, this is heaven: light, fluffy, buttery, not too sweet, magically delicious.
It's also quite easy to make - there's a little nit-picky part at the beginning with whisking the egg whites and sugar over simmering water, but after that, the electric mixer gets the job done all by itself.
This portion is huge! I thought this would cover only the 24 chocolate cupcakes, but I ended up having so much left over that I used it to cover the yellow ones too!
Paula wanted pink frosting, so I had to dive into the world of food coloring. A little internet research led me to gel-paste food coloring, which is evidently less likely than its liquid counterpart to spoil the texture of frosting. There were about 15 pink choices at the baking supply store, and I ended up going with "Rose Petal." Everyone online cautioned to put some white frosting aside, shoot for a slightly over-saturated color, then add in the white to bring it back to the shade you want. They were very specific about adding only a drop at a time, with a toothpick no less. This must be some powerful stuff!
Not. After about 30 toothpick drops, I just started globbing it in there. I had been beating that frosting to a pulp every time I added a dot, just waiting for the frosting to collapse, but it never did - it held up great!
Next, I had some fun with my new pastry bag and pastry tips, as you can see in the picture. My first few cupcakes were pretty sloppy, but I had so much frosting left over that I just covered the bad layers with a cuter over-layer. (I called those duplexes.)
This frosting is genius, the ultimate, the only frosting anyone should ever make, period. It's flawless in every way. And the chocolate version should be even better!!
Yellow Butter Cupcakes (p. 432)
Again I say: why would anyone want a yellow cupcake when there's a chocolate one available? Meanwhile, these were SO much more popular than the chocolate ones at the party. What gives?
I halved the yellow layer cake recipe to yield 21 cupcakes, and these cupcakes ended up being somewhat smaller than the chocolate ones. Some didn't even quite clear the top of the paper liner. I thought they tasted a little overdone, but again, everyone flipped for the yellow ones... go figure.
I frosted these with the same pink frosting, although I took the pastry bag tip off and just blobbed on a swirl, sort of like soft-serve ice cream. They looked half cute and half like turds. (I know you were already thinking that.) Didn't stop anyone from eating them though....
I probably won't make these again, because, as I've made ever so clear, I'm not a fan of yellow cake. But I'm telling you, if you make these, people will kvell. Trust me.
Until we eat again....