(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.)
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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
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.