Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Cupcake Shame

Speaking of cupcakes and queens, here are the Cappucino Cupcakes with Mocha Buttercream Icing I made last night. They're okay, they're not great. Baking these cupcakes brought up a few questions, and I was wondering if anyone had advice (Cupcake Queen, Chockylit, I'm looking in your direction...)

First of all, when I pulled the cupcakes out of the oven, they had nice rounded tops. Then, as I let them sit on a rack and cool, the nice dome shape fell and the surface of the cupcake got kinda pockmarked. Ugly. I know the frosting covers it, but I wanted nice pleasantly round cupcakes, not flat ones (you know, to match the baker).

Secondly, the recipie for the frosting called for 2 oz. of grated chocolate (I used Ghiradelli Milk)- but here's my question: how do you grate chocolate? I just made a big mess, with it melting all over my hands and breaking into chunks. I tried chopping the other half of the chocolate, but I couldn't get it fine enough to incorporate well into the frosting.

In other cupcake news, the Cupcake Queen is hosting a Cupcake Cookbook Giveaway on her blog; check it out.


Sheena said...

grating chocolate...

Now if that isn't a stupid recipe suggestion, I don't know what is (wait, well... my friend once had a madeleine recipe that called for folding cold chunks of butter into the batter...that was pretty stupid).

Anyway, my suggestion (after you write an irate letter to the person who wrote the cookbook) would be to grind it up in a food processor or similar. If you don't have one of those, you could freeze it for a while (though I'd say freezing it for a while is a good plan on the whole... helps avoid the melty issue) before grating... Or freeze it and, without taking it out of the wrappers, just bash the ever-loving shit out of it with a rolling pin (or other heavy object) until it's reduced to powder.

If this is to flavor the frosting with chocolate, I'd also look into replacing it altogether with cocoa and some sugar. Less labor-intensive that way, and would give a deeper chocolatey flavor.

Cupcake said...

Sheena - wha?? All that and she bakes too? I am speechless.

It seemed like melting the chocolate would be a better idea, but alas, I don't own a microwave, so...

Sheena said...

No problemo! I have not had a microwave in years!

Get pot with about an inch of water on the stovetop (lowish heat), metal bowl (though something flameproof would work, probably... I always use metal, so I'm not sure) large enough to rest in the pot without floating on the water. Put the chopped chocolate in the bowl and KEEP AN EYE ON IT (I have been known to overheat and separate chocolate while trying to multitask, and then I freak out for ruining expensive Valhrona, and Claire has to talk me down), stirring it as it melts (you can add a little water or milk to the chocolate as insurance against the burning/separating scenario). It's your basic budget double-boiler. Voila!

I do bake. I find the precision to be intoxicatingly good therapy. Also, I have a cotton-candy pink Kitchenaid mixer. It rocks.

Cupcake said...

Sheena, there are so many magic words in this post! "Valhrona" + "cotton-candy pink Kitchenaid mixer" = joyous seizures.

Also, I love meeting another person who is microwave-less. See, all you naysayers! We're here! We're proud! And we're not going anywhere!

t-immy said...

two things to add:

1. try whipping your eggs a bit more to keep your cupcakes from falling and (stating the obvious) for goodness sake, don't apply your frosting until your cakes have cooled

2. also try covering the chocolate with cold wax paper and using a good bread knife or heavy straight-edged knife to grate it. or go to target or (my favorite) overstock, and order a friggin food processor

Cupcake said...

My friends are beautiful and wise.

Cupcake Queen said...

Cupcake: You aren't going to believe this but I have had the same prolem with my cupcakes from time to time. It's like they get cold and shrink up when they get out of the oven....that's why I love thick frosting! It hides a multitude of mistakes! On the grating thing, I would put the chocolate in the freezer, too...and then try a microplane grater (yikes!) there is one that creates a very fine grate (like for parmesan) and one called a ribbon microplane grater that creates thin ribbons of chocolate. You can get these at Williams Sonoma, Sur La Table, and maybe Bed Bath and Beyond. I think you did grate!