Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Cupcakes for Grown-ups

A story my Mom and older sister like to tell other people from time to time is back from when I was little. It's the one about the red robin. We lived in a big house with large windows, and one day, a red robin flew, head first, into one of those glass panes. I'm pretty sure it died on impact, and it's tiny body fell to the pavement below. Mom got out the biggest shovel we had and scooped the dead bird into the outside bin, thinking not much of it. Until I asked her: 'when I die, will you put me in the bin, too?'

I was a deep, deep, kid. Or a weird, weird kid, depending on how you see it. It wasn't because I was afraid to die, I think. I was just wondering what would happen.

Another story is the one where I, not much older than 6 or 7, crawled up onto my Mom's lap and burst into tears. My Mom sat there for a second or two, wondering what might have happened, before she asked me what was wrong. 'I don't want to grow old. I don't wanna be an adult!' I hiccuped through tears.

I don't remember the stories as such, but I remember the feeling. Of not wanting to grow up.

Throughout my teenage years and my twenties, I used to joke that you weren't a real grown-up until you had your own home. Then it wasn't until you had a car. I eventually got both of those things, so the natural progression was: you're not an adult until you have kids. When my friends, even the close ones, started having them, I kept the mantra going: YOU may be a grown-up, but me? Noooo.

Now look at the mess I've gotten myself into.

I guess I just have to grow up then, don't I?

For the record: I'm due late October. The ultrasound says it's a boy and if you can judge anything from the kicking and frolicking and jumping and pushing and general energy-level going on in there, they sure could be right! No, I can't really blame pregnancy for the lack of posts here. Yes, there has been, is and most certainly will be a lot more of that thing called life getting in the way of blogging, but borrowing the words of a wise woman I happen to know: I just can't bring myself to put an end to Food & Thoughts either. Scattered and sporadic posting is what I'm all about. Hope you'll still feel like keeping up.

Cupcakes for Grown-Ups - or, as they're called in The Essence of Chocolate: Chocolate Chocolate Cupcakes.

I should at least have something to make up for the whole going adult thing, shouldn't I? In the book it says that these would be ideal for a child's birthday - I think that would very much depend on the kid. These aren't sugary, fluffy cupcakes with a tooth-achingly and gritty sweet topping - these are not-to-dense, almost chocolate-y bitter cupcakes with a lush, heavy frosting. A bit more suited for the grown-up palate, but maybe that's just my opinion.

For the cupcakes:
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
10 tablespoons unslated butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
3/4 cup whole milk

For the frosting:
1 cup heavy cream
8 oz. 62% semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

For the cupcakes:
Turn your oven to 350 F and position a rack in the middle. Line 12 muffin cups (3/4 cup capacity) with liners.
In a small bowl, stir together flour and cocoa. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment fitted, combine butter, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt - beat on medium speed for 5 minutes or until pale, light and fluffy. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl as necessary.
Add the egg, beat until incorporated. Alternately add flour/cocoa mixture and milk, again scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
Fill muffin tins to about 2/3 full. Bake for 15-20 mminutes.
Let cool for 10 minutes in the pan on a cooling rack, then turn out and allow to cool completely on the rack.

Meanwhile, make the frosting:
Heat the cream in a small saucepan - it should just begin to simmer. Add the chocolate, whisking until it has melted completely, the take of the heat and transfer to a small bowl. Let cool for about two hours or until the ganache is thick enough to constitute a frosting. You can speed up this last part by putting the ganache in the fridge, then stirring it every five minutes or so.

Once the frosting is thick enough and your cupcakes cool, invert the cupcakes into the ganache-frosting, using a twisting motion of the wrist to load as much frosting as possible onto the cupcake. Be careful - they are delicate little creatures, and break easily into the ganache (but then I guess there's something for the baker as well ;))


santos. said...

oh my goodness, young lady, what have you been doing?? nevermind don't answer that :D CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!

growing up is growing out?? you won't lose your youthful demeanor, certainly....

Becky and the Beanstock said...

