To freeze cupcakes, put them in the freezer on a flat tray, uncovered. After 6-24 hours, slide the frozen cupcakes into freezer bags and you're done. To thaw, just bring them to room temperature for about 45 minutes. One point of caution -- one of my baking trays turned an unpleasant grey color after being frozen. It absolutely won't wash off. So be careful about freezing them on a baking sheet. A piece of cardboard covered with aluminum foil works great.
Triple Chocolate Cupcakes
(makes 24 cupcakes or 48 mini-cupcakes)
1 cup flour
1/4 cup high quality unsweetened powdered chocolate
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate (1 square)
1/2 cup milk
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (room temperature)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs (room temperature)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup mini-morsel semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350. Place cupcake liners in the cupcake pans.
Combine flour, powdered chocolate, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and blend well with a small whisk or a fork.
Melt the square of chocolate. (This can be done in short bursts of 20-30 seconds in the microwave.)
Cream butter with sugar. Add each egg and beat well. Add the flour mixture in small amounts, alternating with the milk. Beat in the melted chocolate and then the vanilla. Add the mini-chocolate chips and beat to combine.
Divide between cupcake papers, filling each about 1/2 full. Bake 15 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
(Makes enough to frost 12 cupcakes and should be doubled if frosting the entire batch at once.)
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter (room temperature)
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 – 2 cups powdered sugar
Place first four ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl. (I use a Pyrex 2-cup measure.) Microwave in short bursts from 20-50 seconds, stirring each time until it bubbles up and is hot. Set aside to cool. Must be completely cool to make the frosting. (After it cools substantially, I place it in the fridge for 1/2 hour while the butter comes to room temperature.)
Beat the butter well, scraping the sides and beating again. Add the cream and the cool caramel mixture and beat. Add the vanilla and beat. Slowly add the powdered sugar until it reaches the desired consistency.
For the Santa cupcakes I used two different frostings so there would be a little bit of color difference between the tone of the skin and the white hair and hat decorations.
Naturally, you can use any cupcake you like, even store bought ones.
red and green fruit roll-ups
blue and green mini M&Ms
pearl sugar beads (optional)
|Unroll fruit roll-up and cut a slightly longish triangular hat. Save scraps for mouths.|
|Place cap on upper 1/4 of cupcake. Don't worry if it's not perfect.|
|Sprinkle on red sugar for rosy cheeks.|
|Pipe trim on Santa's hat.|
|Add two blue mini M&Ms for eyes.|
|Cut a mouth out of the scrap of fruit roll-up. Pipe a beard around Santa's mouth. Swirl a toothpick through it to make it look like a beard.|
|Pipe one generous dab of frosting on the side of Santa's hat.|
|Pick up the tip of the hat and swing it over, pressing it into the dab of frostng.|
|Snip a mini marshmallow on all sides without cutting through it. Pop on the hat as a pompom. If you prefer, you can pipe a frosting pompom. Add sugar pearls to the trim on the hat to dress it up.|
|Using a toothpick, place a tiny dab of frosting on each eye. For Mrs. Claus, omit the beard, pipe on some hair, and add a pearl necklace.|