Monday, June 10, 2013

Convertible Chocolate Cupcakes

Not many things are better than a chocolate cupcake. I came across this chocolate cake recipe in January when I was brainstorming cupcake ideas for my friend Evan's birthday. Although the recipe is a bit more burdensome than others, it is my favorite. In fact, this is the only chocolate cake recipe I have used since discovering it. The best part about a good cake recipe is how versatile it can be. I've tweaked this recipe to be everything from a Malted Milk Cupcake to an Irish Car Bomb Cupcake. All it takes to make these chocolate cupcakes convertible is different fillings and frostings--and maybe a beer, or two.

Malted Milk Cupcakes

Malted Milk Cupcakes: These are the cupcakes I ended up making for Evan's birthday, since Whoppers are her favorite candy. I simply combined my chocolate cake recipe with a malted milk frosting. By using malted milk powder in the frosting, it made it thick, creamy and taste exactly like the center of a Whopper! This frosting is super sweet, so a little bit goes a long way. In fact, next time I think I will make a semi-sweet or milk chocolate frosting for these cupcakes and put the malted milk frosting inside as a filling, it would balance things much better and make the cupcake resemble the candy as well as taste like it!

Reversed Black and Blue Cupcakes: The Moon Under Water, a British tavern in St. Pete that pours the most perfect Guinness, inspired this bad boy. This cupcake is a reversed, cupcake version of the Black and Blue beer. Replacing the cup of water called for in my chocolate cake recipe with a cup of Guinness transformed my traditional chocolate cake into a Guinness chocolate cake. I topped the cake with a Blue Moon Frosting that I got super excited about after drinking a few homemade Black and Blues--can you blame me, they're so delicious! In my excitement, I added a little too much Blue Moon to the frosting, which made it taste amazing but hard to pipe since it was so liquidy. Next time, less beer in the frosting, more in my mug ;)

This picture doesn't do these cupcakes justice. Fact: they are the most amazing 
thing you will ever put in your mouth.

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes (aka Heaven): Ryan loves St. Patrick's Day and everything involved in it. I love cupcakes. This is the love child of our favorite things. Guinness chocolate cake, Jameson Irish Whiskey chocolate ganache filling and Bailey's Irish Cream cream cheese frosting topped with a beer-shaped candy, of course. These are perfect, I need not change one thing about this recipe--except that maybe I should quadruple it because they don't last long around my house.

Cannoli Cupcakes: Don't let the idea of making cannoli cream from scratch scare you, it's totally easy and delicious! Plus, it's made with ricotta cheese so it's healthy, right? This fluffy, not too sweet chocolate cake paired perfectly with the lighter-than-air, mini chocolate chip studded cannoli cream I chose to top it with. To decorate, I bought several premade, unstuffed cannoli shells from Publix, broke them into small pieces and stuck them in the middle of each cupcake. Last minute I thought to drizzle some Jameson Irish Whiskey chocolate ganache over the tops of the cupcakes, since I had some in the fridge (I'm not lying when I say Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes are a staple at my house). The perfect finishing touch was a bit of powdered sugar sifted over top, but this should not be done until you're ready to serve.

Chocolate Raspberry-Filled Cupcakes with Chocolate Moussee Frosting: Just like the name states, this is a chocolate cupcake with a raspberry filling, topped with a homemade chocolate mousse, dipped in a chocolate shell and finished with silver sprinkles. These are the cupcakes that started it all. The OG, or the OC, if you will. These are the first intricate cupcakes I ever made. And although the cake recipe I used made for a bit of a dry cake, my new and improved chocolate cake recipe has given these babies the chance they deserve! But don't be fooled, once you try them, they wont stand a chance at your house. Just like the Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes, I recommend you at least double the recipe, because these are a hit every time.

All of these recipes can be remade using boxed chocolate cake mix. No one will blame you if you choose to make a semi-homemade cupcake. However, it is never acceptable to use store bought frosting. No one can forgive that over-sugary, elasticy, sticky goo that--by some act of science--can sit on a shelf for six months without going bad, even though it's dairy-based. Don't do it, just don't... If you choose to use a boxed chocolate cake mix, I recommend Betty Crocker's Super Moist Dark Chocolate. To make the Guinness chocolate cake using the boxed mix, all you have to do is replace the water called for in the boxed mix with Guinness (just like you would if you were using my from-scratch recipe).

There will be more cupcake posts to come. Especially since I will be making all the desserts, including cupcakes, for Mila's birthday and for my friend Vanessa's wedding. In the mean time, let me know if you have any questions, suggestions or problems. 


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