For Brianna's first birthday cake, I tried to come up with something at least a little bit healthy. I made carrot cake (this fabulous recipe) with cream cheese frosting. She ate a little of it. Then, a couple months later, I made chocolate cake with chocolate frosting for Jamie's birthday (his favorite). Brianna devoured it. And never looked back. Every year now, she reminds me repeatedly that her favorite is "just chocolate." As if I would forget. =) Now Brianna's birthday isn't until January. But last year, she figured out that she could get her favorite more often--if it was Gillian's favorite, too. Fortunately, Gillian has been quite happy (so far) to go along with that.
While it's nice to know the Tuesdays with Dorie recipes ahead of time (for shopping purposes), I try not to bake ahead. Part of my reason for joining TWD was to bake every week. When this week's recipe of Chocolate-Chocolate Cupcakes was chosen by Clara of I♥food4thought, she suggested that we could decorate them for Halloween. But a couple weeks ago, I was trying to figure out what we could do to celebrate Gillian's birthday in the middle of a crazy week. And I realized that the cupcakes would be perfect!
The recipe was pretty easy to mix up, though it was a bit different from some of the other chocolate cake recipes I've made. There's cocoa powder mixed in with the dry ingredients, and then you fold melted chocolate into the batter right at the end. (I used Scharffen Berger cocoa and some of my new Ghirardelli chocolate pieces.) I think I baked them for about 22 minutes. (I forgot to write it down!) The ganache glaze was easy to whisk up as well--more chocolate (El Rey 58% this time), a bit of powdered sugar, and some butter. I had just enough time to spread it on the tops of the cupcakes before it set up. I finished them off with some pink and white non-pareils (another favorite that Brianna's been sharing with Gillian).
The verdict? Dorie prefaces this recipe with "Sure, you could serve these to three-year-olds, but I think everyone would be happier if you waited until your audience was grown-up enough to appreciate the cupcakes' dark, close crumb, the very dark and not very sweet chocolate flavor and the elegance of the glaze..." She's never met my girls. =) They've never met a chocolate they didn't like. (Gee, I wonder where they get that from...) Actually, they're cake snobs. They won't eat grocery-store-bakery chocolate cake, because it's not chocolatey enough. These cupcakes were right up their alley. Jamie and I enjoyed them as well. I liked the recipe as is, but might try adding a bit of instant espresso powder next time to bring out the chocolate flavor even more. And if Brianna and Gillian have anything to say about it, we won't be waiting for the next birthday to make these again. =) If you want to try them for yourself, head on over to Clara's blog for the recipe. And be sure to check out the rest of the TWD bakers--there are sure to be some great Halloween cupcakes!