White Wine Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream + 5 Cupcake Links for Mom

“Most was said in our first moment, when we were so quiet.  He swam through the air to me and there was nothing.  No spaces.  I suppose it was the first moment I was thoroughly alive because I fell too far in it to ever describe it.  There was nothing to look at because I was too busy seeing, and I got to be a beginner too.  Will always be now, as every moment with your child will never repeat itself with something lovely after it, like a sunset or a passage in a book.  Real time with them, I think, is the only actual.  Everything left over is just a weather report.” Mary-Louise Parker, Dear Mr. You

[My words, lost for now, adrift in a dense, gunmetal fog will come back.  Thank, whomever, whoever or whatever for Mary-Louise Parker’s insight.  Happy Mother’s Day. xo]

White Wine Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream

A lightly sweet cupcake with a tight crumb topped with a super silky chocolate buttercream

Recipe adapted from Silver Palette Cookbook and Cambridge School of Culinary Arts

Makes 24 cupcakes

Ingredients:

2 cups sugar

4 eggs, at room temperature

1 cup vegetable oil

1 cup dry white wine ( I used Pinot Grigio)

2 + 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 + 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Pre-heat your oven to 350F.  Line two standard muffin tins with cupcake liners.  Set aside.

Grab a medium bowl and sift together the flour, salt and baking powder.  Set aside.  Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the sugar and eggs on medium speed until incorporated, about 30 seconds.  Reduce speed to low and add oil, wine, dry ingredients and vanilla.  Increase speed to medium and beat until well combined, about 1-2 minutes.  Pour batter into prepared muffin pans.  Place 1 pan on the middle rack and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes.  (Be sure to check at 20 minutes.)  Once baked, remove cupcakes from pan and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.  Proceed with baking the next pan of cupcakes.

Once cool, frost the cupcakes generously with chocolate buttercream.  Enjoy!

*Cupcakes are best the day they are made.  However, they still taste great the next day.  Be sure to store them in an air-tight container, at room temperature.*

Chocolate Buttercream

Ingredients:

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled to room temperature

6 eggs, whites only, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

1lb. unsalted butter, at room temperature

pinch of kosher salt

Directions:

Cut the butter into tablespoon chunks and set aside.  Melt your chocolate either in the microwave or stove top and set aside.

Using a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, place egg whites in bowl and beat on medium-high speed until soft peaks form.  While the egg whites are beating, combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan.  Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan.  Cook on high until it reaches 238F or the softball stage.  Immediately, with the mixer on medium speed, add the hot sugar in slow but steady stream.  Beat until the whites have cooled.

Reduce the speed to low and the add the butter, one chunk at a time, until it is completely incorporated.  Increase the speed to high and beat until glossy and light.  Turn the mixer off.  Grab a rubber spatula and fold in the melted chocolate until smooth.  Mix in a pinch of salt.  Frost your cupcakes generously!

**If your buttercream breaks or looks curdled when mixing, hold a cloth ice pack or ice against the bottom of the bowl and continue to beat on medium speed.  The buttercream will eventually come back together.  Be patient!  This happened to me and the cloth ice pack trick worked!**

5 Cupcakes Just for Mom

Rhubarb is showing up the in market just in time for Mother’s Day so why not make mom cupcakes studded with fresh rhubarb?  Head to Kitchen Konfidence for the the recipe.

Looking for a quick and easy cupcake recipe mom is sure to love?  Head to i am Baker for Amanda’s coconut angel food cupcakes.

Eat your bananas and make Local Milk’s buttermilk and roasted banana cupcakes with Lindt truffle filling and marshmallow frosting.  This sounds like a bite of heaven to me!

David Lebovitz’s chocolate, peanut butter and pretzel cupcakes will make any mom forgot a horrible, no good, very bad day.

Keep it simple and make my chocolate cupcakes with white chocolate buttercream.

 

Chocolate Cupcakes with White Chocolate Buttercream + 5 Classic Cupcake Links

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When I overthink things I get myself into trouble.  I overthought these chocolate cupcakes. I agonized over thoughts of various fillings, my mind racing with options: raspberry curd, mocha whipped cream, chocolate ganache, Dulce de Leche.  [No, next.]  So, I focused on frosting choices: Swiss meringue buttercream, sea salt caramel frosting, dark chocolate ganache, a simple fruit icing.  [No, no. Tasty, but not what I’m looking for…today.]

“Keep it simple, Kel.” She tells me, one hand on the steering wheel as she applies a thick coat of lipstick without looking, once, in the mirror.  [Light blue Ford Taurus station wagon that smells like sour milk and old coffee.  She doesn’t care.  She gave up on caring about incidentals a long time ago.  I get that…now.]  

I stare, memorized by her confidence, memory recall, her lips as they transform from a pale, wrinkled pink to a smooth, as, buttercream mauve.  How does she do that?  A mystery to me in so many ways.  

