Not a Frosting Type of Kid

My youngest never really appreciated the frosting on cake. When his birthday would come each year it was always a challenge to come up with a treat that was special, but still was “birthday cake”. Eventually this recipe became the winner. It is a delicious, rich chocolate cupcake that everyone enjoys.

Surprise Chocolate Cupcakes (A birthday favorite)

For the cake:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups cold coffee
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Filling:

  • 8 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips

Prepare 30 cupcake tins by spraying with non stick spray or by using cupcake papers.

Prepare the filling first. Beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add in the egg and sugar and mix well. Stir in chocolate chips. Set aside.

For the cake: Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Stir in the coffee, oil and vanilla until smooth. Add the vinegar and fold into the batter. You should see the batter lightly foam as the vinegar and baking soda react together.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Fill cupcake tin (or paper) to 2/3 full. On top of the batter for each cupcake spoon approximately one teaspoon of filling.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick place into cake portion come out clean. Cool.

 

English Muffin Bread

My Dad’s favorite “store bought” bread is the Muffin or Toasting bread. When on sale, he ¬†stocks up the freezer with it. It is also a favorite of ours. I wanted to come up with a version that was every bit as good or even better. After reading multiple recipes and a few bakes, this is the recipe I have come up with. And Dad, I have one in the freezer, for our next visit!

English Muffin Toasting Bread (using bread maker dough cycle)

Makes 2 loaves

Add ingredients in order:

  • 1 cup warmed milk
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 3 Tbsp softened butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vinegar
  • 4 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 1/4 tsp yeast (for Bread Machine)
  • Cornmeal (optional)

Set bread maker on dough cycle. Start machine. Check to make sure all ingredients have incorporated nicely and that dough is not too dry. It should be just a bit sticky.

After dough cycle is complete, gently turn dough out onto a cutting board. Remove paddle from dough, punch down to remove air and shape into two loaves. Place each loaf into a greased, 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ bread pan. Set, covered, in a warm place to proof until dough has doubled in sized (about an hour). Bake at 400 for 18 – 20 minutes or until golden brown. Turn out onto rack to cool before slicing.

 

Setting Number Seven

A few years ago, I received a bread maker for my birthday. From start to finish, I have completely baked one loaf in it. The artificial, odd shape that it made, brought no satisfaction. Then, I tried the dinner roll recipe from the provided booklet. It used setting number seven, “dough”. The machine did the work of kneading and proofing; shaping and baking was my responsibility. Together we made a perfect match. The messy, temperamental part of baking bread was solved. Finishing the process outside the machine, allowed my creative and experimental half to flourish. I could be a successful bread maker.

I probably am more hands on, than intended, with my machine. The lid stays open and I hover, with little spatula in hand, making sure my bread comes together neatly and is the right consistency before closing. I tweak recipes to taste and try to adapt them so that I am able to make two, one pound loaves from the dough created. After all, the first warm loaf is for tasting, right? For baking, I have found unfinished stoneware to give the best crust.

And my greatest delight in bread making? The satisfying “yum” when my family enjoys my creation.

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