Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Everyone's Friend:Yellow Butter Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Frosting

(Thank you to those who wrote and sent their love over the past few days. I am working through some personal stuff right now, but please don't mistake my tone in this post for flippancy--humour is simply my way of working through things.)

* * *

Believe me when I say I really wanted to come back with a healthy, non-dessert recipe, but the truth is I've been living off of these cupcakes for days.

You know what else is the truth? After a few days away from keyboard, I start to miss blogging--and I especially start to miss all of you. That's why I'm back already; I couldn't stay away.

I got through the busy weekend pretty well, thanks to a lot, and I mean a lot, of Cadbury mini eggs. Well, it wasn't all smooth sailing, there was that minor mishap on Easter Sunday morning when we were getting ready for church. In my ever-present battle against Noah's dry skin, I grabbed what I though was his moisturizer and liberally-yes, even hastily-applied it all over his arms, torso and face...only to discover seconds later that it was my moisturizer with a hint of sunless tanner.
What ensued afterward was an encounter with a washcloth so thorough, it left us both more than a little hot under the collar.
That stuff streaks like nobody's business.

OK, so it's a little late to be bringing you Easter treats, but you must look past the mini eggs and focus on The Perfect Cupcake: Yellow Butter Cake with Dark Chocolate Frosting. This one is Martha Stewart all the way and there is simply no need to mess with it. She's serious when she says it's a crowd-pleaser; it's a combination so classic and homey that no one can resist. I've certainly demonstrated that I can't.

The duo also makes one heck of a layer cake. I'm giving directions for both cake and cupcakes. Both recipes are from The Martha Stewart Baking Handbook, one of my favorite baking cookbooks. (Psst! If you don't own it yet, you can purchase it via the Amazon link on my sidebar. Yay!)

So there's some pretty cool stuff coming up on Under the High Chair that you'll just have to see to believe. Yep, more super cool giveaways, a pancake the tastes like pumpkin pie, and...An Announcement. Ohhh.

I'll give you a hint: what do you get when you combine a Pregnancy, a Pen and a Publisher?
Find out soon and don't bother to try and drag it out of me, my own mother doesn't even know!

Yellow Butter Cake

Makes two 9-inch cake layers or 24 cupcakes

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans

1 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 3/4 cups sugar

4 large eggs

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 9-by-2-inch round cake pans; line the bottoms with parchment paper. Butter parchment, and dust with flour, tapping out excess; set aside. FOR CUPCAKES: Line two standard 12-cup muffin pans with paper liners.

Into a medium bowl, sift together flours, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour; beat until combined after each addition. Divide batter between the prepared pans, and smooth with an offset spatula.
For Cupcakes: divide the batter evenly among the prepared cups so that each is about two thirds full.

Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until cakes are golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. (20 min. for cupcakes) Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool 20 minutes. Invert cakes onto the rack; peel off the parchment. Reinvert cakes and let them cool completely, top sides up.

Frost with Dark Chocolate Frosting

Chocolate Frosting

Frosts one 9-inch layer cake
or 24 cupcakes, generously.

24 ounces best-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon Dutch-process cocoa powder

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon boiling water

3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

Pinch of salt

Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over (but not touching) simmering water. Turn off heat; stir occasionally until chocolate has melted completely, about 15 minutes. Set bowl on countertop, and let chocolate cool to room temperature, 25 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine cocoa powder and boiling water in a small bowl; stir until cocoa is dissolved.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, confectioners' sugar, and salt on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add melted chocolate; beat on low speed until combined, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in cocoa mixture.

To frost a layer cake: Using a serrated knife, trim tops of cakes to make level; brush off crumbs. Place four strips of parchment paper around perimeter of a serving plate or lazy Susan. Place the first layer on the cake plate, and spread top with 3/4 cup of frosting. Place the second layer on top, bottom side up, and spread top with 3/4 cup of frosting; repeat process with the third layer. Place the remaining layer on top of the third layer, bottom-side up; insert a dowel into the center of cakes if necessary. Spread entire cake with remaining frosting.


Julie said...

Ooh, sounds like exciting news - can't wait to hear! And I sure could go for one of those cupcakes right about now. I'm trying to avoid sale prices on Mini Eggs this week...

Half Baked said...

I've been gorging on those mini eggs for about 2 weeks now. It's a good thing they only come out once a year! Your cuppies are adorable and look soo good. Can't wait for your announcement..a book maybe??!!??

Melissa said...

