Chocolate Mint Cupcakes and Video Games

5 Nov

First off, shame on me for not blogging yesterday. But I was having too much fun in zumba, baking, seeing a movie, celebrating and dancing! But to make up for it, I’ll write about TWO of those things today 🙂

Friday was one of my girlfriend’s birthdays (happy birthday, Leslie!) and celebration thus had to ensue. So, yesterday, she gathered up her friends, and we all went out to dinner, then to a ping pong bar (yep, those exist) and finally for one last drink before we all parted (and I went to the salsa club). Given my obsession for baking, I promised to make her something – whatever she wanted. Her only instructions were that it had to incorporate chocolate and mint. I went with the classic chocolate cake and peppermint frosting combo, and everyone loved them!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Mint Buttercream

Gorgeous, am I right?

I usually go the healthier route when baking, especially if I’m going to indulge in the dessert, but being that I would know no one at this party aside from the birthday girl, I wasn’t sure how they would respond to fat-free, sugar-free, whole wheat cakes. So I stuck with the traditional cake recipe – cream butter and sugar, add cocoa powder and all-purpose flour along with the rest of the baking ingredients, divvy up into cupcake paper lines and bake at 350. I also do this on occasion to make sure that when I DO bake healthy desserts, I’m still maintaining the flavor and texture of traditional cakes. Sort of like I’m double-checking that I’m doing it right 🙂

Chocolate Cupcakes with Mint Buttercream

Hot outta the oven!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Mint Buttercream

Green-dyed peppermint cream cheese buttercream…mmmmm

Buttercream is always my go-to frosting, but I discovered that CREAM CHEESE buttercream is so much better! The taste is richer and creamier, the consistency makes it easier to pipe, and it just pairs so nicely with nearly every cake flavor. And that’s what I went with. Peppermint cream cheese buttercream, with a few drops of green food coloring, because why not! I used a combination of recipes with my own changes here and there.

Basic Chocolate Cupcake, adapted from Bakingdom

Makes 16

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup nonfat plain greek yogurt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with paper liners; set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until just combined. Stir in the vanilla. Stir in greek yogurt.

Mix in the flour mixture, 1/3 at a time until incorporated.

Fill paper liners 1/2-2/3 full. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until the tops of the cupcakes spring back lightly when touched and/or a toothpick comes out clean.

Transfer to a wire cooling rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.

Peppermint Cream Cheese Buttercream, adapted from Lizzy’s recipe on YourCupOfCake

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 2-3 cups powdered sugar (I use less than most frosting recipes call for – Lizzy says 3-4C)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons peppermint extract (NOT just mint, as that is spearmint and will taste like gum!)
  • green food coloring (4 drops was just enough for me, but add more for an intense color)
Beat cream cheese and butter for 4 minutes. Slowly add powdered sugar until you reach your desired consistency. Add peppermint extract and green food coloring. Once cakes are completely cooled, pipe buttercream. Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container in the fridge. Remove from fridge 15-30 minutes before serving (unless it’s blistering hot where you are!)
Chocolate Cupcakes with Mint Buttercream

Packed for the party

I promised you TWO topics today, and the second revolves around video games. No, I am NOT the person to ask about such things. At all. Didn’t grow up with any game consoles, and I’m absolutely terrible at most games anyway..I swear I don’t drive in real life the way Mario Cart makes it look like I do! The boyfriend, however, IS a video game lover (oh, boys). He was super excited when he first saw the commercial for “Wreck-It Ralph” – the new Disney/Pixar movie. I was not as thrilled, but being that it’s Disney, and the trailer was pretty cute, I agreed to go see it. AND OMG IT WAS INCREDIBLE.

First off, the graphics were wonderful. Because of the video game setting, a lot of the graphics paid homage to the 8-bit style of classic games, while still keeping it modern with the tell-tale Pixar animations. The colors of course were beautifully vibrant, and Disney certainly likes to pay attention to detail! It was visually incredibly pleasing.

And then there’s the story. Intricate while still being easy enough for kids to follow (ok, who am I kidding – easy enough for ME to follow!). The plot moved right along, as is necessary in stories aimed towards children, but the details and foreshadowing were perfect, dropping hints and needed tidbits of information just at the right times. It was funny, enlightening, sweet, tear-inducing and beautiful all at once. We were quite elated walking away from it. In fact, all I wanted to do was eat loads of candy while playing in an arcade (no such luck though – had a birthday party to enjoy afterwards!).

We saw the movie in 3D, though I don’t think that was necessary. I’m sure normal 2D would be just as gorgeous. And when I see it again, which I will, I’ll skip the 3D. Overall, it was a phenomenal movie that you should all go enjoy!

Advertisements

3 Responses to “Chocolate Mint Cupcakes and Video Games”

  1. thecookingchook November 5, 2012 at 10:27 am #

    These cupcakes look beautiful! I’d be tempted to eat the buttercream on its own…YUM!

    • xtinaluvspink November 5, 2012 at 1:49 pm #

      Thank you! I actually have leftover frosting in the fridge – making black bean brownies tonight and I think I’ll frost them with the rest of the frosting 🙂

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Mint Chocolate Chip Overnight Oatmeal | Eat, Drink, Be Healthy! - June 20, 2013

    […] chocolate. Mint and chocolate are a classic combination, and applicable to many a dish, such as chocolate cupcakes with peppermint cream cheese buttercream. The cool brightness of mint paired with the warm sweetness of chocolate just can’t be beat! […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: