Project Cupcake Madness has officially begun, and I now have 2 dozen chocolate cupcakes sitting in my freezer. That’s one cupcake flavor down, two to go.
For the chocolate cupcakes, I looked to the Chocolate Layer Cake recipe on Smitten Kitchen. This recipe requires a lot of cocoa powder, but for maximum chocolate-y flavor, you also melt some chopped semi-sweet chocolate into hot coffee. In case you’re wondering, I successfully resisted the urge to drink the mix straight from the bowl.
This recipe was pretty easy to throw together, with the exception of the giant messes I managed to make as I was measuring the cocoa powder and as I was pouring the coffee/chocolate mix into the batter. I think I might be cursed because every time I’m dealing with chocolate in any of its forms I manage to make a royal mess. But the cupcakes seem none the worse for it, and that’s what really matters. I followed the recipe exactly as it was posted on SK, except that I ran out of vanilla and ended up subbing 1/4 tsp of the vanilla called for with almond extract.
After cooling, these went straight into the freezer. Based on some advice I solicited from some fellow bakers on Ravelry, I first put the cupcakes into the freezer while they were still in the muffin tins for about 45 minutes. I then put them into gallon-sized freezer bags and, again thanks to the wisdom of a fellow Raveler, did a kind of informal vacuum-pack thing by literally sucking the air out the bags. We don’t have blinds on our kitchen window, which directly faces our neighbor’s living room window. Our neighbors usually leave their blinds up, so that I can often see them watching tv while I’m in the kitchen baking, and sometimes while I’m doing things like sucking the air out of freezer bags filled with cupcakes, I wonder: “Do they think I’m insane?”
In case you were wondering (and I realize you probably weren’t), the cupcake liners I bought lived up to their promises and did not fade. The little monkey faces are as bright as ever, which makes me happy. The secret is that the paper liner with the design doesn’t ever come into contact with the cupcake batter because they are double-lined. The paper design is attached to a foil liner, which the packaging claims is thick enough that you can bake the cupcakes without putting them in a muffin tin. I’m not willing to experiment with this feature. The cupcake stakes are just too high to screw around with things like that.
After filling up two muffin tins with cupcake batter, I still had a bit of batter left. So I pulled out a baking pan with bunny faces that Aidan bought a long time ago to make my birthday cake with, and I made two little bunny cakes. Aidan and I ate the bunny cakes that night topped with some butterscotch sundae topping, so I can say for certain that this is a winning cake recipe. They have a deep, rich chocolate flavor even after being out of the oven for only a few hours. Tasty.
So far, Project Cupcake Madness is all win. Let’s hope the trend continues.