Sharing with Others
Yesterday was The Lovely Co-Worker’s birthday. The Lovely Co-Worker has been on a very strict healthy lifestyle eating program since February (and I swear she looked great before, even more stunning now) and hasn’t had a drop… not a single sweet nibble of sugar since she started this healthy lifestyle way of eating. So I had to ask, “What do you want in place of a birthday cake this year, or are you going to eat cake?” She said, “I think I might have a small slice. It’s my birthday after all.” “Well, if you were going to eat only one slice of cake this year what kind of cake would you want?” I inquired. “Chocolate. With chocolate frosting. Definitely” she responded.
Mission: Orgasmic Chocolate Something to Celebrate Lovely Co-Workers Birthday.
The Lovely Co-Worker is a beautiful woman who has the ability to make you smile when you walk in the room. She’s one of those women who is elegant and sophisticated, yet down to earth. I racked my brain trying to find something that would be appropriate in depicting how I see her. Of course, there’s been no shortage of decadant, mouth-watering, chocolatey, goodness to choose from these days. I finally decided on rich chocolate cupcakes with chocolate, butter and cream cheese frosting. Well, if you’re going to eat sugar once this year, it had better be good!
My passion in life is baking. I’m a snob though. I only like to share my baking with those that I love. I consider it a present almost. A gift of my heart. When The Husband was working long days on the flight line, I’d bake a million things and send them off to the squadron to share. About two years ago The Husband and I were at a barbecue and one of the guys in the squadron tells me I have to give his wife the recipes for the cookies I sent the other day. There were several men around, and in true military mentality the men start goading, ‘why’d you bake him cookies and not me?,’ ‘am I not good enough for your cookies?,’ ‘what’s so special about him that he got cookies and I didn’t?’ Hmmm. Interesting that I should pack a box full of cookies, place them on the kitchen counter with a note requesting that The Husband take them to the squadron and share – and only a couple of the people in the group know what’s going on. Poor, poor Husband. I turned to him with a look on my face (you know the one, right eyebrow raised, lips straight with just a slight up-curve) and asked “What have you been doing with all of those cookies?” Of course, some things are better discussed in private. The Husband is a big man; tall, rock-hard muscle, and facial expressions that can make you cower in fear. In short, he’s incredibly intimidating. Although I’m not proud of this, I have the ability to make the man shake in his combat boots. He’d rather deploy than upset me and he thought he’d really upset me. When we got in the car that evening there was silence. Then, the rambling defense, “I don’t want to share with people I don’t like. I don’t want to give my beautiful wife’s hard work away to a bunch of lazy bums that do nothing but cause me heartburn. You can’t be mad. I did it because I love you, and I don’t want to share you… any of you.” What’s the response to that, especially when equally guilty? I guess it’s a family trait. Share with those you like… the rest be damned.
Luckily, The Lovely Co-Worker is very loved, and I desired to share with her on her birthday (and any day). These cupcakes are a beautiful bite of airy texture, rich dark chocolate, mocha, almond flavor with a creamy smooth finish. Share if you wish, or be a hoarder like The Husband.
Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
Adapted from A Whisk & A Spoon
4 oz dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 c brewed espresso
1 1/4 c flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 c butter, softened
1 1/4 c sugar
1/4 c dark brown sugar
2 eggs, separated
1/2 t vanilla extract
1/2 t almond extract
1 c buttermilk
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 c butter, softened
4 oz dark chocolate, melted & cooled
1 lb powdered sugar
2-4 T heavy cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners.
Beat egg whites until stiff; set aside.
Sift flour, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl. Set aside.
Melt chocolate and espresso in a small saucepan. Set aside to cool. What, were you not expecting to wash dishes?
In a stand mixer or large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks, one at a time mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla, almond extract and chocolate mixture, beating until combined and smooth. Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk. Fold in egg whites. Drop in to lined muffin tins and bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick doesn’t pull anything else out with it from the center.
Let the cupcakes cool in the tin for a few minutes then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
To make the frosting, beat the butter, cream cheese and chocolate together until well combined and fluffy. Change your mixer speed to low and slowly add the confectioner’s sugar. Add heavy cream, 1 tablespoon at a time until the frosting takes on a creamy consistency.
I would usually make these beautiful by piping on the frosting in a decorative way, but since these are so airy, I wanted to make sure that I locked in all the moisture, so I old-schooled the frosting.
Makes about 24 cupcakes, because I’m not doing all of those dishes for 12 friggin cupcakes! Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.