Time to celebrate; my husband is home! Yippee! Single parenting is over for another day (yes he's away again tomorrow night). So bring on the cupcakes!
Actually truth be known, I mustn't steal the thunder from my friend Tammi; it's her birthday. It didn't seem fair to me that she hosts her own birthday/Super Bowl party, so the least I could do is bring her some birthday cakes!
I toyed with many different ideas for today's recipe, but it all comes back to a tried and tested chocolate cupcake recipe that I have made repeatedly for birthdays. These cupcakes are relatively light and keep well if you need to make them a day ahead. I produced 70 or so for my daughters' joint birthday party in the fall; not to mention sending them to school and making them for their actual birthdays! My point is, it's a well tested recipe! The base recipe comes from the Cooking Light, Quick Baking , 2010 issue, although as usual is given the "Kat ate that" treatment.
I had a peaceful morning on my own baking; that's the ultimate relaxation for me. My husband had taken the kids off campus, for a chunk of time, for me to "be" in my kitchen. After a leisurely breakfast without getting up and down 10 times to refill milk, mop up spills, etc. etc., I embarked on the cupcakes.
My only caution with this recipe is, that it only makes 10 cupcakes. I doubled the recipe for the Superbowl party this afternoon and scraped out only 21 cupcakes from the recipe. Fine for a normal day, but not enough for the party.
So, with an empty house, I realised I had the perfect opportunity to try out one of the boys at "Baked Explorations" creations; Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cake with cream cheese frosting. Does that not sound fabulous? I like to be on my own when trying out their recipes. I feel to do them justice, I don't want to manage the two tikes and where their fingers are, while baking a new and special recipe.
It's an interesting one; the oatmeal and butter are soaked/melted together with boiling water and left to stand for 30 minutes. Then they are added to the rest of the ingredients. The cake effectively turns into a cross between a blondie and and oatmeal chocolate chip cookie. Divine!! I reduced the sugar, didn't add the suggested liquor (very unlike me!) and substituted some wholewheat flour. The Baked boys suggest a cream cheese frosting, although in my opinion it really makes the whole thing almost too sweet because there are a lot of chocolate chips in there. All a matter of taste though, and far be from me to criticise the Gods of baking.
Anyway, on to the results
1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup/ 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup low fat buttermilk
- Preheat oven to 350°F
- Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners
- Spoon and level flour into the measuring cup and sift over a large bowl with the cocoa, baking soda and salt. Then whisk the ingredients to mix lightly
- Beat the sugar and butter with an electric mixer for about 3 minutes
- Add the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla. Beat until well combined
- With the mixer on low and starting and ending with the flour, alternate adding the flour and buttermilk to the mixer bowl
- Mix until just combined; over mixing will make a tough cupcake
- Using an ice cream scoop, fill the muffin pan and bake for approximately 18 minutes or until a tester comes out clean
- Cool in the pan for a couple of minutes then take the cupcakes out and cool completely on a wire rack
These are a fantastic vehicle for your favorite frosting; I love cream cheese (see below) but I have also gone the simple route in the past and dusted them with confectioner sugar; they looked just lovely.
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cake
based on a recipe in "Baked Explorations, classic American desserts reinvented"
Yields one 9x13" pan
8 oz chocolate chips
1 cup plus 2 tablepoons all purpose flour
1/2 cup wholewheat pastry flour
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup/ 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into small cubes (cold or softened)
1 1/4 cup boiling water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Ingredients for the Cream Cheese Frosting
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
5 1/2 oz cream cheese, softened
2 cups sifted confectioner sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 375°F
- Butter a 9 x 13 " baking dish. The Baked boys recommend a glass one but mine has a frozen sausage and bean casserole in it right now, so I baked in a regular metal baking pan
- Soak the oatmeal and butter in the boiling water. Leave for 30 seconds before stirring then stir until the butter has melted. Set aside to cool for 30 minutes
- Toss the chocolate chips in a bowl with the 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour (this prevents the chips from sinking when baked)
- When the oatmeal mixture has cooled, whisk together by hand, the eggs, then add the sugars, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon until combined
- Fold in the cooled oatmeal mixture and then the flours
- Finally, gently fold in the chocolate chips
- Pour the batter into the baking pan
- Bake for 40-45 minutes, turning gently, halfway through cooking. When done, a toothpick should come out clean
Directions to make the Frosting
- Using an electric mixer, beat the butter until smooth
- Add the cream cheese and beat on high until well combined
- Sift in the confectioner sugar and beat until smooth
- Refridgerate, covered, for 30 minutes prior to using
A note on the frosting; make sure the butter and cream cheese are at room temperature as they will not become smooth if too cold.
A frosted cake will keep up to 3 days if refridgerated.