As a baker, an important part of my schedule is working out. That way I can still fit through the kitchen door. I prefer to do video workouts at home. I know some people like going to a gym, but it works best for me to workout at home for several reasons:
1- I don't have to be embarrassed about how I look. The workout style bar is set pretty low in my family room - ratty t-shirts and shorts are just fine.
2- I don't have to drive anywhere. I could say this was about saving the planet, but it's really that I hate taking the time to drive to the gym when I can just walk downstairs and work out.
3- I can talk back to the instructors. Which I do. I moan and complain, whine and gripe, and let the instructor know what I think of her "just 4 more."
There is a workout which I'm quite fond of. Although the workout is tough, the instructor is darling, so I don't give her much of a hard time. But there is a point in the video where, after a particularly grueling part, she says, "You deserve this stretch! But not the cake." Every single time. Do I never deserve the cake?
When I checked out a new cookbook from the library, I fell in love with these darling cupcakes. Such pretty pink frosting - how could I resist? So I made them. I may not deserve the cake, but I'm pretty sure I deserve the cupcakes.
- adapted from Deep Dark Chocolate by Sarah Perry & Jane Zwinger
1/3 cup premium unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tbsp premium unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder*
1-1/2 tsp espresso powder
1/2 cup very hot water
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
Pinch of salt
6 Tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
(* - The unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder gives the cupcakes a darker, richer color. If you don't have it, you can omit it.)
1- Preheat oven to 350 deg. F with a rack in the center of the oven. Line a standard muffin tin with 12 paper liners.
2- In a small bowl combine the unsweetened cocoa powder, the unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder, and the espresso powder. Add the hot water and stir till well blended. Set aside to rest for 5 minutes.
3- In another small bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
4- In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the butter and sugar on low speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the whole egg and the egg yolk, one at a time, until fully blended, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary. Beat in the vanilla.
5- Stir in the coffee-cocoa mixture again and add it to the butter mixture in 3 increments, alternating with the dry ingredients. Stir just until blended and smooth. Scrape down the bowl again. Divide the batter equally between the cups, filling each on 3/4 full.
6- Bake until a tester inserted in the middle comes out just clean, 18- 22 minutes. Do not overbake or your cupcakes will be dry. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
Dainty Pink Frosting
8 oz. cream cheese at room temperature, cut into pieces
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Scant 1/4 tsp pure almond extract
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
Red food coloring
Sparkly white sugar
1- Make sure the cream cheese and butter are not too soft, or the frosting will be too soft. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and almond extract on low speed. Slowly add the powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Add two drops of red food coloring and blend it in. To finish, increase the mixer speed to medium-high for 30 seconds.
2- Using a pastry bag and a large tip, top each cupcake with a generous amount of frosting. Sprinkle the sparkly sugar across the top of each cupcake. Serve at room temperature.