Friday, June 1, 2012

boys like girl-treats, too!

It would be something of an understatement to say my cupcakes were a success.  I'm not a big braggart (ordinarily), but I have irrefutable evidence that my cupcakes were a hit - 3 previously cupcake-filled containers came home with me empty.  Then there were the nearly vulgar sounds some colleagues made while eating them.  Personally, I'm a fan of the eyes-widening, mouthful-of-cupcake-smiling reactions, of which I got many.  I've kept you in suspense long enough - wanna see 'em?

of course you do
Let's travel back in our magical phone booths to... 24 hours ago (Mister's been watching Dr Who)...

Although I honestly bought the wine specifically to make the icing, I knew I was only going to use a couple of ounces and it would be such a shame to waste that whole big bottle...  Nothing says "I'm ready to bake!" like a glass of wine balancing on top of two small cookbooks.... nothing, maybe, but a brand new apron (seriously, I don't think I can have too many - I'm becoming an apron addict).

I wish I could have gotten more of the apron in the picture, but my arm isn't long enough to do a full body self portrait, but that cute little pattern just repeats along the body and down to the cute little gathered hem bits.  Okay, so clearly I have to take a picture of the whole apron by itself because that last part made No sense.

This, right here, is probably my favorite part of the whole recipe (except the Eating It part).  This is the part of the recipe that made me fall in love with the oddly-named Funeral Cake.  This part of the recipe actually smells better than the part where the cupcakes are baking.  I know - you don't believe me - but go ahead and melt Earth Balance in a saucepan with oil, water, and cocoa and tell me you couldn't die happy.

Go ahead.  I'll wait.

Anyway, once I was done salivating from the scent of the cocoa boiling on the stove and had cleaned up enough to feel comfortable touching it, I poured the chocolatey mixture over my dry ingredients (which includes so darn much sugar I actually ran out and had to sub in some brown sugar to make up the difference - way to plan ahead and check your ingredients, Natalie - apparently flour wasn't the only thing keeping me from baking) and mixed it all together until it resembled oily fudge.  I filled the cupcake liners to the top and just look at them pretending to be pure chocolate candy cups!

Once they'd finished baking (about 25 minutes was perfect), I managed to let them cool to Nearly Room Temperature (the closest I'm likely to get any time soon) before trying to ice them.

I put about a cup of confectioners sugar in a bowl, then carefully sprinkled in 2 Tbsp red wine.  I stirred it up good with my little whisk, until the sugar had all melted into the wine and the icing had a puce kind of hue going on.  Never a big fan of pink-purple, I added another teaspoon red wine for color, but then the icing was way too thin.  In the future I will likely do the same amounts but either
a) use 1.5 cups sugar OR
b) put everything (cupcakes and icing) in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Despite the huge mess I made, I ended up dipping the top of each cupcake into the icing, swirling it around a little and then setting it down on the tray they live on in the refrigerator.  I put them all in the fridge overnight and it definitely helped the glaze set but not before it dripped all down the sides, making quite a mess when people pulled off the wrappers today.

The woman who inspired me to make these was extremely grateful and astonished I could combine two great things like chocolate and red wine, but she took her cupcake home to eat for dessert tonight, so I have to wait until tomorrow for her reaction, but everyone else gave me instant gratification.  The gents loved the cupcakes and used many descriptive words to tell me how much.  Another colleague has now specifically requested the Strawberry Creme cupcakes that were part of yesterday's brainstorm.  Fortunately, the incredible reactions I got on this batch are definitely provocative enough to get me back in the kitchen in time to bring those cupcakes in next week...