Thursday, February 7, 2008

Carrie's Birthday Cupcakes!!

My friend Carrie had a birthday a few weeks ago, and I wanted to make her something that incorporated a few of her favourite things: dessert, chocolate and the colour pink. I was also dying to use these cute Wilton cupcake boxes that I picked up awhile back, and since I knew that the box would only hold four cupcakes, I guess that I was also hankering for a cupcake feast myself. This is what I came up with:

For the cupcakes I decided to use the tried-and-true recipe for Heidi's Chocolate Cake (recipe to follow shortly) that I found in the Trinity Square and Cawthra Square Cafe Cookbook that Rayzor bought a few years ago. This recipe, like many one-bowl cake batters, is really easy to make and is easy to adjust, but for some reason, the cupcakes that came out of this batch didn't taste quite right to me. They were good, but not great, like I had been expecting.

The ganache, on the other hand, was a complete nightmare.

The problem with ganache is that you have to be a patient person to achieve the right results. As this experiment obviously proves, I am definitely not patient when it comes to watching chocolate sauce become chocolate paste.

The ganache recipe (also to follow) was selected from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook, and seemed not only easy to make, but looked really pretty in the picture (it's important to mention that I almost never make something that doesn't have a picture because I need something to measure up to).

Making ganache is really quite simple: You heat up some heavy cream in a pot, take the pot off the heat, quickly add the chocolate to the pot, gently spoon the hot cream over it and let it sit for 5 minutes. Then you stir it up until it's all smooth and chocolatey.

The hard part is waiting. It takes about an hour for the ganache to become solid enough not to drip all over and still be pourable, and all I wanted to do was get the ganache on the cupcakes so I could pipe on the buttercream frosting.

So, stupidly, I decided that the ganache probably really didn't need to set, and poured it on, spilling it everywhere. Then, to make things worse, I immediately piped the pink buttercream flowers on top which effectively ruined 20 out of 24 cupcakes.

Still, I was pleased with the four "good" ones:
The packaging makes them look even cuter, especially because the cupcake liners matched the box, but I still can't help feeling that it looks like pink lily pads floating on a pond of chocolate water. Whatever. I guess that's why I won't be giving up my day job quite yet.

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