recipe || champagne-vanilla cupcakes

There is always a reason to bake cupcakes, but when your sister and her boyfriend get back in town for school, your mom and little brother come for a visit and your little brother hasn't been to visit in 5 years, and it's your birthday and wedding anniversary month, I'd say the reasons to bake cupcakes are without argument.

If you've never made cupcakes with some sort of bubbly in them I encourage you to do so now. The alcohol bakes out and you are left with fluffy, light baby cakes that are perfect for any sort of party or shower or Thursday afternoon.

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I prefer using Prosecco or another bubbly wine like Moscato because the flavor of champagne is not everyone's cup of tea. We chose to use a different icing recipe since the custard frosting was a bit more involved than we had time for and this buttercream frosting is tried and true.

Cupcake Recipe from Food Network*

Buttercream Frosting Recipe from Pinterest

*I used vanilla rather than the vanilla bean this time around

Pipe out some frosting and add a few decorative edible pearls and voila!, my darlings! Simple elegance in cupcake form.

Happy Baking, lovelies! 

 

recipe || this years birthday cake

Each year the question comes, "what kind of birthday cake would you like this year, my Love?" And each year, I answer differently. I don't have my one special cake, the one and only that I want to have year after year. I just love cake too much to not want to try all the kinds. So each year, I give it some focused thought and see where the cravings lead. 

This year: chocolate.......chocolate on chocolate. I've had several "best" chocolate cake pins adorning my sweets pinterest board for a while now so one was chosen and that became this years birthday cake. 

And to just brag on my J a bit......he made one darn good chocolate cake. The man is multi-talented, never ceases to impress me. He and AK put the whole thing together and, truly, that has made every piece even better. They even put sprinkles on the top just because they know I love them. The frosting on this cake, especially, was so fluffy and decadent, a bit of what dreams are made of, I think. It's just a really good chocolate cake. 

Thank you, my loves. You make everything more wonderful.

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Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon espresso powder

1 cup milk

1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup boiling water

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare two 9-inch cake pans by spraying with baking spray or buttering and lightly flouring.

For the cake: add flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and espresso powder to large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk together to combine or, using your paddle attachment, stir through flour mixture until combined well.

Add milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla to flour mixture and mix together on medium speed until well combined. Reduce speed and carefully add boiling water to the cake batter. Beat on high speed for about 1 minute to add air to the batter.

Distribute cake batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes, remove from the pan and cool completely.

Frost cake with......

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

1 1/2 cups butter (3 sticks), softened

1 cup unsweetened cocoa

5 cups confectioner's sugar

1/2 cup milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon espresso powder

Directions

Add cocoa to a large bowl or bowl of stand mixer. Whisk through to remove any lumps. Cream together butter and cocoa powder until well-combined.

Add sugar and milk to cocoa mixture by adding 1 cup of sugar followed by about a tablespoon of milk. After each addition has been combined, turn mixer onto a high speed for about a minute. Repeat until all sugar and milk have been added. Add vanilla extract and espresso powder and combine well.

If frosting appears too dry, add more milk, a tablespoon at a time until it reaches the right consistency. If it appears to wet and does not hold its form, add more confectioner's sugar, a tablespoon at a time until it reaches the right consistency.

Original recipe via Pinterest

And as one little extra piece of goodness: if you like the chocolate, peanut butter combination, then dollop a little scoop of creamy peanut butter onto the plate of your chocolate cake and eat them together. I assure you, life as you know it will be better. You can thank my mama for that.

Enjoy your indulging, friends.