Friday, January 22, 2010

Birthday: Round One

Tuesday was Sugarbear's 7th birthday.  Since it fell on a weekday, we just had a small family celebration that night.  He got to choose where we went for dinner (In-N-Out Burger) and I whipped up some simple cupcakes for dessert.  The recipe I used is for "Yellow Cupcakes with Simple Chocolate Frosting" from Baking Illustrated.  The cupcakes were tender and buttery.  The frosting was simply a whipped ganache- intensely chocolatey.  Make sure to use a chocolate that you enjoy eating, because its flavor will dominate.

Yellow Cupcakes with Simple Chocolate Frosting

1.  For the frosting, bring 1 cup heavy cream to a simmer in a small saucepan. Put 8 ounces chopped semi-sweet chocolate into a medium bowl and pour the hot cream over it.  Cover the bowl and let it sit for 5 minutes.  Whisk the mixture until smooth, then cover and refrigerate until cool and slightly firm, 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Don't let it chill too much longer than 1 hour or it may separate. 

2.  Once the chocolate mixture is chilled,  whip it with an electric mixer on medium speed until it's fluffy and mousse-like and forms medium-stiff peaks, about 2 minutes.  Set aside.

3.  For the cupcakes, heat the oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin tin with paper wrappers.  Whisk
1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, 1 cup (7 ounces) sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt in the bowl of a standing mixer.  Add 1 stick (1/2 cup) softened, unsalted butter, 1/2 cup sour cream, 1 large egg, 2 large egg yolks and 1 1/2 teapoons vanilla to the dry ingredients and beat until smooth and satiny, about 30 seconds.  Scrape down the bowl with a spatula and stir by hand until smooth and no flour pockets remain.

4.  Use a 1/4 cup (2 ounces) scoop to divide the batter into 12 tins.  Bake until the cupcake tops are pale gold and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 20-24 minutes.  Cool the cupcakes on a wire rack until they are room temperature, about 45 minutes.

5.  Spread 2-3 generous tablespoons of frosting onto each cupcake and serve.

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