Cheat Day [cheet dey] – noun: The one day of the week where diet minded fitness freaks throw caution to the wind and indulge only on the most tantalizing, ridiculously calorie dense foods known to man. Often associated with the term, “carb hangover,” which occurs the morning after a particularly fruitful cheat day. Synonyms: Free Day, Fun Day, Fat Day

Friday, January 27, 2012

Baby Heath Cupcakes and a Baby Shower

So for some reason I'm still not entirely sure of, my friends and family keep allowing me to take charge of the menu for various baby showers, wedding showers, birthdays and similar events.  Well actually- I can tell you the reason: I'm willing and I have a stand mixer.  These are really the only two important prerequisites one needs in order validate plowing over everyone else's creativity when detailing what will and will not be a part of a buffet.

And for the baby shower I helped host this past weekend, the following was my rule of thumb:
Can the food item in question be given an adorable, baby themed name in order to ensure that not one person forgets they are eating food at a BABY shower and therefore everything must have the word BABY in the name?  No?  Then off the menu it goes to be replaced with some miniature, baby boy themed item that is obviously superior.

Yup, I'm that person that comes up with themed food for a shower.  I also print out food labels with pretentious descriptions, coordinate my serving platters, and elbow anyone who gets in my way in the kitchen.  Want to share the kitchen with me?  Better grab a sponge, because lord knows you're not touching my stand mixer or my new Tahitian vanilla I got for Christmas.  

On an related note: My most sincere apologies to my hostess friend who came over to help.  My kitchen would be a disaster without her.  But hey, I did let her core and fill the cupcakes- a high honor in my book.  

It's amazing I still have friends.  People will tolerate your overbearing attitude and strange affinity for all things ruffly and cutesy if you know your way around a mixing bowl.  This is why bakers are never lonely.  

But moving on- for the baby shower the mom's last name is Heath- so I just couldn't resist capitalizing on that for my first baby shower recipe:  Baby Heath Cupcakes!

Chocolate Cupcakes 
Recipe adapted from:
(A half recipe of what is listed below was enough for the buffet!)

If you are feeling too lazy to make the cake from scratch, I recommend the following recipe:

2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 large eggs
1 ½ cups buttermilk
1 cup strong brewed coffee, cooled
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp pure vanilla
4 oz unsweetened chocolate squares, melted and slightly cooled

Combine sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl with a whisk. Set aside.

In your stand mixer or another large bowl, beat eggs for about 3 minutes using paddle attachment, until they have thickened slightly and are lemon-coloured. Add buttermilk, coffee, oil, vanilla and melted chocolate. Mix  until well blended.
Add dry ingredients 1/2 cup at a time to wet ingredients and mix until batter is smooth. Put an ice cream scoop full into muffin tins fitted with liners.  Bake at 350 until a cake tester comes out clean, about 17 minutes.  Cool completely before proceeding.

Butterscotch Filling 
For a half batch of cupcakes I still made all of the following and had tons extra

11 ounces of Butterscotch chips
8 ounces Heavy Whipping Cream
1 Cup of Butterscotch Butter Cream (below)
4 ounces (half bag) of Heath toffee pieces

Place the chips in your mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Heat your cream over medium heat in a small saucepan.  Once the cream just begins to boil, pour over the chips and let set for a few seconds.  Turn your mixer on low until combined.  This is your butterscotch sauce.

Next, make your butter cream (recipe follows).

Butterscotch Butter Cream 
(This is for a double recipe which is needed)
Recipe adapted from:

1 1/3 cup butter
16 ounce container of ice cream butterscotch topping 
2 tsp vanilla
2 lbs plus 1 cup (or 9 cups) powdered sugar 
4 tbsp milk (I used whole)

Cream shortening and butter with electric mixer. Add ice cream topping and vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.

In a new bowl, combine about half of the butterscotch sauce into one cup of prepared butter cream.  Add your Heath pieces.  This is your final filling.  To fill your cupcakes, core with an apple corer once cooled and put a spoonful of filling inside.  Top with the original core if you desire.  Frost with the remaining butter cream.  Finish the cupcake with a drizzle of the remaining butterscotch sauce and sprinkle with remaining Heath pieces. 

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