It's my birthday! It's not everyday a girl, really a lady, turns 29. Twenty-nine, sounds so old! Maybe it's the "9" in there that sounds weird because honestly 30 sounds friendlier than 29 right about now. There are a lot of things I would like to accomplish before I turn thirty in a year. I love having my birthday in the middle of the year because it allows me to reevaluate my goals and resolutions set in January. My main goal was completed last week - I was offered a new job! Not just a new job, but a different career path. It was the perfect pre-birthday surprise I needed to jump start my new year! Another goal is to travel and visit more; to be more present with the people I love and spend more face time together. My last goal is to continue to make healthier choices in my life. I'm definitely not getting younger and it's important to me to stay strong and healthy. Running was a fantastic start last year, and I hope to add more healthy additions to my life throughout this year.
And since it's my birthday and I can do what I want; I made my own birthday cupcakes two weeks before my actual birthday so I would have them to post today. I also made my own birthday treat for my family party yesterday; I can't wait to share that recipe with you soon!
These were not my original plan. I had left over strawberry and chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream and thought I could whip up a vanilla version to make an awesome Neapolitan cupcake. Unfortunately fresh strawberries in a frosting don't hold up well after a few days in the fridge. Luckily, I improvised!
One of my favorite treats in the summer is a vanilla/chocolate soft serve ice cream cone smothered in colorful sprinkles. There is something so fun and refreshing about that combination, I can't stop. Here is my tribute to a great summer staple in cupcake form! For a more comprehensive frosting-how-to, click my original swirled frosting recipe here.
I've waited a long time to try the ultimate chocolate cupcake recipe from The Cupcake Project. I adore the ultimate vanilla cupcake and have used it over and over again. The chocolate version is a bit disappointing. The texture was delightful - moist and tender with a soft crumb, but the flavor was lacking. I wanted a more intense chocolate flavor with depth. Perhaps I needed a better cocoa powder and melted chocolate. One change I will definitely be making is substituting the warm water for coffee; coffee adds fantastic depth of flavor to chocolate.
Don't get me wrong here, the cupcakes were still amaze-balls! I heard Snooki using that word on MTV today (LOVE summer trash TV) and I died a little because I love that word, but her using it ruined things for me a bit. I nick-picked the cupcake portion, but it's completely edible and tasty. The frosting on top is rich and creamy without being too sweet and is the star of the show. As an extra bonus we have sprinkles! Everything tastes better with sprinkles.
One Year Ago - Chocolate Malt Cupcakes
Chocolate & Vanilla Twist Cupcakes Chocolate cupcake adapted from the Ultimate Chocolate Cupcake by Cupcake Project Yield - 16 cupcakes
Chocolate Cupcakes 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature 1 cup sugar 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, I used Ghiradelli 70% 2 eggs, room temperature 2 egg yolks, room temperature 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1/3 cup nonfat Greek yogurt 1 cup flour 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 cup cocoa powder, I used Ghiradelli 1/2 cup water, room temperature
- Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F and line the cupcake tins with liners.
- Beat the butter and sugar together in the bowl of stand mixer with a paddle attachment until the mixture resembles wet sand.
- Melt the chocolate in the microwave in 20-second intervals until just melted. Add to the butter-sugar mixture and beat until combined.
- Beat in the eggs and egg yolks one at a time until fully incorporated. Scrape the bowl as needed.
- Whisk together the oil, vanilla, and yogurt. Set aside.
- Whisk together the flour, salt, soda, and cocoa powder. Also set aside.
- Add the dry ingredients in three additions with the wet ingredients in between on low speed until just combined.
- Beat in the water until combined.
- Use a standard size ice cream scoop to portion the batter. Bake for about 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Let cool completely on a wire rack.
Chocolate & Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream 5 egg whites 1 1/2 cups sugar pinch of salt 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature splash of vanilla 5 ounces dark chocolate 1 vanilla bean, seeds removed sprinkles
- Set up a double boiler by adding a small amount of water to a small saucepan.
- Place the bowl of a stand mixer on the small saucepan and add the egg whites, sugar, and salt to the bowl. Heat and whisk until the mixture is no longer gritty.
- Transfer the bowl to the stand mixer and beat on high speed with the whisk attachment until stiff peaks form and the bowl is cool to the touch, about 10 minutes.
- Beat in the butter at medium-high speed one tablespoon at a time until everything is incorporated. Scrape the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla.
- Divide the frosting in half.
- Melt the chocolate in the microwave in 20-second intervals until just melted. Beat into half the frosting.
- Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and beat into the other half of the frosting.
- Add a small scoop of each frosting to a separate, disposable piping bag. Flatten the bags as best you can and be careful not to overfill the bags. Snip the ends of the pastry bags.
- Place the bags together in a large pastry bag with a star tip. Twist the top together and squeeze out. Pipe onto each cupcake.
- Dip half of each cupcake in sprinkles.