Monday, April 27, 2009

Cupcake heaven.

For L.'s bridal shower tomorrow I volunteered to bake dessert. I know she likes chocolate; cupcakes or cake, I asked. Either, she replied, as long as it's chocolate...the richer the better. I could do that Chocolate Overdose cake I made a few weeks back, or I could do cupcakes with a chocolate frosting. Cupcakes, I thought. All the better to have an excuse to buy pretty cupcake liners, bring out my cupcake stand made from curls of silver wire. I knew what I would use for the cake part - Amanda Hesser's Chocolate Dump-It cake, from Cooking For Mr. Latte. Her recipes are clear and concise, and have never let me down. But I was not happy with how the chocolate-sour-cream frosting worked with a cupcake, and needed to find something else. For K. I had made Ina Garten's cream cheese buttercream, but L. was all about the chocolate.

For days I searched the internet, first looking at buttercreams, then ganaches, and going back and forth. It kept me awake at nights. It weighed on my thoughts as I bought hot-pink striped cupcake paper liners and little pink sugar flowers with which to decorate my frosting, whichever one I chose. I bought corn syrup and cream of tartar and extra eggs, went over and over the different recipes, comparing steps and ingredients and finally went for the chocolate ganache frosting, with only five ingredients and a minimum of fussing. The night before I measured out my dry ingredients, chopped up enough chocolate to satisfy even the most rabid chocoholic, and went to bed.

The cupcakes were the easy part, melting butter and sugar and chocolate in a pan with some water, stirring in milk and eggs, sifting in flour and leavenings. A number-16 scoop neatly deposited (ok, so I dripped a little here and there) just the right amount of batter in each paper cup, and thirteen minutes of baking yielded perfectly moist little cakes. They humped up a little in the middle, but a bit of frosting would disguise that. This is where things got messy. I have no piping skills. My rosettes and swirls of ganache look quite - how shall I say this? - deranged. Hopefully no one will notice, or care, or at least not comment too pointedly. I placed little pink sugar flowers in the middle of each cake, and the result was too adorable for words. Then I ate one. And it was too incredible for words, each bite knocking me back with the intensity of the chocolate.

I hope L. will be pleased.

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