Congratulations!!! What an adventure, no? I sort of think that having kids actually keeps you young (or maybe that's just "running around as if you were young"). Lovely cupcakes -- at first when I read the subject line I thought you were going to give us rum cupcakes or something, but I guess that wouldn't be appropriate :)

Heather said...

Congrats, you! Your stories reminded me of the time I asked my mother about the "mosquito bites on my chest" and after she explained to me about boobs and all of that I replied with great seriousness "ok about the boobs but I don't want to do any dishes." Giggle. Hope you are feeling well, keep us posted!


Pille said...

Congratulations again, dear Zarah Maria!

linda said...

Wow, Congratulations to you! I still look forward to your post, as sporadic as they may be.

ChichaJo said...

Congratulations!!! Yes, I'll definitely still be following, sporadic posting or not :) How exciting!

Some parts of use don't ever have to grow up ;) We can own the house, have the baby, and still stuff a cupcake in our mouth whilst thinking wondrous thoughts :) Here's to the kid in you (both the figurative and literal!)!

Thanks for the tip on cooling the ganache, mine is always too liquid-y...

Anonymous said...

What a sweet little mess you've gotten yourself into! Gongrats from Stockholm!


tara said...

Congratulations on the news! All the best to you and yours for this truly exciting time.

Oh, and that is a perfect cupcake.

Anne said...

Oooh, congratulations!!! I had my boy in May and it is just *so* much more fun than I ever expected :)

Cathy said...

I've been wondering when the big announcement would come :) I'm so happy for you and M and the little one too! Congrats Zarah!!!

Kevin Kossowan said...

Congratulations! I have two little girls that I love to bits, and they've taught me that babies and children can deliver a whole pile of whoop-ass. So brace yourself! :)

jules said...

fabulous news zarah... I'm kinda the same when it comes to thinking about growing up... good on you for taking the plunge..

those cupcakes look like the perfect way to celebrate your news.

and I just used your chocolate chip cookie post for inspiration - gotta bake.

Caleb said...

I found your food blog going through a few links. Glad I ran into it. Didn’t know that the food blog/recipe community was so big online. I love your posts!

I was wondering if you would like to exchange links. I’ll drop yours on my site and you drop mine on yours. Email at or stop by my site and drop a comment. Let me know if you would like to do a link exchange.


Su-Lin said...

Congratulations! I'm still quite frightened of that next big step but I love to see others take it! Hooray!

Mia said...

Hi Zarah

The cupcakes look yummy, and a big congratulations on the tummy :)

Hope it is okay, that I linked you in my latest blogging :)
used one of your cupcakes as inspiration for my birthday cupcakes :)

FoodTravelDiva said...

Congrats, grown-up! :) Love the cupcakes. Enjoy pregnancy!

Eva said...

I'm so with you regarding the blogging frequency and the growing up - need to do that, too, now - due mid January..;-)

Zarah Maria said...

People, thank you so much. He's still growing, expanding my belly into dimensions I thought I'd never see! Guess there really IS no way going back now ;)

Mia - link away! :)

And Eva, wiiih! More grown-ups! :) Congrats to you too!

Paula said...

Hi there,
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for keeping this blog in English! Im enjoying it immensely.
-Grateful foreigner in Denmark.

pityenlacocina said...

congratulations to you from london! life changes!

these cupcakes look amazing by the way, cute blog.



Anonymous said...

Congrats Zarah! We had our first little girl four weeks ago and she is just a joy. We "waited" for ten years ho-ing and hum-ing but know that she is here, we couldn't imagine things any other way!

I will definity keep up with your blog and check back every now and then... and I am definitely going to try those grown-up cupcakes, yummm! :) - Tina Marie

Joe said...

Ohhh yum this is so good thanks!

gemma said...

Wow, congratulations to you both! Great news!

smilinggreenmom said...

Awww...congratulations! I love your post - you are officially gorwn up LOL! Or maybe you could just change it to "you aren't really grown up until your kids are 18" or something :D Anyway - lovin the cupcakes recipe! I think I may just have to make them but I might tweek it with Kamut Khorasan Wheat flour just for added perks! THanks so mcuh and best wishes!!