Cakes, Cupcakes & Brownies

Chocolate Cupcakes for My Little “Balemtime”

by Shawnda on February 13, 2014

in Cakes, Cupcakes & Brownies,Chocolate,Desserts,Valentine's Day

Chocolate Valentine's Cupcakes

“Is it Balemtime’s yet?! Can we make chocolate tweats?”

I didn’t think a 4-year-old could get more excited about something that wasn’t Christmas- or dinosaur-related. But I was wrong. It’s because there’s chocolate.

Chocolate Valentine's Cupcakes

And Master Yoda.

Yoda Best Valentine

She is my kid, after all. Although only one of us would choose broccoli & ranch over chocolate. Spoiler: IT’S NOT ME.

She picked out “chocolate writing cupcakes” to make for our friends after seeing a picture over my shoulder. And heart-shaped pancakes for Balemtime’s Dinner at home.

Chocolate Valentine's Cupcakes

Solid choices.

The one-bowl, deep, dark chocolate cupcakes are coated with an insanely messy chocolate glaze. Then decorated with melted white chocolate. Perfect for you and about 20 of your other favorite Valentines. I mean Balemtimes.

Chocolate Valentine's Cupcakes

Chocolate Valentine's Cupcakes

Rich chocolatey cupcakes, perfect for your Valentine.

Ingredients

  • For the cupcakes:
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk (I used nonfat Greek yogurt)
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • For the glaze:
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp corn syrup
  • For writing:
  • 1-2 oz white chocolate, finely chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Line two muffin pans with cupcake liners (I got 21 cupcakes).
  3. Whisk the cocoa, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl until mixed well.
  4. Add eggs, warm water, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla, and mix until smooth.
  5. Scoop batter into the liners, filling ~2/3 full.
  6. Bake ~18 minutes, until the tops spring back when touched.
  7. Transfer to a rack and let cool completely.
  8. Microwave the heavy cream until hot, 1 minute.
  9. Add the chopped chocolate and corn syrup and let sit for 3 minutes.
  10. Stir until smooth. If there larger chunks remain, let the chocolate sit another minute or two.
  11. Let the glaze sit about 5 minutes and then dip the cooled cupcakes into the chocolate glaze, returning to the rack to set. You'll have leftover glaze.
  12. Microwave the white chocolate in a small bowl until melted and smooth.
  13. Transfer to a sandwich bag, twist the bag closed, and snip a very tiny corner off the bag.
  14. Decorate as desired.

Notes

Yields: ~21 cupcakes

Slightly adapted from Martha Stewart

Estimated time: 60 minutes

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Dinosaur Train Fondant Cupcake Toppers

Those are the fondant cupcake toppers from Landry’s Dinosaur Train birthday party. And the photo on the left was the inspiration for those cupcakes:

Dinosaur Train Fondant Cupcake Toppers

Seriously, I was this close to making the “Tiny” cupcake, too (the topper on the bottom left). And the fact that I am still alive today tells you that someone in this house convinced me to stick with one design.

For the record, “knows my limits” is #2 on the the million-item long list titled “Why I Couldn’t Survive Without Jason.”

Because the one design took several days by itself. But the good news – I made them a week out and didn’t have to worry about them as the party was approaching.

Dinosaur Train Fondant Cupcake Toppers

Step 1: Whip up a batch of marshmallow fondant. You can buy it but my experience with store-bought fondant has always been super unfavorable.

Step 2: Color the fondant (I used Americolor yellow, blue, and red).

Step 3: Spend an hour digging through your cake decorating stuff looking for comparable shapes to the inspiration.

The cutters used above came from the following sets:
3 – Wilton Fondant Alphabet Cutters
Smoke stack – Tulip from Wilton Fondant Garden Shapes
Smoke puff (large) – Flower from Wilton Fondant Garden Shapes
Smoke puff (small) – Wilton Fondant & Gum Paste Class Kit
Circle – ~2.5-inch round biscuit cutter

Step 4: Roll out the blue circles, cut them with the biscuit cutter and use an offset spatula to transfer to a rack for drying overnight.

Step 5: Cut out the yellow tulips, lightly brush the bottom of the flowers with water (don’t soak them – one pass with a paint brush or a finger tip dipped in water will do), and place them on the blue circles. Use the biscuit cutter to cut the bottom of the tuplip off, leaving a circle.

Step 6. Cut out the smoke puffs, and place them on the blue circles.

Dinosaur Train Fondant Cupcake Toppers

Step 7. When the smoke puffs are dry, cut the red 3s, lightly brush the bottom with water, and place on the large puff of smoke.

Step 8: Let dry completely and then store until needed. I loosely covered the rack with a dish towel and placed it out of the way on the countertop until the morning of the party.

Dinosaur Train Fondant Cupcake Toppers

The cupcake toppers will soften again after coming in contact with the moisture from the frosting. I topped the morning of the party and the fondant had softened by early afternoon party.

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Cranberry Brownies

Have leftover cranberry sauce? Me, too. Already.

In addition to the cranberry-apricot chutney that I’ve put on everything that was slow enough for me to catch, I also tested out a new port-infused cranberry sauce recipe for Thanksgiving.

It was simple and boozy. And beautiful. And boozy.

In trying to brain storm a way to use those leftovers, I decided it wasn’t quite right for The Cranwich and I definitely didn’t want to be tied down to a big cake or full batch of cupcakes so close to “Pie-palooza.” And that’s when I spotted the box of Ghirardelli brownies I keep on hand in case of emergencies.

(And now you know how we define “emergency” in this house.)

Cranberry Brownies

I simply prepared the brownies as directed on the box and then I dropped the leftover boozy cranberry sauce over top by the tablespoon, swirling it together.

I don’t know why it took so long to come up with the idea of cranberry brownies. Cranberries and chocolate are a delicious and under-appreciated pair. Around the holidays, Costco used to (and maybe still does?) sell dark chocolate-covered cranberries. Those things were like crack, if crack made you gain 3lbs in 3 days. The dark fudgey brownie was the perfect compliment to the cranberry sauce.

Cranberry Brownies

Use your favorite brownie mix (I used Ghirardelli Triple Fudge, it’s insanely chocolatey… and has chocolate chips!) and leftover whole berry sauce (homemade is easy and takes almost no hands-on time).

Cranberry Brownies

Rich, fudgey brownies swirled with leftover cranberry sauce. Dessert couldn't be easier.

Ingredients

  • 1 box brownie mix (or your favorite recipe) prepared in an 8x8 pan, according to package directions
  • ~1/2 cup leftover whole berry cranberry sauce

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven according to the directions in your brownie recipe.
  2. Prepare the recipe according to directions and transfer to a greased 8x8 pan.
  3. Drop small spoonfuls of leftover cranberry sauce over the top of the batter (I used about 1/2 cup).
  4. Using a knife held vertically, swirl the cranberry sauce and the brownie batter together.
  5. Bake as directed in your recipe, (take note that my recipe needed an extra 8 minutes).
  6. Let cool and then cut into 4x3 or 4x4 servings.
  7. Leftovers should be covered and stored at room temp.

Notes

Yields: 12-16 servings

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 1 hour

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