Sunday, January 30, 2011

Cupcakes...a little bite of heaven!

     Ok, so I know cupcakes are all the rage these days.  We even have a cupcake bakery in Hernando!  I've been there & the cupcakes are good.  They're a little expensive for my taste, especially when cake mixes are 10 for $10 at Kroger!  Even going the scratch method, which I completely prefer, is cheap.  I am also a watcher of  the Food Network's Cupcake Wars.  I could not be a judge though, because bacon in a cupcake is just gross.  I have branched out a little in this arena myself...only with the frosting (so far!).   Some day soon I might try my hand at filling, because that just appeals to me!  
     But really, cupcakes are nothing new...they are just the new big trend.  Cupcake papers were always a staple in both Momma's and Grandmother's kitchen.  It's a kid-friendly thing to bake, so pull a chair up to the counter, strap an apron on them & let them lick the beaters when the cake is in the oven!  Kids also love to wash dishes when you're done!  I find that an excellent time to mop also!!  Today I'll give you a scratch dark chocolate cake (that is to die for) with a mocha buttercream frosting.

     **If you are adventurous, go online & search "cupcake decorations".  You can get step-by-step instructions for making flowers on top with the icing and they are very easy to do!!

Dark Chocolate Cake
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup buttermilk  (you can add 1 tsp vinegar or lemon juice to sweet milk to make buttermilk)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
4 (1 oz) squares unsweetened chocolate (melted & cooled)

Heat oven to 350.  Grease & flour 2 round pans (I also line the bottom with wax paper for a perfect turn out)  OR use cupcake papers to line cupcake pan.  Beat all ingredients on high speed, scraping bowl occasionally, about 3 minutes.  Pour into pans or liners.

Bake until wooden pick comes out clean, layers 30-35 minutes, cupcakes 15 - 20 minutes.  Cool layers 10 minutes, remove from pans & cool on rack.  Remove cupcakes from pans & cool on rack.  Cool completely and frost.

Mocha Buttercream Frosting
1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
1/4 cup hot water   (or just use 1/4 cup coffee left over from breakfast)
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 tablespoons cocoa
4 1/4 to 4 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
3/4 tsp vanilla extract

Dissolve coffee granules in hot water, set aside to cool (or use left over coffee).

Beat butter and cocoa at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.  Gradually add 4 1/4 cups powdered sugar to butter mixture alternately with coffee, beginning and ending with powdered sugar.  Beat at low speed after each addition until blended.  Add additional 1/4 cup powdered sugar, if necessary.  Beat until spreading consistency.  Stir in vanilla.  Yield: 2 1/3 cups   Put in a ziploc bag & snip off one corner.  Squeeze around the cupcake, starting in the middle.  Very fancy!

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