Thursday, December 11, 2008

i am not a baker

you know that i love you when i bake something for you.

there are tons of people throughout the world that love to bake and are very good at it. i am not one of those people. despite not being a very good baker...i am a good researcher. it was the researcher part of me that ensured that my wacky idea of baking a birthday surprise for JS (who was in town for, like, a day) turned out ok.

after spending an evening consulting texts from harold mcgee, shirley corriher, cook's illustrated, gourmet, and david lebovitz...i decided to delve into the birthday baking experiment. my objective was to bake two kinds of cupcakes....a german chocolate cupcake and a chocolate fleur de sel. JS's favorite is german chocolate and he's a bit obsessed with salty dark chocolate at the moment as i thought this duo would be a good surprise.

i decided to use the devil's food cake recipe from cook's illustrated as the base for both types of cupcakes. i used 99% unsweetened scharffen berger chocolate as well as the unsweetened scharffen berger cocoa. this actually turned out pretty well. i remember thinking "this is what heaven must smell like" when i chopped up the scharffen berger chocolate blocks. note....chopping chocolate is a lot easier when you use a heavy stainless steel cleaver as opposed to a chef's knife. just a thought i wanted to share.

anyway, using the cook's illustrated devil's food cake recipe as a base for both cupcakes was a good call. i used half the batter "as is" for 6 german chocolate cupcakes and the other half of the batter for the 6 chocolate fleur de sel cupcakes.

for the chocolate fleur de sel cupcakes...i would spoon in a scoop of batter (filling the cup about 1/3) then sprinkled a teeny bit of fleur de sel, then another layer of batter, then more fleur de sel, etc..until filled. then to make certain i would be able to tell which was which....i cut a square of scharffenber 70% cacao chocolate and placed them on top. i'm sooo glad i did this....

as for the frostings....i modified the ganache recipe from the gourmet cookbook.
i used scharffen berger 70% cacao chocolate and added 6/8 of a teaspoon of fleur de sel throughout the process. this does not include the final sprinkling of fleur de sel after the assembly....

i actually liked this one. i think i may make this one again in the future...for other loved ones.

for the german chocolate topping i used a combo recipe from cook's illustrated and the baker's german chocolate cake receipe (i used scharffen berger for the cupcakes...but also bought the baker's bar so that i could have the german cake topping recipe).

i can't say i am a huge fan of this one...but JS seemed to like it. i have a sneaking suspicion that he ate it because i baked it. sigh.

i supppose at the end of the day, it is the thought that counts.

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