Thursday, October 31, 2013

Boo! Chocolate Cupcakes


We had a potluck lunch today at work and since I volunteered to bring dessert (shocking, right?), I wanted to make something that everyone would enjoy but that was also Halloween-y.  Last year, I made dirt pudding, but this year, I wanted to really make something special.

My cake decorating skills are still pretty limited, but I figured I could easily pipe some lines of frosting on a cupcake to look like a mummy.  M&Ms for eyes add the perfect touch.

I went into this cupcake making adventure completely blind.  While I've had good results from the recipes in my KitchenAid book, I haven't tried them all.  The frosting recipe was something I found online awhile ago and then tucked away for a time when I could figure out what to put with it.  I thought chocolate cake and marshmallow frosting would taste something like a whoopie pie.  Since I was making them last night while waiting for game 7 of the World Series to start (spoiler alert: my Red Sox won!), it seemed apropos and timely.

I've used the white cake recipe in the KitchenAid book before and it make about a dozen cupcakes, so I doubled this one, thinking I'd get about 24.  Obviously something crazy happened, because I got 36 regular sized cupcakes and 10 mini ones.  Ah well.. at least I had enough frosting!

As far as the frosting goes, I'm learning that patience is key.  When it says "whip butter until smooth and creamy", that means whip the butter until it's smooth like... well, like buttah!  Seriously, you want the butter to be super smooth and creamy.  And then you really want to thoroughly mix in the marshmallow fluff, until the contents of your bowl are white.  This was the fluffiest frosting I've ever made and it was the perfect piping consistency.  It made me wish I was better at decorating so I could have tried something better or more intricate than just crisscrossing lines.  I think as long as I'm patient with my regular buttercream frostings, I'll be able to get consistently fluffy results every time.

We live in an apartment building and there aren't many kids that live here, so we don't get any trick or treaters.  Instead, we're hanging in our PJs, eating mummy cupcakes and watching the Bengals-Dolphins game (hey, the Bengals are Halloween colors!).  How are you celebrating Halloween?

Chocolate Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting

Chocolate cake:
2 c. flour
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. shortening
1 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted*
*I substituted 3 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder + 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil for each ounce of melted chocolate

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake papers or spray with non-stick spray.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine dry ingredients.  Add shortening, milk and vanilla.  Turn mixer on low and beat until combined - batter will be a little lumpy. Add eggs and chocolate; mix until combined.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat on medium-high speed for about 1 minute, or until batter turns from a dark chocolate to a milk chocolate color.

Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 full.  (I got 16 regular sized cupcakes from the recipe above).  Bake for 18 minutes or until the tops spring back when lightly pressed and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let cool in the pans for a couple of minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Marshmallow Frosting:

1 cup (2 sticks butter), room temperature
1 7.5 oz. jar marshmallow fluff
2 c. confectioner's sugar
2-4 Tbsp milk

Using a mixer, cream butter until smooth and creamy.  Add in marshmallow fluff and beat until fully incorporated.  Slowly add in the sugar, making sure each additional is fully combined before adding more.  Add in the milk, 1 tablespoon at a time.  Beat until frosting is soft and fluffy, adding more milk or sugar to reach desired consistency.

To make the mummy cupcakes, put the frosting into a zip top bag and snip off the end.  Pipe crisscrossing lines across the cupcake.  Use m&ms for eyes, "m" side down.

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