Friday, December 19, 2008

The story of a quest for the perfect chocolate cupcake!

Chocolate and Yellow Cake Recipes, For Kristi.

When my parents lived out on Cape Cod in Osterville several years ago we, "the kids" and "the grandchild" (Benjamin), would load up our cars and go there for the weekend, because with traffic, it was a far trip to travel for the afternoon. Awaiting us was always a box of four of the most gorgeous jumbo chocolate cupcakes with white frosting you've ever seen, that Mom had bought at Fancy's. They were so enormous that we were content to lop off a quarter of one for a decadent snack. When Mom didn't have time to get them, or --tragedy -- they were out, she would apologize first thing after our arrival.
So of course, I said to myself -- "We can make these!" And thus began our quest. I tried several recipes for both the cake and the frosting. Although the original frosting was boiled (my mother was gutsy enough to ask the owner -- "Soooooo . . . how do you make that frosting of yours, hmmm?" with a twinkle in her eye. ), we are all very happy with the final result of the following recipe.
This recipe is also the standard recipe I use for Birthday Cakes -- When trying to find some pictures of my cakes I came to realize that when you are presenting a cake and singing "Happy Birthday" it can make for some very unfortunate photos . . .
See what I mean? It's a cake plie move! You can't see this cake well (somewhere I have a close-up) but it's frosted to look like a baseball -- for my little sportsman, Ripley.

How about this gem? I think I'm in the middle of singing "Tooooo" or "Yooouuuu".
I'm not sure, but it's pretty frightening.

This one just makes me laugh.

The Recipe - Chocolate Cake

Butter and lightly flour two 9 inch round cake pans -- or get your cupcake pans ready!
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

  • 4 oz unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/2 lb butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 eggs

Melt the chocolate and butter together in a bowl or pot over simmering water; stir in the vanilla. Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Add the chocolate mixture, the milk, and the eggs and beat until smooth. Spread in the pan and bake for about 30-35 minutes (large "Texas" cupcakes take 20 minutes). Cool in the pans for 5 minutes before turning out onto racks. **Don't overcook, err on the side of underdone, rather than over done.**


  • 1 C butter
  • 1 t almond extract
  • 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • 1 box confectioners sugar
  • 1 dash salt
  • 1/4 C milk

Yumola! As the owner of Fancy's said when my mom was pumping him for information, the quality of the ingredients are extremely important. As the old saying goes: Garbage in, Garbage out.

Now the best yellow cake and chocolate frosting I ever made was random. It actually came off the bottom of the label that came with my fancy new cake pans several years ago. No foolin'. The chocolate frosting in particular is no-fail and phenomenal.

Classic Yellow Cake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8" round cake pans.

  • 3 1/2 C flour
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 3/4 t salt
  • 1 3/4 C milk, room temp.
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp.
  • 2 C sugar
  • 4 eggs, room temp.

Mix dry ingredients together, set aside. Mix milk and vanilla together, set aside. Beat butter until smooth. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce mixer speed to low, add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk mixture and beginning and ending with the flour. Beat each addition until just incorporated, occasionally stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Spoon batter into pans and cook 25 to 30 minutes.

Chocolate Frosting:

  • 8 oz. unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped (better quality the chocolate, better the frosting).
  • 1 1/3 C unsalted butter, room temp.
  • 3 cups confectioners sugar

Melt chocolate in a double boiler set over simmering water. Let cool to room temperature. With a mixer, beat the butter until smooth, about 30 seconds. Add the confectioners' sugar and beat until smooth, creamy and slightly fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the melted chocolate, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl to evenly distribute the chocolate. Yum. Yum. Yum.

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1 comment:

Kristi said...

Thank you! I'm printing out the recipes right now.