OK, let's have a collective "ahhhh." This cupcake runs the risk of being a little too adorable, no? But when you're planning a baby shower, you get a free pass to pull out all the stops on cuteness.
Ditto for these little feet. I had a lot of fun making these, and munching on the extra pudgy little toes.
No, I'm not going to be a grandmother (someday, I hope), but along with my daughter Christina, I threw a baby shower for her best friend Lauren, who's expecting a baby boy shortly. But I'm sure you figured that out from the blue frosting.
Making the decorations for these cupcakes was a lot of fun and easier than you think. For the little bears, I melted some Hershey's chocolate bars and spread the chocolate on a sheet of waxed paper. I let it chill a bit (but not so long that it was hard to cut into the chocolate), then used a small cookie cutter to make the bears - something I found at a local craft shop that sells cake-making supplies.
The hands and feet cookie cutters were made using some pastry dough I had in the freezer, but I think they'd taste even better with cookie dough. These tiny cookie cutters were part of two different sets that included larger hands and feet, and I bought them at Fante's in Philadelphia. They do a great mail order business with every cooking and baking item you'd ever want and you can find their website here.
I used a pastry pag to pipe the frosting on top, with several different tips. Sprinkle with additional toppings if desired. Step back and wait for the "oohs" and "aahs."
OK, let's give a hand to the mom-to-be. (sorry, couldn't resist).
Chocolate Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly butter, or line 16 muffin cups with paper liners.
In a small bowl stir until smooth the boiling hot water and the powder. Let cool to room temperature.
In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
Then in the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and beat only until incorporated. Then add the cooled cocoa mixture and stir until smooth.
Fill each muffin cup about two-thirds full with batter and bake for about 16-20 minutes or until risen, springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted into a comes out clean. (Do not over bake or cupcakes will be dry.) Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, frost with icing. You can either spread the frosting on the cupcakes with a small spatula or if piping, use a large Wilton 1M open star tip to make lovely swirls. These cupcakes are best the day they are made, but can be covered and stored for a few days.
Chocolate Frosting: Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until smooth and creamy (about 1 minute). Add the sugar and beat until it is light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the chocolate and beat on low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until frosting is smooth and glossy (about 2 -3 minutes).
Makes about 16 cupcakes
2 large eggs
1 3/4 cups (175 grams) sifted cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar, divided
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (120 ml) milk
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 cups (230 grams) confectioners sugar (icing or powdered sugar), sifted
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2-3 tablespoons milk or light cream
Assorted food colors (if desired)