Birthdays are super fun. Just putting that out there. They create perfect opportunities to sing off-key, wear cute clothes, and eat cake and ice cream.
Let’s be real, that last component is kind of the most important. A birthday without cake or ice cream?! That’s a major problem.
I did some major “problem-prevention” this past weekend. You see, it was Aislinn’s 17th birthday, and I was worried that she’d somehow end up without a cake. I couldn’t let that happen. So, I baked these chocolate cupcakes with these two girls.
Baking with other people just makes everything more fun! Les Mis songs and junior prom talk were major. Plus, we managed to create cute cupcakes! Us Blueprint girls can write AND bake… we’re multi-talented.We baked basic chocolate cupcakes and dipped the tops in rich chocolate ganache. (I also threw some leftover batter into a round cake pan and baked an extremely thin, round thing. It was pretty much inedible, but it made a nice canvas for writing “Happy Birthday”.) The original recipe is for layer cakes, but we decided to change it up a bit. Apparently, that cake recipe resulted in QUALITY cupcakes… really flavorful and tender (I actually don’t like layer cakes, so I’m a terrible at judging their quality). They paired nicely with chocolate ganache- sweet and sophisticated. Of course, we had to decorate them too, so Rachel and Clare added little circles of sprinkles. Pink, polka-dotty, and classy… perfect for Aislinn!
*Sidenote: Aislinn is pronounced “ASHlynn”, not “AYYslinn”. Unless, of course, you’re Freeman or my mother. Then, you pronounce it ”ASSlinn” ;)
Notes: The chocolate ganache will not explode if you use 6.1 oz of chocolate instead of 6 oz. You can thank Clare for this bit of info, since she chopped 0.1 oz more chocolate than I told her to. CLAAARE!!! Also, feel free to bake the batter in two 8 or 9-inch cake pans to make a layer cake! A slathering of buttercream in the middle would be tasty.
Chocolate Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Ganache
- 1 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
- 21/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 11/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Set cupcake papers into cupcake pans. Set aside.
2) Sift the cocoa powder into a large bowl, and whisk in 11/2 cups boiling water until smooth. Set aside.
3) Whisk the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the eggs, oil, sour cream, and vanilla and beat on medium speed until smooth. Reduce the mixer speed to low, and slowly pour in the cocoa mixture in a steady stream. Beat until just combined, and mix in any leftover flour streaks by hand. Fill each cupcake liner a bit more generously than usual- you want the finished cupcakes to be tall and domed. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean, about 15-20 minutes. Transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.
- 6 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
1) Heat the cream in a small saucepan until it’s simmering. Remove from the heat, and pour in the chopped chocolate. Submerge as much of the chocolate in the hot cream as possible, and let it sit for a minute or two. Then, stir the mixture until smooth. If it doesn’t melt fully, briefly return the saucepan to the heat.
2) Dip the top of each cupcake into the warm ganache to create a smooth, uniform finish. At this point, you can apply any sprinkles or decorations that suit your fancy. Store the cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature.
Cake from Food Network Magazine and Ganache from savorysweetlife.com