Sunday, March 25, 2012
Ever since I tried cupcakes I have known that I would not have ever any relation with them. The amount of butter and sugar, especially on the icing, exceeded at least ten times what I was able to accept in any dessert. The cake was usually too dry, with excessive frosting that was greasy and sweet was the only impression I had after trying them. But of course my American son, as most of kids, loves them deeply. He asked me several time to make them but I was able to resists his request with an argument that they did not come from my culinary culture and I was not good at making them.
Last winter, on probably the coldest weekend that season, I was shopping in Georgetown. Suddenly, my attention caught a very long line of people, the freezing weather notwithstanding, similar only to those I remember from my youth in the communist Poland. The line was formed in front of a small corner shop, which I have already heard of, called "Georgetown Cupcakes". I got curious what was so worth the sacrifice of so many citizens of the Western civilization, but it was too cold and I decided to try them on another occasion, when it would be warmer and less busy.
Then not long ago I was in Georgetown again, one weekday morning. I was only second in the line and I bought four different cupcakes to try and judge. I did not yet have lunch that day, and when I came home I just cut a quarter of each cupcake and ate them instead. I have to admit that, maybe also because I was so hungry, they tasted surprisingly good. They were still a bit too sweet for my taste but they were moist, and I could taste a good quality chocolate, real butter, and limes.
When Philip saw them he got ecstatic. After eating half of each he voted that they were best he ever had. His favorite was the red velvet cupcake. Then he asked if i could make them for his birthday. I dug the whole Internet and found a recipe from Georgetown Cupcakes. It was a chocolate version which I decided to make with mint icing, which they did not have on their list of cupcakes. They turned out pretty good and the mint icing gave them an interesting twist. I was quite pleased with my first cupcakes ever.
Chocolate Cupcakes with Mint Icing
(Makes 12 regular size cupcakes)
(Everything should be room temperature)
1 and 1/2 cup all purpose flour, sifted,
1/2 tsp baking soda,
1/4 tsp salt,
1 cup whole milk,
1 tsp vanilla extract,
1 stick of good quality, sweet unsalted butter (I used Keller's),
1 and 1/4 cup sugar,
2 large eggs,
1/2 cup good quality cocoa powder.
1 box (8 oz) cream cheese,
1/2 can (7 oz) sweet condensed milk,
2 tbsp sweet unsalted butter,
3 tbsp mint syrup or mint essence and a natural green food colorant( optional).
1. Place butter and sugar in a bowl of standing mixer with a paddle attachment and let it work until the mix turns into a smooth cream. During the whole process of making a dough, scrape it from the walls of the bowl often in between so all the ingredients are incorporated and there is no residue at the bottom of the bowl.
2. Add eggs one at the time, beating the mixture well each time.
3. In a medium bowl sift flour, salt, and baking soda. In another bowl mix milk with vanilla essence.
4. Add flour in two steps, alternating with milk mixture. Stop the mixer, add cocoa powder at the end, running it at first on a low speed, than beat it faster, scraping the walls of the bowl several time.
5. Preheat oven to 350F.
6. Fill up a muffin pan with paper cupcake liners. Fill each of them with a dough up to 2/3 of their height.
7. Bake for 18-20 minutes until the top is set.
8. Let them cool down.
1. Place a soft cream cheese in a mixer bowl. Add half can of the condensed milk. Mix well with cheese until it becomes smooth. Add soft butter and mix well again. At the end add mint syrup or essence and colorant if you wish and beat until well incorporated.
2. Squeeze the frosting on top of the cupcakes using a pastry bag.
3. Decorate on top with chocolate and serve.