Thursday, March 17, 2011

Cupcakes on Impulse for St. Pat's


The luck of the Irish clearly does not apply to Lebanese girls. At 11 p.m. last night I was picking green frosting out from beneath my fingernails. My cheeks were smudged with dry patches of chocolate cake batter, and the hard wood floor was splattered with butter cream.

My kitchen had transformed into a war zone over the course of two hours, and all from an impulsive decision at 8 p.m. to make rich chocolate cupcakes and green butter cream frosting (both from scratch) for St. Patrick’s day.

As I gazed upon my sweet creations, perfectly aligned in rows of four (one's missing in the photo because I ate it), the moment couldn’t help but be bitter sweet. I was happy to be done with baking and so unhappy to see the pile of dishes stacked in my sink. Never the less, I now know how to make my own butter cream frosting! The cupcakes are most rich in chocolate/cocoa. So if you’re a chocoholic, this batter has your name written all over it. I, candidly, can't get through one of these cupcakes before I need a tall glass or milk.

I love St. Patrick ’s Day. Truth be told, I love about any holiday that encourages people to dress festively and drink profusely in the good company of friends and family.

For an Irish beat, I chose Galway Girl sung by Steve Earl and Sharon Shannon. For my Gerard Butler fans out there, this is the song he sings at the pub in P.S. I Love You.

I hope you’re wearing green today to avoid getting pinched!

Rich Chocolate Cupcakes:
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 1/4 sticks of butter, softened
2 large eggs

1 - preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tin with paper baking liners.
2 - combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, combine milk and vanilla. Set both aside.
3 - In a large bowl, with mixer at low speed, beat sugar and butter together just until blended. Increase speed to high; beat 3 minutes, or until mixture is light and creamy. NOTE: use a heave-duty mixer with whisk not paddle.
4 - reduce speed to low and add eggs in one at a time, beating well after each addition.

5 - add flour mixture alternately with milk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat just until combined.
6 - spoon batter into muffin-pan cups, filling each about half way full. Bake 20-25 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center of cupcake comes out clean. Immediately remove from pans and cool completely on wire racks.
7 - Prepare frosting and frost cupcakes.

Butter cream frosting:
2 sticks of butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
4 tbs milk

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and vanilla. Blend in the sugar (1/2 cup at a time), beating well after each addition. Beat in the milk and continue mixing until light and fluffy. Keep icing covered until ready to decorate.

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