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What do you do when your favorite west coast chica decides to make an appearance a mere 4 hour drive from you? You make her cupcakes and meet her in Orlando, of course! Since I never get to bake for said friend, I knew I wanted to make something special, but what? So many recipes, and so little time! Then it hit me, there was only one recipe that would work for the woman who introduced me to my favorite indulgent cool weather beverage, the chocolate chia latte. I had to make Chocolate Chai Cupcakes!
- Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Cake Mix
- 2 eggs
- 2/3 cup water
- 1 tbsp instant coffee
- 1/3 veggie oil
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground cardamon
- 1/8 tsp ground clove
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- 2 sticks unsalted butter (room temperature)
- 4-6 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 3 tsp ground cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- 4-6 tbsp heavy whipping cream
- 2 tsp vanilla paste or extract
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- Preheat oven to 350F and line your cupcake pan.
- Combine all cake ingredients and mix on medium until thoroughly combined.
- Divide the batter between the 12 liners and bake for 16-18 minutes (may take more depending on oven).
- Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before frosting.
- Beat room temperature butter until smooth, then incorporate cinnamon and cocoa powder.
- Beat in powdered sugar a cup at a time until the desired consistency is reached.
- If frosting becomes too stiff, beat in heavy whipping cream a tbsp at a time until it loosens.
- Add vanilla and beat on high for one minute.
- Frost cooled cupcakes.
- While cake is baking, combine heavy whipping cream and semi sweet chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl.
- Heat for 30 second intervals, stirring vigorously after each, until the ganache is completely smooth.
- Set aside to cool. Hot ganache will melt the frosting.
- Dip cooled cupcake into ganache and let set for about 15 minutes.
- Frost cupcakes with chocolate cinnamon frosting and then drizzle with remaining ganache. Top with a chocolate truffle and enjoy!
You may have noticed that I’ve been using pre-packaged mixes for my cake bases as of late. I have two reasons for that. The first, a lot of the things I bake go to work with Andy, and they have to last a couple of days. Scratch baking, while delicious, doesn’t have the longest shelf life; box mixes have a bit more longevity (a tip I picked up watching archived episodes of Good Eats). Also, I have been baking a lot more so I can practice piping and cake stacking. Using a mix as the base and then adding in my extras saves me a bit of time and allows me a little more energy for getting creative with frosting, fillings, and garnishes. Baking is a lot of fun, but don’t take the fun out of it by trying to do everything from scratch and all at once. It’ll help keep things fun 😉
As you all know, I make a lot of cake. Normally, baking is a nice stress reducing activity, but occasionally it is more of a last minute necessity. When that’s the case, it’s always nice to have a few time saving tricks up your sleeve. This frosting is one of them. I wish I could take credit for coming up with this amazing recipe, but I found it online somewhere, but here is the thing. I can’t remember when or where. I wrote it down on a sticky note and now… you know. Trust me, I would give credit where credit is do if I could. That aside, this is absolutely something you should tuck away for that last minute baking emergency.
- 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave, checking every 30 seconds, until smooth. Allow to cool slightly.
- Combine chocolate, sour cream and vanilla in a mixing bowl and beat until light and fluffy.
- Frost away!
- If your kitchen is warm, your frosting could start melting. Store your completed cake in the fridge or in a cooler spot away from the stove. Allow to return to room temp before serving.
Eas,y right? And it’s also delicious. I know I am selling this as a time saving option, but it really is good enough that it could be your go frosting if you wanted. The only issue I have with it is the temperature sensitivity. I live in Florida; it stays pretty warm around here most of the time.
Feeling buoyed by my recent success, I decided to continue on my Sweet & Vicious baking streak. This time I selected a recipe that actually allowed for a lot of variance, but still maintained the sass that I am coming to expect from this book. First, I decided on the cobbler quickbread and, after checking my fridge, refined it to the blackberry iteration of the recipe. Then of course, I went all the way by adding the recommended flavor elevator of blackberry lemon thyme butter to pair with the finished product. Here’s how it went:
- This recipe made me so happy! Reading it and mentally running through the steps, it seemed… well… a bit extra, but every little thing blends perfectly into something so delightful that you don’t mind the effort. Just go for it; you won’t regret it.
- While the base recipe is solid, it is the bells and whistles that really take this over the top. First the spiced topping, that pinch of cayenne brings the most subtle hint of heat which in turn brings out the sweetness in the berries. The compound butter adds an extra level of richness, and the lemon zest paired with the mashed fruit keeps that slight tart that makes this more than just another sweet quickbread.
- I am having so much fun with this book; the more recipes I try, the more I want to make.