This Tuesday is our monthly hafla, and my first official performance with Hip Expressions! The dance we’re performing was choreographed by Kimberly, a sassy little tribal fusion dance to a song called My Superman. Now, the “stage” we use at St. Pete Nights is really their dance floor, and it’s a little on the tiny side when you’re trying to fit 11 dancers all together, so we all decided Wednesday would be a good day to head down there and run through the performance a few times to make sure we didn’t end up smacking each other in the head. To our credit, the only arm work related injury I know of was when Christie flicked me in the eye while demonstrating how not to flick your partner in the eye. *cough* Don’t worry, the costumes are black so the eye patch should go nicely.
If y’all were about to wiggle in front of a crowd in a belly baring top and tight pants, what would you do to prepare? Cupcakes, of course! After a bunch of researching recipes, I decided to trust in one of the best bloggers on the net, Smitten Kitchen. How can you fail following her lead?
Ain’t the new counters nice? Ignore the screwed up painting job, we ain’t had time to repaint the kitchen after the work. The dancers are all together in this pic, waiting to shimmy into a big bowl.
Every show has a diva, and it’s no surprise who it is here! Since this was being made for the crew, I went with semi sweet chocolate instead of dark. It’s always a safer bet before you know everybody’s tastes. If this was being made for D and me, I’d use the darkest chocolate I could find but the cupcakes turned out perfect this way too.
The decoration needs no explanation, even if an apology for my poor choice of icing consistency is required. Unfortunately frostings and icing are almost always my downfall (the chocolate frosting is Duncan Hines from the can *sob*), and forgetting to whip up the red icing in advance gave me 30 minutes to create frost and get dressed! They came out recognizable, which is more than I can say sometimes.
Love these cupcakes! The cake is moist and tender, and a new fav in the house. The crew must have liked them too, after a long rehersal they dissapeared faster than my cat on bath day. Give this recipe a try, y’all will be addicted too!
Double Chocolate Layer Cake from Smitten Kitchen
Gourmet, March 1999
The recipe below is for 2 10-inch layers filled and coated in chocolate ganache. My adaptations were to split the layers to create a four-layer cake and use raspberry filling instead of chocolate. To do the same, use half the frosting and all of the raspberry filling, recipe at the end. (This recipe made a bunch of cupcakes, and one round layer of cake when I realized I’d made too many!)
For cake layers
3 ounces fine-quality semisweet chocolate such as Callebaut
1 1/2 cups hot brewed coffee
3 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 300 °F. and grease pans. Line bottoms with rounds of wax paper and grease paper.
Finely chop chocolate and in a bowl combine with hot coffee. Let mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
Into a large bowl sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another large bowl with an electric mixer beat eggs until thickened slightly and lemon colored (about 3 minutes with a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a hand-held mixer). Slowly add oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and melted chocolate mixture to eggs, beating until combined well. Add sugar mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined well.
Divide batter between pans and bake in middle of oven until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes. (The cupcakes baked for 40 minutes)
Cool layers completely in pans on racks. Run a thin knife around edges of pans and invert layers onto racks. Carefully remove wax paper and cool layers completely. Cake layers may be made 1 day ahead and kept, wrapped well in plastic wrap, at room temperature.