Her beautiful bright blue eyes dart over me, examine my face.  “What’s with you today?”  I turn my face into the light coming through the passenger’s window, a rural landscape runs alongside.

“Nothing.”  My go to answer for many decades to come.  Poor Mom, tormented and relieved by the unknowns.  Juxtaposition at its best.

“Keep it simple.”  These words coming from a woman who has never kept anything simple in her life.  A woman who counted on plan b and plan c .  If the levy should break.  

She doesn’t know I will take her words, carry them with me, and sing them like a psalm.   

So, I  pushed options to the side.  Tucked them safely in a place, a corner of my brain, where they sit patiently and wait.   Wait for a day when I need them.  After all, I am my mother’s daughter.

So I kept it bald, bare, naked and made a rich, moist chocolate cupcake paired with a sweet and light white chocolate buttercream.  Nothing fancy, in fact, quite simple, but altogether delicious.

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Chocolate Cupcakes with White Chocolate Buttercream

Cupcake recipe from Not Without Salt

Buttercream recipe adapted from What To Bake & How To Bake It, Jane Hornby

Makes 24 cupcakes ( You may get more. I got 36!)

Ingredients for cupcakes:

3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

1 + 1/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder

2 + 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 + 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

3 eggs

1 + 1/2 cups milk ( I used 1%)

3/4 cup canola oil

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 + 3/4 cups sugar

1 cup boiling water

Directions:

Pre-heat your oven to 350F.  Line two 12 cup muffin pans with cupcake liners and set aside.

Grab a large bowl and sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.

Using the a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla on medium speed.  Reduce the speed to low and add the sugar and dry ingredients.  Mix on a low speed for a couple of minutes, then increase the speed to medium and mix until the batter is smooth, about 2-3 minutes.  (You should not see lumps.  If you do, keep mixing.)  Slowly, add 1 cup of boiling water and mix on the lowest speed until completely smooth.  (Alternatively, mix the water into the batter with a wooden spoon until smooth.)  The batter will be quite thin.  Let the batter rest for about 15-30 minutes.  I let it sit for closer to an hour.  When ready to bake, gently stir the batter.

Fill the cupcake liners, about three-quarters the way full.  Bake until the tops of the cupcakes spring back when lightly touched or when a cake tester inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs, about 20 minutes.  Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.  While the cupcakes cool, make your buttercream frosting.

Ingredients for white chocolate buttercream frosting:

1/2 cup heavy cream

3 1/2 ounces white chocolate, chopped

3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

a good pinch of kosher salt

2 cups of confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Directions:

Grab a small saucepan and heat the cream until the edges just begin to bubble.  Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate and let it sit, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes.  Once melted, stir until smooth.

Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy.  Add the vanilla and salt, scrape down the sides and continue to beat.  Slowly, add the confectioners’ sugar.  Continue to beat until fluffy and pale.  Pour in the cool chocolate and whip on high for 5 minutes.  Add more sugar if it seems too thin.  ( I didn’t need to add more sugar.)  Frost cupcakes with an offset spatula or fill a pastry bag and add your favorite piping tip.  Cupcakes are best the day they are made.  However, they taste just fine if made a day in advance and stored in an airtight container at room temperature.  Enjoy!

Chocolate Eggs

Ingredients:

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

piping or Ziploc bag

parchment paper

Directions:

Using a pencil, lightly draw desired shapes on parchment paper: eggs, flowers, butterfly etc.

Melt 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate in an oven proof glass bowl either using the microwave or nestled on top of a small saucepan with simmering water. * If using the microwave, watch carefully, as it will burn easily.  If using the stove top, be sure the bowl does not touch the simmer watering.*  Stir until the chocolate is smooth and allow to cool for a couple of minutes.  Pour melted chocolate into a Ziploc bag and trim just a bit of the corner with scissors.  Trace your drawings using the melted chocolate.  Allow to dry until completely hard, about 30 minutes.  Remove the chocolate from parchment paper with a spatula and carefully add decorations to cupcakes.

 5 Classic Cupcake Links!

My favorite cake and frosting match up is yellow cake with chocolate frosting.  Sally’s Baking Addiction has a recipe that is making me drool: moist yellow cupcakes with milk chocolate frosting.

Red velvet will never go out of foodie style.  Averie Cooks has a recipe for red velvet cupcakes with vanilla cream cheese frosting that looks divine!

Looking for a mouth watering all chocolate cupcake?  Head to Sweetapolita for Rosie’s dark and dreamy double fudge cupcakes.  

Kids and adults will go crazy for My Baking Addiction’s vanilla bean cupcakes.

I love all lemon desserts, but Cooking Classy’s lemon cupcakes with lemon buttercream frosting is really pulling on my heartstrings today!

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting + 5 New Pumpkin Desserts!

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“Mama will you sing me a lullaby?” G.

