But I tend to make weird dumb errors when my in laws are around. Kinda like when I once left flour out of the cookies I made for them (granted they had very little flour, but still). And they are certainly not hard to cook for—on the contrary, they tend to like a lot of the same stuff we do, especially Asian dishes, and they are always gracious, complimentary and appreciative. Nonetheless, my absent brain definitely comes out around them at times.
So I was making Alex’s birthday monkey cupcakes on Saturday, and I was adding the eggs. The batter was not coming together—as a matter of fact it reminded me of soft scrambled eggs. Ugh! Couldn’t figure out why, got frustrated, and dumped it and started over. I got to the point of adding one egg and it happened again. That’s when I realized that I had not once but twice forgotten to add sugar!
Apparently it is important to add the sugar before the eggs. Whaddaya know?
Luckily I had only added one egg, so I added the sugar and proceeded with the other eggs and it was fine.
Then I put the batter in the cupcake pans without the mini chocolate chips.
So after dumping the batter in the paper cups back into the bowl and adding the chips, I ran out of paper cups, having wasted 12 of them. Suffice to say I encouraged my own immediate family to eat paper-less cupcakes since they would be the ones to go stale first.
Sheesh. But the cupcakes turned out really well after all that. I have made the cake part before—the Grand Cupcake recipe by Lisa Yockelson, but this time I actually made a more traditional icing. This is a great icing for people like me, who do not like super traditional, cocoa powder-based chocolate frosting. It is made with real chocolate and it is very heavy on the chocolate flavor.
And then I used this stunningly easy and cute idea by yanowhatimean to turn each cupcake into a monkey face, since Alex loves monkeys. Although she has 8 billion exotic stuffed animals (my mom volunteers at the zoo so she is our biggest source—for example we have an okapi, which is an obscure African animal, closely related to the giraffe, that I for one had never even heard of until recently), her monkey was her first love. Now she loves them all more equally, but when I saw these cupcakes last February I knew I had to make them. What a great idea!
I took some of these photos the night before the birthday party; thanks to my mother in law for providing me with the photos of the actual day, especially the pic of the cupcake with the candles.
Midnight Chocolate Cake Frosting
Adapted from Lisa Yockelson’s ChocolateChocolate
7 cups (28 oz) sifted confectioners’ sugar
1/8 t salt
6 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled to tepid
12 T unsalted butter (1 ½ sticks), melted and cooled to tepid (may be done with chocolate)
½ cup plus 1 T milk, heated and cooled to tepid
2 ½ t vanilla
2 T heavy cream
Place half of the confectioners’ sugar and the salt into the bowl of a heavy duty mixer. Mix with the paddle on low to blend.
Whisk the melted butter and chocolate together. Pour and scrape the chocolate/butter mix into the bowl and beat for one minute on low speed. Add the milk and the vanilla extract and beat on low speed for 2 minutes, or until smooth (it took me a bit longer, maybe 4 mins). Add the remaining confections’ sugar and beat for 2 minutes on moderate speed. Scrape the bowl down as needed or the frosting will not blend perfectly. Add the heavy cream and beat on moderately high speed for 2-3 minute—add an additional 1-3 tablespoons of heavy cream if needed to be creamy.
Use the frosting immediately. It will set into a soft fudge.