Deep-Chocolate Brownie Cupcakes and a Special Birthday

See this little angel?

This is my oldest child when she was a year and a half.  Look at those big blue eyes staring so innocently at me.  Time goes by too fast when you’re a parent.  I remember cuddling at bedtime with this little girl and reading her favourite stories over and over and over…..  She turns 13 today and I wanted the day to be special for her.  You only officially become a teenager once!

At lunch I took her out to have her hair done and for a bite to eat.  Just me and her.  It was awesome to spend time with her like that.  When we came home all of her friends and family were waiting to surprise her.

We always write the kids a poem for their birthday.  They moan and groan when it comes out, but you can tell that they love reading the things we have written about them.  We poke fun at some of their idiosyncrasies and tell them how proud we are of some of their accomplishments.  She’s a good girl with a big heart and I’m proud of the lady she is becoming.

She wanted Criminal Minds cupcakes for her birthday because she loves that show.  I had these cute paper toppers made by Angie over at Etsy.  So cute once glued on to popsicle sticks!  Then I made some other toppers out of Marshmallow Fondant.   The cakes are Deep-Chocolate Brownie Cupcakes.  I iced them with Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream and I used Chocolate Ganache as a ripple in the icing.   I also made a few with Dulce de Leche rippled through the icing.

I could quite simply just eat a bowl of icing and not think twice about it.  Amazing.

Sorry about the bad photos, but the light was terrible in that room!

It is very difficult to make crime scene cupcakes look pretty!  Thank goodness the taste makes up for it!

Deep-Chocolate Brownie Cupcakes

*from Food and Drink

  • 4 ounces (120 g) unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup chopped semi-sweet chocolate or chips
  • 1 cup chopped toasted walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 350°

  1. Line 18 standard muffin cups with papers . Over low heat, melt chocolate and butter together in a large saucepan, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in sugar, then eggs, 1 at a time, and vanilla.
  2. Mix flour with baking powder and salt. Stir into chocolate mixture along with chocolate and nuts.  Divide among cups. Bake 16 to 18 minutes or just until cupcake centre is raised and feels slightly firm when touched. Do not over-bake. Cool
    completely on rack.

Chocolate Ganache

*this makes enough to frost all of the cupcakes.  I only made 1/2 of this recipe to use as a ripple in the icing.

  • 1 cup chopped-into-bits semi-sweet chocolate or chips, about 175 g (6 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Melt chocolate and whipping cream over very low heat in a small saucepan.  When almost smooth, remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Cool to room temperature and dip or frost cupcakes.  Icing will set in an hour at room temperature.

Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream

5 large egg whites

1 cup + 2 tbsp sugar

3 sticks unsalted butter, very soft

1 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract

pinch of salt

1.  Fill a saucepan (large enough to fit your mixing bowl just a few inches) with a few inches of water.  Bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat to med-low so water continues to simmer.

2.  In your stand mixer bowl, hand whisk the egg whites, sugar and salt just until combined.  Place over simmering pot and whisk for approx 4 mins until the egg whites are hot (about 140 degrees).  The sugar should be dissolved by this time as well.  Place bowl on stand mixer and attach the whisk attachment.  Whisk on medium until whites have increased in volume and the outside of the bowl is just slightly warm to the touch.

3.  Remove whisk attachment and replace with paddle attachment.  Beat on low speed until mixture is completely cooled.  Increase speed to medium and add butter pieces one at a time.  Scrape the bowl and continue to beat until buttercream is glossy, smooth and thick.  It may separate at first, but continue beating and it will emulsify.  Add vanilla flavouring and beat until combined.  Use immediately.

4 Comments

Filed under Cup Cakes, Fondant and Icing

4 responses to “Deep-Chocolate Brownie Cupcakes and a Special Birthday

  1. Happy Birthday to your daughter. I think it’s awesome that you made her *Criminal Minds* cupcakes (my husband loves that show too) and I think your decorations look lovely. You certainly had some wonderfully creative idea and your daughter must have loved them.

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