“Sure buddy.” Me.  The lyrics to You Are My Sunshine come imperfectly out of my mouth.  I hear Johnny Cash in my head. He hears my exhausted, grating voice attempting to coax him to sleep.  Unconsciously, I rub his back.  His eyes are heavy, any minute now he will be dreaming. Dreaming of home?  Perhaps.  For now he makes his nest in a sterile hospital bed, his blankies, froggy and me, little bits of home, remain with him.  

I stare at his sweet, peaceful face, more obvious to me now with his head tightly wrapped in gauze. Beneath the gauze, a constellation of small metal probes stick securely to his head, a rainbow-colored array of wires spill from the top of his head, all connecting to small a computer, recording his brainwaves.  Where do you go when you disappear, buddy?  Maybe this test will tell us.  

I attempt to sleep in the tiny bed/chair they provide.  I can’t get comfortable, my mind races and morning can’t come soon enough.

Morning breaks.  The sky turns from gun-metal gray to overcast ocean blue.  Lights in the building across from us become less obvious as the sky brightens.  I stare out the window, not fully awake, despite nursing my second cup of hospital coffee. I gaze 9 stories down to the Healing Garden, a small bit of nature growing between two buildings, providing a bit of respite for the sick and their caregivers.  A mother and son play with a soccer ball.  The boy, maybe 7, no hair, runs for a bit, but he tires quickly.  Mom picks him up.  He finds the perfect spot on her lap and snuggles.  Her body sways gently back and forth like a cradle.  They attempt normalcy.

G eats breakfast in bed while watching TV.  This is, by far, his favorite part of this visit.  Today we go home with no real answers.  Today after a short drive home, fingers crossed, we attempt normalcy, again. pcccf1119pcccf1169

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Shortly, after our hospital stay I made these pumpkin cupcakes with chocolate cream cheese frosting because it felt good to bake.  It felt good to give Bubba and kids cupcakes for no reason at all.  After a long few days, we all needed to feel normal, less stressed.  This cupcake brought us back.

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

A moist pumpkin cupcake with subtle hints of ginger, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon topped with a rich chocolate cream cheese frosting makes a perfect dessert for fall.

Makes 12

Cupcake recipe barely adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

Frosting recipe adapted from the Cupcake Project

Ingredients for Cupcakes:

1⅓ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pinch of ground nutmeg

Pinch of ground cloves

Pinch of ground ginger

¾ cup canned pumpkin

½ cup sugar

½ cup dark brown sugar

½ cup canola oil

2 eggs

Directions:

Pre-heat your oven to 350F.  Line a muffin pan with paper cupcake liners and set aside.

Using a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.  Set aside.

Using a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, sugars and oil until well combined.  Add the eggs one at a time, whisking well after each addition.  Pour half of your dry ingredients into your wet ingredients and fold gently.  Add the remaining dry ingredients and fold gently until no flour streaks remain.  Do not over mix!

Fill each lined muffin cup with batter, about two-thirds to three-quarters the way full.  Place the muffin pan on the center rack of your oven.  Bake for 18-20 minutes, but check at 18 minutes.  The cupcakes are done when the centers spring back when lightly touched or when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Allow the cupcakes to cool for a minute in the pan and then dump them on a wire rack to cool completely.  Once cool, frost the cupcakes and store in an air-tight container until ready to serve.  Enjoy!

**The cupcakes taste best the day they are made.  If you need to make them a day early, store them in air-tight container in the refrigerator.  Bring to room temperature before serving.**

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

makes about 3 cups

Ingredients for Frosting:

8 ounces of cream cheese, at room temperature

1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

3 cups of sifted confectioners’ sugar

1/2 cup sifted unsweetened cocoa powder (Use good quality cocoa powder here.  You will taste the difference!)

pinch of salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon orange zest (optional but delicious)

Directions for Frosting:

Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment (or a hand-held mixer), beat the cream cheese and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy or several minutes.  Reduce the speed to low and add the confectioners’ sugar.  Next add the cocoa powder, salt, vanilla extract and orange zest.  Beat on medium-high speed until smooth.  Use frosting immediately or store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

**If you refrigerate the frosting be sure to bring it to room temperature and beat for a couple of minutes before using.**

5 New Pumpkin Desserts!

If you love cheesecake check out Baker By Nature’s pumpkin ricotta cheesecake and Jelly Toast’s mini pumpkin goat cheese cheesecakes.  Such creative riffs on a classic dessert!

Halloween is coming up.  Try making a classic candy with a healthy twist this year!  Check out Edible Perspectives chocolate pumpkin almond butter cups.  I want to eat ten of them now!

Craving a s’more?  Head to How Sweet It Is for Jessica’s pumpkin s’mores tart recipe.  Wow!

If you need a gluten-free pumpkin cake recipe, Alice Medrich has the recipe for you on Food 52.  She rocks.