Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Nothin' Says Love Better Than a Cupcake

Calvin and I had a fun day yesterday getting all pumped for his Valentine's Day party at preschool. He worked with all the might a 4-year old can muster at writing his name on each valentine (he really only wrote the letter "a" while Mom filled in the rest). And I thought what better fun for Valentine's Day than to make some homemade cupcakes together! I assumed Calvin would be just as pumped to help me bake cupcakes as he was to do his valentines (especially since there were sprinkles involved!), but alas, he was most content letting me do the work while he pretend cooked in his chef's costume.

This cupcake recipe came from Taste of Home and the recipe is almost identical to Texas sheetcake, hence, that's the reason why they're called "Texas Cupcakes." The original recipe called for these cupcakes to be iced in a homemade, caramel frosting, but I deemed it absolutely necessary to forgo the caramel and load up these bad boys with buttercream. Because, really, I think we all could use a little more buttercream in our diets. I've been known to purposely take the corner piece of a sheet cake because the buttercream to cake ratio is much higher on corner pieces. Many moons ago, I had a co-worker friend who shared my passion for buttercream and she told me it was her dream to have a cake made entirely from buttercream frosting for her 40th birthday. Let me pause for a moment while I wipe the drool off my chin.

Also, while I was adding the red food coloring to the frosting, my intention was to create a pastel pink color. But instead, what I ended up with is a shade I've lovingly coined as "Pepto-Bismol Pink." So it goes. Anyway, Happy Valentine's Day!

Calvin cooking to his little heart's content

As you can see, the cupcakes were well received. Hey look! He's eating off the frosting first...ah, do we have another buttercream addict in the works?

Texas Chocolate Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 cup baking cocoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup butter, cubed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk or plain, unsweetened yogurt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Buttercream Frosting

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 4-1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 T. milk
  • 1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • food coloring, if desired

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt and baking soda. In a large saucepan over medium heat, bring cocoa, water, oil and butter to a boil. Gradually add to dry ingredients; mix well. Combine eggs, buttermilk and vanilla; gradually add to batter and mix well (batter will be very thin).

Fill paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

For frosting, in a large mixing bowl, cream butter and shortening. Add powdered sugar, milk and vanilla and beat until smooth and has a spreadable consistency. If frosting is too thick, you can add additional milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it reaches the right consistency. Spread on completely cooled cupcakes.

Yield: About 18 cupcakes

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