Monday, February 14, 2011

Le Valentin Traite pour Deux - Chocolate Cupcakes

A cheery little pair of sweets for two.

A number of years ago, my mother and I hosted a shower for the young woman who was soon to become our granddaughter- and daughter-in-law, respectively. I'd learned from my son that her favorite dessert was chocolate cake, so in the weeks preceding the shower I tested close to a dozen different recipes, popping samples into the mouths of anyone who happened to walk in the door.  She was, after all, going to be family, so I wanted nothing but the best.  I ended up making individual chocolate cakes, plumped with a chocolate filling, and topped with a chocolate glaze that were, eh, okay.  For all of the work, I ended up with rather disappointing results.

A month or so after this, company unexpectedly descended upon us late one evening -- more chocolate fans (are there non-chocolate fans?) -- and I was at a complete loss as to what to do.  So, when everyone was asleep, I reached for the box of Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix and made cupcakes, then grabbed The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook for the frosting, that I piped on in a delicate pattern. Naturally I destroyed the box so thoroughly no CSI would have been able to identify it, but left the cookbook conspicuously on the counter.  I got raves!  Indeed the cupcakes were delicious.  It seems, then, that a cupcake may just be more about the icing than it is about the cake, not that the cake itself wasn't very moist and delicious.  So for this Valentine's Day ending to our romantic dîner pour deux, I went with the boxed cake (Duncan Hines Swiss Chocolate this time) and the homemade frosting, topping the cupcakes with some Valentine decorations that I scored on sale.  Cute, no?

Hummingbird Bakery CookbookThe Hummingbird Bakery Notecards With Recipes (Paperstyle Notecards in Tins)I'm a chocolate cake/vanilla frosting girl, but if you prefer chocolate icing to vanilla, I've provided you with recipes for both along with the recommendation that you get this book (the lemon cupcakes and lavender cupcakes are delicious and worth the price alone), or the darling kit and little cupcake book they offer, or the great notecards. Great gifts at any time of the year for yourself, or that special person in your life, or hey, as a not-so-subtle hint to someone to make you some cupcakes!  The notecards, I find, are just perfect to use for writing Thank You notes.  I've often received a "Thank You" note back for having sent the card!

2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
5 T. unsalted butter, room temperature
2 T. whole milk
A couple of drops pure vanilla extract

Beat powdered sugar and butter together in electric mixer with paddle attachment on medium slow speed until mixture comes together and is well mixed. Turn mixer down to slower speed. Mix milk and vanilla in another bowl, then add to butter mixture a couple of teaspoons at a time. Once all the milk has been incorporated, turn mixer up to high speed. Continue beating until frosting is light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes. The longer the frosting is beaten, the fluffier and lighter it becomes.  (I tinted half of mine with red gel food coloring.) 

2 1/3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
6 1/2 T. unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
2 T. whole milk

Beat powdered sugar, but and cocoa together in electric mixer with paddle attachment on medium slow speed until mixture comes together and is well mixed.  Turn mixer down to a slower speed. Add milk to the butter mixture a couple of teaspoons at a time. Once all milk has been incorporated, turn mixer up to high speed. Continue beating until frosting is light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. The longer the frosting is beaten, the fluffier and lighter it becomes.

Some sweet Valentines received from friends and family. Thanks everyone! I love getting fun things in the mail, particularly when they're handmade as some of these were.
This is linked to:
Keeping It Simple


The Fajdich Times said...

Your recipes are always so good and fun! I can't wait to try your Ritz cookies! Happy Velentine's Day:)

Becky said...

Pattie, those are beautiful. I'm about to use a cake mix to bake some Valentine cupcakes, too! Happy Valentine's Day!


Donna Fletcher Crow said...

What a gorgeous blog, Pattie! Your recipes all look amazing! Congratulations on winning A VERY PRIVATE GRAVE on k Dawn Byrd's blog giveaway. Please send me your postal address at and I'll get it right out to you.