Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Drop a Bomb on Me Baby - Cupcake Wars Winner

I couldn't resist a giant nuclear cloud of frosting.

Since chocolate was the overwhelming winner  in our poll earlier in the week (over something with bacon, check for pigs flying next) the recipe is here tonight as promised.

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes With Buttercream and Salted Caramel


Cake for celebrations or for cheer is a tradition that dates back as far as the Romans, with the idea for the candle on top being attributed to both early Greeks and later, Germans. The origins notwithstanding, the cakes vary from region to region and even among families. Everyone has their own favorite cake for celebrations.

The first one I remember, was not a birthday cake, but an Easter one.  I can still recall that ranch house, the apple trees I was almost big enough to climb, Mom's rose garden that  she painstakingly kept up, that after her death, still bloomed without help or hindrance from any of us.  I can picture that moment as she brought out the cake like it was yesterday.  For at Easter every year, Mom would make a  two layer cake, then cut it in half, adding a nose, ears and tail to make a  bunny cake for each of us. Mine was yellow with chocolate frosting, and little marshmallow eyes and teeth with licorice whiskers.

 Betty Crocker Easy Bunny Cakes

We'd eat it at the very end of the day, after church, after thanks, after dinner.  There is an extremely faded  photo in a drawer here somewhere of them that always brings me a smile.


There were other cakes over the years, some plain, some fancy. Another family member  made me a cake one year that, well, was completely burned on the outside and raw in the middle (using that bachelor cooking time conversion  method of doubling the temperature and cutting the cook time in half). We still laugh about that.

Celebration cakes come in all sizes and flavors.  Everyone had a favorite, though mine has been, since the very first cake that I can remember, yellow with chocolate buttercream.

Birthday cakes range from "Oh, that's so sweet!" to a roar of laughter as Partner in Grime explained that he couldn't fit (mumble mumble) candles on the little cake he made from scratch so he just gave me one giant plumbers candle. I had tears in my eyes as I was laughing so hard.
He has a birthday coming ups shortly. Not sure how I can top the candle, but red velvet and cream cheese frosting might be a start.

Then there are wedding cakes. Cakes at weddings are often  intense elaborate affairs that can cost hundreds of dollars (seriously, do you know how much .223  and cast iron you could buy for that five tiered, looks like a swan thing?)

What were once traditional white cakes and frosting with the bride and groom toppers are now  as individual as the couples involved. 
But todays post is about my favorite- cupcakes.

The first mention of the cupcake can be traced as far back as 1796, when a recipe notation of "a cake to be baked in small cups" was written in American Cooker by Amelia Simmons. They're more than a dressed up muffin. They're fun, they're easy to prepare and share, and if they turn out too dry and overdone they make dandy replacements for sporting clays (pull!).  For lunch OR launching in a trebuchet, they're dandy little things
What kind?  Honestly, the simplest things are the best, and with a little work you can make a cupcake as good as any cupcake shop.  I hope you like todays recipe. This is a cupcake for grown ups, but even the kids will enjoy it and the vanilla butter cream, is good on about ANY cupcake.

11 comments:

  1. I like the bunny cakes, very neat thing to do!

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  2. Thank you for this ! Interesting that today I make cupcakes because they are a lower calorie treat than the cake I would have repeated slices of, and in 1796, they likely made them because this is the amount of supplies they had.
    Great post, Brigid !

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  3. I like the idea of the plumber's candle at a certain point in time when the cake top becomes one mass of waxy goo from all of the burning candles.

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  4. On wedding cakes: I actually made my own, and the groom's cake, too. From scratch, of course--no mixes here!

    Total cost, most of which was equipment (read: various-sized circular pans for the cake layers), was about $120 or so for both cakes. Everyone loved them! For anyone considering doing the same--or anyone who just likes cake--I can't recommend highly enough Rose Levy Berenbaum's book, "The Cake Bible." This cookbook measures by weight rather than by mass, making it much more accurate. (Think about it: 10 ounces of flour is 10 ounces of flour, but a cup of flour can be sifted, packed, somewhere in between, and differ by actual amount up to 50% or so.)

    I don't like the taste of "box" cakes, and thought it was completely insane that a bakery would charge an order of magnitude more than I paid for my wedding dress for something I didn't want to eat in the first place, so...*shrug*...DIY it was.

    Totally worth it. :D

    One last digression: in Jan Karon's "Mitford" series, one of the characters, a famous baker of cakes, laments bitterly that people don't appreciate a real cake anymore, and waxes nostalgic on the subject of how special a day was that had cake in it. I fully subscribe to this theory. Cake is time-consuming to make, and can often be finicky and temperamental, but it makes a day special in a way that nothing else does.

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  5. Not a cake person really, but I will make exception for the little ones from time to time

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  6. thanks all - I'm just on a short break for a meal, won't be off duty for a few more hours. Will comment back then.

    RainyD - got your address, Will respond in a bit for the recipe you have for your cake. Excellent!

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  7. Brigid, for Partner's b-day cake, you should get a total of 32 of those relighting candles, or barring that, 32 sparklers to incinerate it with!

    And an email inbound later regarding your I-70 stopover point.

    --Vic303

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  8. If all the candles don't fit on the cake that means just make more cake. LOL. I favor cupcakes for their size but still eat the equivalent of cake amounts just because they are so small and pop-able.

    Like I said, just hand me the buttercream bowl and save time on the rest of it, hehe.

    Wanna cupcake now just to go along with all the drool. :)

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  9. All right, home for the night, but it's a short night, up at 4:30 to go back at it.

    Sunnybrook Farm - They were a big hit with the kids and so easy to make.

    Jane of Virginia - A whole cake is dangerous. I make brownies or cupcakes, keep a couple for the house and the rest go to coworkers. Partner takes in my cooking now as well and I still remember, the spiced/sugared roasted pecans I made about 3 gallons of and he took them in, hoisting the big bags in the air as he entered with "My Wife's Nuts!!!"

    LL - yes, the cake was gone before wax was an issue.

    Katherine - what a great idea! And as clever as you are, I imagine it was beautiful. I will look for that book. I like anyone that measures by weight. I give my recipes on here in cups but I weigh myself for more precise bakery products such as cake or pastry, it does make a difference.

    Jennifer - We all have our vices, but I won't turn down a good piece of pie.

    Monkeywrangler - I won't post it but I'll email you my birthday idea. (insert evil laugh here)

    Naturegirl - I saw a frosting recipe that was just pudding and cool whip and all I could think of was "ewwwwww".

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  10. An angel food cake with a popper full of 32 steam punk items in the center would be different...

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  11. So can reading your blog raise my blood sugar?? I hope so..;)

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