As I type this blog, the scent of butter and chocolate is wafting from the kitchen (which is still a mess) into the living room. I’ve baked a cake again. One that has kept me busy for the last few days. It’s a marble bundt cake, and it’s very good. Enjoy!
Sometimes I just have to go ahead and be naughty. Do exactly what I want, even if it doesn’t sound like the best idea at the moment. Like this morning, for example. I should’ve made my espresso, turned on the computer and started the order of the day. But no. I needed to bake. With the tree on. Christmas records playing. And still in my bathrobe.
During the past few weeks, I have been working on a pretty big recipe production for Vriendin, the Dutch women’s weekly for which I am a regular food writer. Thirty-two appetizers for the first issue of December, featuring all sorts of verrines, crostini, amuse spoons and various other fingerfoods. In an attempt to combine work and pleasure (something that isn’t all that difficult when your job is actually your passion), I organize a nibbles party for dinner every Friday night, complete with a nice bottle of wine and good music. It’s a heck of a lot of work, but it’s been one of the most enjoyable and rewarding productions up until now. Although, come to think of it, exploring the authentic Thai kitchen for issue number 17 wasn’t half that bad either.
Making tiny little bits of food means that I am usually left with a fridge-full of half used ingredients. Which in turn means that I have to keep that in mind when planning my meals for the days that follow. This works out pretty well most of the time (today we’re having pasta with left over mascarpone, for example), but sometimes I get stuck with something I have little use for. At least in my opinion. Like theleft over cream cheese. Really, I’m not a cream cheese fan unless it’s on a bagel, and bagels are not something I frequently have.
So, what to do with the cream cheese? Frosting? Yes! For cupcakes!
It’s been ages since I made cupcakes, and because the teen is home on autumn break, the time seemed ripe. The only thing I didn’t want was to make a whole dozen. Therefore, I wrote the recipe for six, but nothing should stop you from doubling it if you’d like.
They were so good and so simple to make. Try them, and if you do, let me know what you think.
Chocolate Halloween Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
For the cupcakes:
- 120 ml milk
- ½ tsp balsamic vinegar
- 50 g fine sugar
- 2 tbsps sunflower oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 80 g flour
- 2 tbsps cocoa powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
For the frosting:
- 70 g cream cheese, soft
- 40 g butter, soft
- 40 g pure chocolate
- 120 g powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp milk
Preheat oven to 180°C and line a muffin tin with 6 liners. Try to use Halloween themed liners or a mix of orange and black. Pour the milk into a jug and whisk in the balsamic vinegar. Then, whisk in the sugar, sunflower oil and vanilla extract. In another bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet in two batches. Stir well, but do not whisk or beat. Pour the batter into the liners and bake for about 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool on a rack completely before frosting.
To make the frosting, first melt the chocolate au bain marie. Beat the cream cheese and butter on a low speed until creamy. Add in the melted chocolate, powdered sugar and milk and beat again until it forms a nice thick consistency.
Frost the cupcakes, decorate as you wish and serve!
PS: A fake spider on each cupcake also makes a fab decoration!