Chocolate cupcakes

It’s my friend’s birthday tomorrow, and she specifically requested that there be chocolate cupcakes at the game today to celebrate. With a request like that, how could I refuse? The only problem is that I’ve never really made chocolate cupcakes before and had no idea what I was doing.

I decided to use her own recipe and immediately ran into confusion: what temperature to set the oven? The first line of the recipe says to preset it to 375, but the last line says to bake for 15 minutes at 400. What’s a girl to do? I set it somewhere in the middle and called it good.

It also occurred to me after I started pouring that I really should have used my jumbo paper molds instead of the regulars — there’s a lot of batter in this recipe, so much so that I was wondering whether it’s meant to produce 24 cupcakes instead of 12. (The recipe doesn’t say.) In fact, some of the batter crept down a bit over the side of the molds, meaning that the paper is going to be obnoxious to get off.

Furthermore, the cupcakes weren’t even close to done at 15 minutes. I checked every 3 minutes thereafter, and it took until 27 minutes before a toothpick wasn’t coming out coated in batter. (In retrospect, I possibly should have baked them for a minute or two less. They’re a touch overdone.)

Next question: icing. Just as I’d never made cupcakes before, I don’t really have a go-to icing recipe either. I decided to try this one from the Tasty Kitchen Blog because it sounded really amazing. Sadly, it’s also a pain in the ass, particularly if you don’t have an electric mixer. No joke: baking is a better workout than going to the gym. My arm is so sore.

It’s tasty, don’t get me wrong. It’s the sort of thing I could eat right out of the bowl and just ignore the cupcakes. But I’m pretty sure that even after a good ten minutes of stirring it by hand, it still wasn’t quite at the right “whipped cream” consistency.

In any event, this is not a dietetic day in “adventures in cooking” land. Between the two recipes, I used a full pound of butter. I think I gained five pounds just by reading them. And even though I think I slightly overbaked things and didn’t whip the icing long enough, it’s hard to completely mess up chocolate cupcakes.

Final verdict: I’ll probably make the cupcakes again, but the icing recipe will have to go back on the shelf until I get an electric mixer. I’m sure I can find something easier that doesn’t dirty two large bowls and a saucepan in the process.


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