He sat at the edge of the hotel bed drunk, cheeks flushed, bow tie from his rented tux askew, the left lapel stained with a bit of vanilla buttercream, one black sock still erect, the other crumpled around his hairy calf, his middle-aged belly bursting against an already taut cummerbund. His wife slept peacefully alone in the middle of the king size bed in the overpriced hotel room, in the small city he wished he could flee. The location for his daughter’s wedding had not been his choice, like many decisions in his life. What is a choice really? An option. One path verses another. An alternative. What if you there is no alternative? Is it still choice? Well these thoughts penetrated his foggy, alcohol soaked brain, leaving him even more depressed than he was just hours before when he witnessed his daughter say yes to love, while the love he left and the love he ran to sat near.
You don’t have to do this. I’ll tell the driver to take you to the airport. Like Julia what’s her name in that bride movie!
Jesus, Dad. She said. C’mon let’s go. It’s time.
He conceded, walked beside her with arms linked, held open the church door with one hand and her long, simple veil with the other hand, for he knew better than to stand in the way of desire.
Desire always wins…at least it did in his life. He was powerless to it, yet if he could have turned his flesh to stone, felt nothing, remained in a perpetual, unchangeable state for the rest of his days he would have done so many years ago. His first wife. First love. A beautiful brunette from the same small town, left him for his best friend. A loss that changed the map of his heart, leaving roadblocks where paths once laid. His second wife. The mother of his children. His need for her so intense [at the time, before the resentment, anger and hate left him sprinting to another life.] he proposed just months after their initial meeting. [And if you asked him today why marry again? Those blue eyes. I’m a sucker for big, blue eyes.] He loved her more than the others. A love full of blood, sweat and tears, literally with each child she bore him. Lives entwined like a tree trunk and ivy. [Which will survive? Neither. An impossible feat removing one from the other…permanently.] His third and final wife. She promised less expectations. Loved him as is, barricades and overgrown paths to his heart were OK if his warm body remained beside her in bed.
So, he wept. His heaves muffled by a throw pillow for he didn’t wish to wake his wife. He wept for desire and love. Wept for thinking he understood either. Wept for his daughter and his new son-in-law. [Fools!] Yet, now sitting in a tearful, drunk haze on the edge of a plush bed, in a dark hotel room, he wished to do it all over again.
He rubbed a single finger across the dried vanilla buttercream and watched it fall like snow onto the hotel carpet then disappear into its fibers. A single flash of his daughter’s smile, a bit of buttercream above her lip while they danced to a Beatles song. He smiled, eased the rest of his tired body onto the bed and slept.
Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes with Sour Cherry Buttercream Frosting
makes about 16 cupcakes
recipe adapted from The Vanilla Bean Baking Book
Ingredients for ganache filling:
4 ounces of bittersweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup heavy cream
Ingredients for cupcakes:
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips (good quality, I sued Guittard)
1/2 cup freshly brewed coffee, hot (I used French Vanilla)
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 canola oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 Dutch process cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon Ovaltine
Directions for ganache filling:
Place chocolate chips in a medium bowl. Using a small saucepan, heat the cream until it simmers and almost boils. Pour the cream over the chocolate chips, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit undisturbed for 5 minutes. Remove plastic and wrap and whisk until completely smooth. Place bowl in the refrigerator until it is cold but not hard, about 15 to 20 minutes. Do not let it chill completely, as it will be too hard to use!
Next make your cupcake batter.
Directions for cupcakes:
Make sure oven rack is in the middle, then pre-heat your oven to 350F. Line two standard muffin tins with paper liners. Only 16 to 17 will be filled.
Place bittersweet chocolate in small bowl and pour hot coffee over it. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap. Using a medium bowl, whisk together buttermilk, canola oil, eggs and vanilla.
Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment mix the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, Ovaltine, baking soda and salt on low speed until well combined. While the mixer is running on low, slowly pour in the buttermilk mixture. Increase speed to medium and beat until completely combined, about 1 minute.
Remove the plastic wrap from the chocolate/coffee mixture and whisk until completely smooth. Lower the speed of the mixer and add the coffee mixture to the cupcake batter. Grab your spatula, swipe the sides and bottom of the bowl a few times to make sure everything is incorporated.
Using a ladle or cookie scoop, add batter to prepared pans until they are about 2/3 full. Remove ganache from refrigerator and add 1 teaspoon of ganache, placing it in the middle of the batter until each cupcake is filled.
Bake for about 15-18 minutes, until the center of the cupcakes springs back when touched. Remove from pan and cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.
Sour Cherry Buttercream Frosting
3 sticks of unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 + 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons sour cherry jam
Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until light and creamy. Add the vanilla and salt. Scrape down the bottom and the sides with a spatula. Beat on low for a minute or so and then increase the speed to medium and beat for another 2 minutes. Reduce the speed and add the confectioners’ sugar. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Increase speed to medium/high and beat until light and fluffy. Add sour cherry jam and beat for an additional minute. Frost cupcakes using an offset spatula. Cupcakes are best the day they are made but will last for a couple days stored at room temperature in an air-tight container.
5 Tasty Cupcake Links for your Sweetheart
If your sweetheart loves crème brûlée check out Call Me Cupcake’s crème brûlée cupcakes.
Take advantage of winter grapefruit and a little champagne this Valentine’s Day and make Baking a Moment’s grapefruit champagne mimosa cupcakes.
Love all things banana? Check out The Whole Bite’s caramel filled banana cupcakes with sugar cinnamon frosting. Yum! And check out my recipe for banana cupcakes with Nutella buttercream frosting. So damn good.
White wine cupcakes? Yes they exist and they are awesome. Check out my recipe here.