Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Mad Science Experiment

In the spirit of Halloween, let's think of these as a mad scientist's experiment. These cupcakes are my Frankenstein.  What I WAS making and what I ended up with were very different things.  Both had exactly the same ingredients.  Both would have been delicious.  One looked like the Bride of Frankenstein and the other like "Abby something...Abby Normal!" (my favorite line from Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein.)

I started by making chocolate cupcakes.  The original recipe called for Devil's Food cake but I have been making Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Cake recipe since I had my own stool in the kitchen in order to reach the counter, so I used the latter recipe. (By the way, that recipe is bulletproof!) 

You then make what is essentially marshmallow fluff or what Martha calls  "7 Minute Frosting."  Basically you whip a whole lot of egg whites with sugar, cream of tartar, and vanilla and then heat it (in a bowl) over simmering water while whisking for about 7 minutes to melt the sugar.  Then you whip the egg white mixture again for about 12 minutes with a stand mixer until the egg whites form stiff peaks.  Or in my case, your entire kitchen and person are thoroughly sticky. The frosting is beautiful, glossy, and white as a ghost!  It made me want to shrink myself and jump right into the bowl of fluffy, sugary goodness.


Don't you just want to poke your finger in that!

What I was TRYING to make were these cool little cupcakes called Hi Hat Cupcakes.  You swirl the fluffy frosting onto the flat top of a cupcake, chill them, and then magically dip the top into melted chocolate that hardens like Magic Shell.  The result is a tall, iced cupcake with a glossy, dark chocolate shell that takes on the swirl from the marshmallow frosting.  Trust me, they are to die for. 
Unfortunately, I must not have had stiff enough peaks because as soon as I turned the cupcake upside down and dipped it into the chocolate, the chocolate pulled the frosting. Oh the mess I made! I was making them to take to a party so needless to say I had to improvise pretty quickly.  I chose to drizzle the chocolate over the marshmallow frosting and sprinkle with orange jimmies.  

Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Cake Recipe
Makes about 30 cupcakes.  
Preheat oven to 350F

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 3/4 cups Hershey’s cocoa 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup canola oil  (I use fruity olive oil)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup boiling water
  1. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla. Beat with a hand or stand mixer until completely mixed, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stir in the boiling water. The batter will be thin.
  2. Line muffin tins with cupcake papers (Recipe yields 30 cupcakes)  Fill papers about 2/3's full with batter.  Cook for about 22-25 minutes.
  3. Let cool for about 10-15 minutes in the tins, and then remove to baking racks and cool completely. 

Martha Stewart's 7 Minute Frosting Recipe

  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 6 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • In a bowl add all the ingredients and start whipping in a stand mixer until it starts to get frothy.  Remove bowl from mixer and set over a simmering sauce pan.  Continue whisking until all the sugar is dissolved and it mixture is just warm to the touch.  Remove bowl and bring back to the mixer.  Whip increasing speed for about 12 minutes or until you have STIFF peaks.  Frost cupcakes using a pastry bag and make generous piles of swirly frosting!  Chill for 2 hours before attempting to dip or for drizzling. 
Chocolate "Shell"
12 oz of semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled
3 T canola or safflower oil

Mix oil with chocolate and stir.  This will harden some so you want work somewhat quickly. Drizzle on cupcakes as desired.

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