Those cupcakes look so divine! Hope all is well.

abigail @ Paper and Cake said...

i've lived off of cupcakes for a week and a half before, and let me tell you they can cure anything!

cadbury eggs and chocolate aside, i've missed you :) i really hope things are going okay/better?

Coco Bean said...

OMG they are too cute! Can't wait for the announcement.

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Delightful cupcakes! I think you should have left the sunless tanner on Noah - he would have looked like an Easter egg. Can't wait to hear the announcement!

kickpleat said...

Sounds like you've had a crazy weekend and I too can't wait to hear all the exciting news! As for the cupcakes, well they look perfect!

mlindley said...

Baby oil will work wonders when trying to remove sunless tanner.

I am so glad that you back, and very excited for your news. ; )

Anonymous said...

these are genius! i am keeping this recipe for next year!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Now that you're making us all hold our breath for your exciting news, the least you could do is bake some of these cupcakes for all of your faithful readers!

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

That's rough but sounds like you have exciting things afoot to carry you through. Pregnancy, pen and publisher....

Maria said...

Love the cupcakes. Glad you are back! I hope all is well for you and your family.

Aimée said...

Hi Julie- I know, sales! Must stock up.

Hi Half-Baked- That's why you have to freeze some to last over the summer.

Hi M. Houseman- Thanks!

Hi Abigail- Amen! PS.I missed you too.

Hi Coco Bean- Thanks. Hang in there. ;)

Hi Lynn- He was bright pink from all the scrubbing anyway!

Hi Kickpleat-Weekend was one for the books for sure.

Hi Michelle- Thanks for the tip, hopefully I won't have to use it!

Hi Anon- Great! Sorry it wasn't up in time for this year....

Hi Lydia- Yes ma'am!

Angela Chin said...

I. Love. Cadbury Mini Eggs.

Thanks for posting the recipe....I've been tempted to bake cupcakes and the pictures you took are total gorgessity. You are making great use of your SLR!

I'll pray for your family...and am also excited to hear your good news :)

Rose said...

Hey Aimee, still reading the blog, the pictures always delight me. I really hope your cookbook is coming out. I will definitely sign up for a copy. I made your cranberry shortbread cookies for my friend for his birthday and they were quite a hit!

Ingrid_3Bs said...

Yummy cupcakes! Can't wait to hear what is obviously new and exciting news for you.

Hope each day gets better! :)

Terrie said...

I love those cupcakes - the best thing to remind me of old home days 'way back then'. I remember getting one as a girl and thought I was the luckiest person in the world to have a whole little cake to myself!

To anyone who wants or needs to know: Aimee can KEEP a SECRET - her lips are like a vault! A great DIL!!

Lo said...

Gorgeous cupcakes. I love how you've nested the eggs in the chocolate frosting!

And as for your news... this is a cliff hanger if I ever heard one. I can't wait to hear what you have to say!

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

These cupcakes look amazing as always Aimee. I hope you had a wonderful Easter:D

Cheryl Arkison said...

Mini eggs make everything better. I usually go out of my way to fill up at the gas station when I'm having a crap day, just so I can buy mini eggs. I only buy them there for some reason.

Feel better.

Aimée said...

Hi Ange- Thanks for stopping by and for the compliment. That means a lot coming from a pro like you. Hugs.

Hi Rose- Hey girl! Thanks for the love.

Hi Ingrid- Aw, thank you.

Hi Grammy- Come on over-I saved one for you.

Hi Lo- Simplest decorating ever!

Hi Val- Thank you!!

Hi Cheryl- It doesn't matter where you get your fix, apparently.

Elyse said...

Hahhaha, sunless tanner just begs for funny mishaps! Glad everyone got clean--even though it took some vigorous scrubbing. These Easter cupcakes are totally precious! I'm going to save the cake and frosting recipe, for sure. So glad you're back!

Emily said...

Happy belated Easter. Very sorry to hear about your uncle! I hope things are better this week.

These cupcakes look sooo good. I can't believe it.

Leslie said...

I blog-hopped over here from Simple Mom and was delighted to find these gorgeous photos and delicious-sounding recipes. I love how the frosting makes a little nest for the eggs - makes it worth finding ways to use these at other times of the year! Thanks for sharing.

Liliana said...

Glad you're back blogging! I own the Martha Stewart Baking Handbook and these cupcakes are amazing! Great idea to decorate them with Cadbury's mini eggs! I buy bags of them only at Easter (along with Lindt Bunnies of course).

Looking forward to reading your 'announcement'.

Anonymous said...

these are so cute! cadbury eggs are my all-time favorite easter candies..yummm

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