How many of you were told time and again not to play with your food? There you were, still a little munchkin, sitting at the table with your mind on other more interesting things than what's on your plate. You're pushing the peas around with your fork and there's a bored look on your face, which is likely resting on the palm of your left hand, when the stern reprimand comes. Sound familiar?
Yes, we were taught well. Instilled deep in our bones are proper table manners and good etiquette that spared us many a embarassing moment later in life. And with maturity comes freedom. The freedom to play and have fun and express ourselves, as with the food we create. Our toys may have changed over the years but one thing is certain, we never get too old to play! So when I saw these Silly Feet silicone baking cups, I just had to have it. I mean, look at those bright pretty colors they come in. Hey, Barbie isn't the only one who's gotta accessorize! My cupcakes could use some new shoes too. :)
I made a dozen of these cupcakes to take to my sister's house for a party she was throwing. I baked 8 cupcakes in regular paper cups, and used the silicone cups for the other 4 which I saved for my sister's kids. Those in the Silly Feet are not really meant to be eaten like regular cupcakes, you'll have to use a fork for these, but that doesn't make it any less fun to eat! I thought they looked adorable and the kids got quite a kick out of them so you can bet I'll be playing dress-up with many more cupcakes in the future.
The recipe is from Buttercup Bakes at Home by Jennifer Appel, owner of the popular Buttercup Bake Shop in Manhattan. The delicious cookbook which has separate chapters for cookies, quick breads, layer cakes, pound cakes, cheesecakes, pies & tarts, puddings & icebox desserts, baking with kids, and of course cupcakes was a birthday present from dear Joey who had snuck a peak at my Amazon wish list for gift ideas. Thanks again, Jojo! :)
These cupcakes are quite light, that is until you slather on the scrumptious frosting. The original recipe calls for 2 cups of sweetened shredded coconut to be swirled into the frosting along with the pecans but I didn't have any at the moment so I left that out. It still came out wonderful.
So get in touch with your inner child and play with your food. It's fun! And because I said so. ;)
German Chocolate cupcakes with caramel pecan frosting
To make the cupcakes, you'll need:
2 oz. Baker's German's sweet chocolate - I used Callebaut dark gianduja
1/4 cup water
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
2 eggs, separated
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 350 deg.
In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the chocolate with the water, stirring to melt the chocolate completely. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks.
In the bowl of your electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar using medium speed for about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolks, beating well until combined. Add in the chocolate mixture and the vanilla extract. Add the dry ingredients in thirds, alternating with the buttermilk, beating after each addition until smooth.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites on the high speed of an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gently fold into the batter until no streaks of white are showing.
Spoon the batter into muffin tins lined with cupcake liners (or cute silicone cups) to about 2/3 full. Bake for 23 to 25 minutes, or until the tops spring back when lightly touched. Be careful not to overbake, as this cake has a lighter texture than most.
Let the cupcakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Remove from the pans and cool completely on a wire rack. Spread on Caramel Pecan Frosting.
For the Caramel Pecan Frosting, you'll need:
3/4 can evaporated milk
3 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
In a large pot, whisk together the milk and egg yolks. Stir in the sugar,butter and vanilla extract. Stir continuously over medium heat about 10 to 12 minutes, or until thickened and bubbly and golden in color. Remove from the heat. Stir in the pecans.
Transfer to a large bowl and cool until room temperature (about 2 hours until it thickens to good spreading consistency). Spread the frosting over tops of completely cooled cupcakes.