Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

March 26, 2011 § 1 Comment

I don’t drink.

It’s not a matter of a religion or self-righteous virtue; it’s just a matter of taste. I just don’t prefer the taste of bitter things when there are so many sweet things in the world for me to taste instead. When Wayne and I go out to dinner with his friends and they order wine, I’ll occasionally opt-in for a glass. Without fail, I’ll take one sip, attempt to cover the pucker my mouth unintentionally makes, and wonder just how much it is in bad taste and etiquette to dump some sugar in the glass. And more importantly, would it work? …Anyway, Wayne ends up drinking my glass as well as his by the end of dinner.

There are rare instances when I will drink alcohol, but it is always in the form of a mixed drink, the super girly, fruity drink that completely mask the taste of alcohol and is so full of sugar that the amount of calories is comparable to a cupcake. And if I have to choose between an alcoholic drink or a cupcake, I will always choose the cupcake. My feelings on alcohol is best illustrated with how I celebrated my twenty-first birthday, a special birthday milestone celebrated all over the US, typically, with a night of legal drinking and only photographic memories since the real memories are kind of fuzzy, at best. I celebrated with fried chicken, red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting, and a marathon of Monk. I could be ashamed at my homebody-ness, but I’m not because I thought it was a great birthday– and how could anything be bad when there is cake, especially red velvet cake?

So I think it’s kind of funny that my all-time favorite chocolate cake recipe has a thick, rich, bitter stout beer as the secret ingredient. I always use this recipe when I need to make a chocolate cake because the bitterness of the beer adds a complexity to the chocolate flavor that I find missing in other chocolate cakes that are baked without a bitter beer or black coffee. I usually make the cake in cupcake form with Guinness and topped with Bailey’s Irish Cream buttercream frosting each St. Patrick’s Day as my preferred way to celebrate. But on days that don’t celebrate being drunk at 8 AM, I usually top the cupcakes with cream cheese frosting just because it’s my favorite frosting, and I like the little bit of tang in the frosting that refreshingly breaks up the richness of the moist, chocolate cupcakes.

I found the recipe for Guinness chocolate cupcakes from Smitten Kitchen. In my little baking world of one (and a whole bunch of baking utensils and butter and sugar– lots of sugar), she is the goddess. Her recipes have never failed me, and she writes each entry with clear instructions and so many tips that she learned from executing the recipe that each of her recipes feel fool-proof. Use her recipe, and the end result will be perfect. I used the Guinness cake recipe from her Irish Car Bomb cupcake recipe and paired the cupcakes with the cream cheese frosting recipe from her Red Velvet cake recipe.

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