A New Look

Man, the last few days have been a roller coaster ride. First, I was all excited because I had learned some new things for my blog, found some really good tips (which I will share in a different posting soon) and when I implemented one of them, my whole blog took a dive. I didn't know it was one of those changes for a few days so during that time I was extremely frustrated. I just had to walk away from it all for a while and come back refreshed to tackle the issue. Well, as you can see (if you've been here before) my blog is refreshed too....... a whole new look. I had previously been using a free template from Leelou Blogs which was great to use for a few months starting out. Since the free Blogger ones are super boring, I certainly appreciate Leelou offering time and services for free templates.  But, I think they are a tad bit "cutesy" for me and being an old woman and all, decided maybe now was the time to pay to get something a little more sophisticated. (ha! I just laughed at myself.) And, I found that sophistication very reasonably priced at Delicious Design Studio out of all places, the Netherlands! It was hard to choose which one I wanted out of a few choices that fit my need, but I went with this and I love it. I even had a question and they answered it right away. Kudos for their customer service!

Sooooo..... what's happened in the past week? Well, I made some reeeeally good cupcakes. I have my favorite chocolate cupcake recipe and made some the week before last. I normally don't eat the sweets I make but I have played around with a chocolate frosting recipe that makes it perfect in my mind (or mouth!) and so I find myself eating them... quite often. Instead of making a mess eating a normal sized cupcake, I thought I'd just make them bite sized this time so I could just pop them in my mouth easier, thus not making a mess. Turns out, that's kind of dangerous because they are easier to eat and you keep telling yourself like 5 equals one regular cupcake. I decided to put a little twist on the cupcake bites, a lime twist. I figured all kind of fruit is good covered with chocolate, a lime has to be too, right?

My "go to" chocolate cake recipe is this, and I just adapt it to make cupcakes:

Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Cake
adapted from www.hersheys.com

2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup Hershey's cocoa (I use DARK cocoa)
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

Heat oven to 350. Grease and flour two 9" round baking pans or prepare cupcake pans with liners.

Stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in your mixer. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. (I stir by hand a few times to mix everything so the dry doesn't fly up in the air when you turn on the mixer) Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Gradually stir in boiling water by hand (batter will be very thin & runny, this is OK). Pour batter evenly into cake pans OR by using a ladle into regular size cupcakes OR into a condiment bottle to squeeze into mini cupcake liners.

Once you make this cake and see for yourself how runny the batter is, you will be so impressed that there's not a drop of batter on these pans. That's how important it is to use a squeeze bottle for this size!
For the 9" rounds, bake approx 30-35 minutes, until toothpick in center comes out clean.
For the regular size cupcakes, I found 17 minutes was good for my oven.
For the mini cupcakes, I found 14 minutes was good.

For awesome Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:

2 sticks softened butter
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup cocoa (I use DARK cocoa)
1/4 cup melted chocolate chips
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
5 tablespoons milk or heavy cream

Cream butter for a few minutes in the mixer on medium speed. Add 3 cups powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, starting mixer on lowest setting until mixed well. Add cocoa and melted chocolate and mix well. Add vanilla and add cream 1 tbsp at a time until you reach your desired consistency. Add more milk/cream or sugar if needed. 

Now for this particular batch of frosting, I omitted the melted chocolate and vanilla and added Cherry Lime-Aid I had in the frig and added the zest of one whole lime. Even my kids liked it!

I just scoop it into a ziploc bag and cut the corner off to frost the cupcakes. 

I took my plate of "bites" and a glass of wine and went to watch Call The Midwife on PBS.