My recipes are meant to be shared and enjoyed. I welcome you to re-post my recipes and text. I ask only that you credit me and include a link to my blog if you post any of my content.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Birthday Cupcakes

This weekend we're having our family lunch celebration for my younger stepdaughter Ashley's birthday. We're a little late celebrating, as her birthday was October 16th, but we've been waiting for a weekend when the whole family is available. My amazing mother-in-law, Cuqui, is taking care of all the Disney princesses decorations for the party, and TLOML and I are taking care of the food, including birthday cupcakes.

I grew up cooking and baking. Years ago, when my son (now 17) was young, I did a lot of baking cupcakes for birthdays, cakes for Boy Scout competitions, and cookies to take to school for every imaginable holiday. You should see my collection of cookie cutters and Wilton frosting tips!

But truth be told, I don't really like to bake. I don't hate it, I'm just not inspired by it. I much prefer the kind of cooking that I find more creative and less rigid, like making spice rubs for meat or thinking up new salad ideas. I love opening up my magic bag of tricks, you know, that big Rubbermaid container with dozens of herbs and spices, and making up a witch's brew (it is Halloween time after all) with a bit of this and a dab of that.

There's a program on Food Network about cooking with only 5 ingredients. I just can't comprehend that. Why would anyone want to limit the number of ingredients in their cooking? Where's the fun in that? I'm sure my sweet hubby is secretly hoping that program will become my favorite show :)

Anyway, besides the fact that I don't really enjoy baking and neither does my hubby, neither of us even likes sweets very much. Now, don't get me wrong. That doesn't mean that I'm a whispy little gal, but the 40 or so pounds that I need to lose are owing to my love of salty, crunchy foods and my love of wine. Thank God I don't like desserts; if I ate that stuff, I'd be big as a barn!

So as I'm shopping for ingredients to bake birthday cupcakes for my sweet Ashley, which to me has always meant a box mix and whatever gets added to it, my darling husband calls me and is horrified to learn that I'm planning to make cupcakes out of a box. I know he's kinda kidding, but I guess he has a point since we try to make everything from scratch. That way at least we always know exactly what we're eating.

In the grips of my guilt-trip, I used the Epicurious app on my iPhone to look for a homemade cupcake recipe. Don't even get me started about my love of the iPhone and the greatness of the apps and how iPhone is one of the greatest inventions of our time, but if you have an iPhone, well, first of all, you get it, and second of all, I highly recommend the Epicurious app for rescuing you from prepared food embarrassment. I found a recipe for Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cupcakes and bought the couple of ingredients I needed to prepare them.

Recipe from


Makes 12 cupcakes

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 pound zucchini, coarsely grated (1 cup)
1 (6-ounces) package semisweet chocolate chips

A muffin pan with 12 (1/2-cup) cups with paper liners

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.

Whisk together flour, cocoa, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Beat together sugar, oil, egg, and vanilla in a large bowl with an electric mixer until thick and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. At low speed, mix in flour mixture until just incorporated. Stir in zucchini and chocolate chips. Divide among lined muffin cups and bake until tops spring back when lightly pressed, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in pan 5 minutes, then turn out to cool completely.
I frosted the cupcakes with chocolate buttercream frosting, using a star tip and a disposable pastry bag. Of course I forgot to take pics of the finished product!

Prep: 10 min. If you love lots of frosting, double the recipe.
This recipe goes with Basic Layer Cake, Vanilla Cupcakes (and Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cupcakes)
Yield: Makes about 2 1/4 cups

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 (16-oz.) package powdered sugar
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
5 to 7 Tbsp. milk

1. Beat first 3 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.
2. Whisk together powdered sugar and cocoa.
3. Gradually add powdered sugar mixture alternately with 3 Tbsp. milk, 1 Tbsp. at a time, beating at low speed until blended and smooth after each addition. Beat in up to 4 Tbsp. additional milk for desired consistency.

Southern Living, MARCH 2009

No comments:

Post a Comment