Georgetown Chocolate Cupcakes and 7 Things
One of the nicest things I did this weekend (which included a two hour shop inside a great Seattle baking store, Julie & Julia, and take out hot wings) was go to a friend’s goodbye party. He’s leaving for D.C., where he’ll be going to Georgetown University in the fall. As much as I love to buy gifts, I decided to make him some Georgetown cupcakes. The letters, hearts, and “13″ (representing his new class of 2013) are made of fondant.
It was my first time working with fondant! It was easier than I expected and tasted a lot better than I thought it would. It was also a lot of fun and I’m starting to picture the infinite possibilities once I master it.
But before I get to that, I’d like to show off my new award, the Kreativ Blogger award. I actually received it from two different bloggers, Cookin’ Canuck and Rachelle of Mommy? I’m Hungry! Thanks to both of you and sorry for not getting around to it sooner.
I’m supposed to give the award to 7 other bloggers, so here we go:
I’m also supposed to tell 7 interesting things about myself.
1. I don’t subscribe to any blogs. I read about 60 different blogs, but I don’t subscribe to any feeds. I can’t quite say why. Firstly, there’s a lot of blogs and I don’t have a lot of time. But also, it would become an obligation. I like to think that I’m reading your blog because I remembered it and want to see what’s new, not because you’ve updated. So I do end up reading every post at one time or another, but this is why I might not comment right away!
2. I love to volunteer. I’ve done a lot of volunteering since I began high school, and I continue to do it because I like it, not just for the hours. I’ve volunteered long term at a therapeutic center, a children’s museum, and a cancer support organization, where I help teach a pre-teen cooking class once a month.
3. I’m half Asian. My mom is Chinese and my dad is a couple European mixes. I think I’ve gotten the best of both worlds: really good Chinese food, holidays, teachings, and at the same time, American cooking and culture.
4. I think I want to be a journalist. I’m still undecided about my future career, although it won’t be one in baking. I really love to write, photograph, and talk to different people. I also love to travel, and at least move around. I don’t think I could stand being in an office all day. Finally, I’d love to believe that whatever my career is, it’ll be something that can really make a difference for people who need help. So journalism is a career I’m considering.
5. 17 and Baking wasn’t the original name. This blog has actually gone through a ton of changes. The first name was The Rosy Chef, which I changed because it really makes no sense. I’m not a chef, I’m a baker, and I have no idea where the rosy part came from. After that, I was Floured Apron for a while until I realized another blog with that name exists. For a short while, I was All Roads Lead to Cake. But it wasn’t until I decided on 17 and Baking that I was satisfied. As far as I’m concerned it’s the perfect name for me, and I plan on keeping it even after I turn 18 and beyond.
6. I am a huge, huge fan of the TV show Lost. Everyone who knows me knows how utterly obsessed I am. Both of my parents watch it too, and we love talking about theories and mysteries. I’ve got every season on DVD and recommend the show to everyone! The coming season is the last one, which makes me feel very bittersweet. :(
7. 17 and Baking is actually a year old. Sort of. I started this blog way back in August 08, under a different name. After only a few posts, though, I figured no one would ever read me and I just stopped. I don’t know why, but for some reason in March 09 I decided to start blogging again, and I haven’t stopped since (I’m so glad I didn’t quit for good.) Since I wasn’t serious the first time, I’m going to consider March 19th to be my 1 year anniversary, not August 20th.
I have mixed feelings about fondant. On the one hand, it’s beautiful. It really makes cakes look flawless and professional, and it allows so much creativity and possibility. But on the other hand, it doesn’t taste good. And somehow that defeats the purpose for me. Isn’t the whole point of baking to make something delicious? And fondant is just there for the appearance… I don’t like the idea that it has to be admired, but then peeled off before the cake is enjoyable.
Consider the show Ace of Cakes. I respect their talent and creativity, but have you noticed none of their clients ever talk about taste? They ooh and ahh over how fantastic the cake looks, and then the show abruptly ends.
Well, despite all that, I felt fondant was a skill I should learn. Working with the fondant was a lot like working with play doh. Really sweet, soft, beautifully colored play doh. I used cookie cutters for the letters, numbers, and hearts, and the whole thing was reasonably easy. Next time I’ll probably roll the fondant out thinner. But anyway, I was left with a few small balls of fondant and I decided to play around.
Yup, I played with my food!
As for the cupcakes themselves, they were the quintessential American chocolate cake. Moist, soft, and not overwhelmingly rich. The frosting was very chocolate-y and thick, and complemented the lightness of the cake perfectly! Both were definitely keepers, and so easy they might be my new go-to chocolate cupcakes.
Devil’s Food Cupcakes
Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes
Makes 20 cupcakes
6 tbsp unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
6 tbsp hot water
1/2 tsp ground coffee
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp coarse salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line two muffin tins with paper liners.
Whisk together the cocoa powder, hot water, and ground coffee in a bowl and set aside. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
In a saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter and sugar. Continually stir and don’t let it boil. Remove from heat and transfer to a mixing bowl. Beat on medium-low speed for 4-5 minutes to cool the mixture down. Add the eggs one at a time, beating between each addition and scraping the bowl as necessary. Add vanilla and the cocoa mixture until just combined.
On low speed, add half the flour mixture and mix until just incorporated. Beat in the sour cream, then the remaining flour until just combined.
Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake 20 minutes, or until risen and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in the tin for 15 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Store at room temperature.
Rich Chocolate Frosting
Makes enough to frost 20+ cupcakes
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/3 cup + 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
6 tbsp butter
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Cream the butter until smooth in an electric mixer, then add the powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Beat in the vanilla, then gradually add milk as needed. Beat until a thick frosting comes together.
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