This post is dedicated to my daughter Jessica! Happy Birthday sweet girl!
Its hard to believe that 16 years ago today, my girl was born. She was so perfect and beautiful. Like a tiny little angel girl. How could I have ever known then how much she would change my life forever… I was young when she was born and I had no idea what I was doing, but we figured it out together. Its sometimes tough being a mom! All you moms out there know this! But its also the most rewarding and amazing thing in the world… When she sat on my lap and put her chubby little hands on my face and said “Mommy, I love you” and gave me a bunny kiss with her nose, it would melt my heart and nothing else mattered.
She was the cutest little kid ever, always amazing me and making me laugh. Now she has turned into the most beautiful young woman who is just as beautiful on the inside, with the biggest heart you could imagine, almost to a fault. I am very proud to be her mom!
Its pretty challenging sometimes, to be the mom of a teenage girl. Always pushing the limits, just like when she was 2! What do I allow her to do, what do I not allow? To let her live her own life and make her own choices even when I know she might be making a questionable one. Its also amazing when I can watch her make the right choices more often than not and learn from the ones that dont turn out so well. Shes making her way in this world and I feel so privileged to be here to watch her and to guide her the best I can.
Jessica, I love you more than you will ever know! One day when you have your own daughter you will understand the depth of a mothers love… Happy 16th Birthday Sweet Girl!
On to the cupcakes!
She asked me to make our favorite chocolate cake for her birthday and she wanted a cake, but we dont always get what we want, do we? Cupcakes are more fun! I am not a cake person. I will eat it here and there, but usually I find cake dry and sorta flavorless with icing thats way too sweet. But this cake is fantastic! Its always very moist and full of chocolate flavor. I found the Ultimate Chocolate Cake on Anna Olsons food network show, Sugar. I have made cupcakes from this cake batter many times and they always come out great! I didnt use the icing in her recipe for these cupcakes, but I have before and it is soooooooo good! If you are making a chocolate cake and want chocolate icing, try it!
They turned out great once again! Jess and I made them the night before and allowed them to cool overnight before we frosted them in the morning. Jess wanted the frosting to be blue so we used an Electric Blue gel food coloring and each cupcake got a sprinkle of edible silver sparkles with a purple chocolate ball on top. It was pretty hard not to eat them all day while we waited for her friends to come over for her party. Ok, well maybe we ate just one… 😉
The Best Chocolate Cupcakes Ever
- FOR THE CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES
- ½ cup unsalted Butter , room temperature
- 1 ½ cups White Sugar
- ½ cup Brown Sugar
- 2 Egg
- 2 tsp Vanilla extract
- ½ cup Water
- 4 oz Unsweetened Chocolate , chopped
- 2 tsp Espresso Powder (or instant coffee)
- 1 ¾ cups Pastry Flour
- ¼ cup Cocoa Powder
- 1 tsp Baking Soda
- ¼ tsp Salt
- 1 cup Sour CreamFOR THE FROSTING:
- 1/2 cup solid Vegetable Shortening
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) Butter, softened
- 1 tsp clear Vanilla extract
- 4 cups sifted Confectioners' Sugar (approximately 1 lb.)
- 2-4 tbsp Milk
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Get out two muffin or cupcake trays and place a liner in each of the 24 spots.
- Cream butter and sugars together until fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
- In a small pan stir water, chocolate and espresso powder over low heat until melted. Allow to cool slightly before beating into butter mixture.
- Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt and stir into batter alternately with sour cream.
- Divide the batter evenly between the 2 muffin tins. I use a 1/4 cup measure to scoop, but each scoop is not a full 1/4 cup. You kind of have to eyeball it and then when all the batter is gone, look at the cupcakes and try to even them out if some got more or less. You dont want more than 1/4 cup for each cupcake because they will puff up too big then. You want them to just come to the top of the liner once they are baked.
- and bake for 13 - 15 minutes, until a tester/toothpick inserted in the center of one of the cupcakes comes out clean.
- Allow to cool at least 15 minutes in the tins, then scoop each cupcake out onto a plate to cool completely.
FOR THE FROSTING:
- In large bowl, beat shortening and butter with a mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla.
- Gradually add the sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl often. When all the sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry.
- Gradually add 2 tbsp of the milk; beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. If you need to, add a bit more milk.
For Pure White Icing, omit the butter and substitute with an additional 1/2 cup shortening instead of the butter and add 1/2 teaspoon No-Color Butter Flavor. You can find the Butter Flavoring at any cake store.