The birthday boy and his cupcake.
So this is the deal…M2 was supposed to stay a baby forever. I’m not really okay with having a 3 and 4 year old. Not that I want to go back to sleepless nights (this one didn’t sleep through the night until he was a year old) and all that. There will be no more babies. But I wasn’t quite so prepared for the transition he has made since we moved of looking like a toddler to a little boy. All of a sudden he is tall without the “baby fat” and growing out of everything. As age 3 was far worse than the “terrible 2s” for M1 I’m really scared of having a 3 year old with a 4 year old when so far 4 is more attitude than 3 for my little miss. Booo hoo, hoo right.
All that being said he is still very into trains. However, this year instead of making a literal train wreck of a cake I decided to be safe and make some cupcakes and train toppers.
M2 likes “bwown” flavored cupcakes so I broke out my tried and true Devil’s food cupcake recipe and Nutella frosting. A couple things about these cupcakes. They are chocolate-y without being heavy. The consistency is light and moist. So far every time I’ve made this recipe they have come out really well. I’ve done a variety of frostings/fillings as well which are nicely complemented by the lightness of the cupcakes. Now for the “but”…Robert doesn’t think they are knock you over the head chocolate-y. In his opinion chocolate cupcakes should be more dense in texture and wicked strong on the chocolate taste. As I’m the one who does the baking I win as far as what gets baked. However, if you like my DH feel the need for a heavier chocolate hand feel free to add some chopped or shaved dark or bittersweet chocolate chips to the batter. I’m guessing that will increase the chocolate factor.
A note on the frosting…if you read this blog you know I’m in full favor of the Nutella craze. This frosting is lovely! When making it you might be a little scared by the texture. However, once you drizzle in the cream and beat for a moment it will turn light and fluffy. Depending on how much frosting you like you will have a bit more than necessary (or just enough if you like piping big clouds of it) for 12 cupcakes. If you do have some left just pop it in the fridge and use it to make cookie sandwiches (shortbread is lovely), spread on an English muffin for a snack or just eat it off a spoon.
Devil’s Food Cupcakes (from Celebrating Cupcakes and Muffins)
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use regular not Dutch process)
- 1/4 cup boiling water
- 4 TBSP unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- pinch of salt
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- dark/bittersweet chocolate shavings/chunks (optional)
In a small cup, mix together cocoa powder and boiling water until cocoa dissolves. Set aside to cool.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line cupcake pan with liners.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat well. Mix in vanilla and cooled cocoa until combined. If using chocolate shavings/chunks I would add them now.
In a separate bowl stir flour, baking soda and salt together with a whisk (or shift into the bowl).
Add flour mixture on low to the butter mixture in several batches, alternating with the buttermilk (beginning and ending with flour mixture) just until a batter forms. Spoon better into cupcake cups filling each about two-thirds full.
Bake for about 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack until at room temperature. Frost or store in and airtight container in a refrigerator for several days.
Nutella Frosting (adapted slightly from Ina Garten)
- 3/4-1 cup powdered sugar (depending on how sweet you like it)
- 1 cup creamy Nutella
- 5 TBSP unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
In the bowl of an electric mixer cream together powdered sugar, Nutella, butter, vanilla and salt on medium-low speed until creamy (scrape down sides as needed). With the mixer on drizzle in the heavy cream. Once all the cream is in the frosting beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.
Spread or pipe onto cupcakes. You can also make a small hollow (with apple corer) in the cupcake and pipe some frosting in for “filled” cupcakes.
Keep any leftovers (yeah right) in the refrigerator.