Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Special Guest, Lara Sheleheda of Air Kiss, Devil's Food Chocolate Cupcakes

Recently I asked two talented women to share a holiday decorating idea and or a favorite holiday recipe
on my blog, to share with you during the holiday season....
Today I would like to introduce you to one of those bloggers, Lara Sheleheda, of the blog, Air Kiss.
I love Lara's photography and food styling, and I know you will too.
I hope you get a chance to visit Lara's Blog.

Hi everyone! I'm Lara from Air Kiss and Maria invited me to guest post at her gorgeous blog. First of all, let me say it is such an honor to be here at one of my very favorite go to blogs for stunning photography. You are truly gifted in that art Maria! Maria has never ceased continually amazing me with her beautiful and unique style from day one.

I am completely addicted to cooking and baking food, styling it, and photographing it. You can see more of my photos over at my blog, Air Kiss. Right now it has been all about the making and; baking of holiday sweets. I am making my first pâte de fruit  tomorrow - the last sweet on my agenda. But, I can't wait to dive into some healthy winter vegetable salads which I'll be sharing soon.

In the meantime, my kitchen has been filled with the smells of chocolate and cool peppermint lately. Who doesn't love peppermint in December? Even better when it is with some chocolate!

These cupcakes are adapted from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes book. Such a great book to have if you love baking up really great cupcakes. These are the Devil's Food Chocolate cupcakes paired with her 7-minute meringue frosting. I didn't have Dutch-process cocoa powder, so I used Ghirardelli unsweetened cocoa powder. I put some candy canes in a Ziplock bag and bashed them up with a the back of a wooden spoon. Then I rolled over the crushed pieces with a rolling pin to get them finely crushed.

Between the batter and the meringue, there are ten eggs used in this recipe. Good practice for separating egg whites!

I love using Ateco pastry piping tips. I used the Ateco #809 for the chocolate chip shape piping. You pipe straight down and then pull the piping bag right up to make the little peak. A Wilton #1A will also work for this.

These cupcakes are super delicious after they have fully cooled and the flavours have had time to meld. Do the freezer for portion control method like I do to avoid temptation. ;-)

I hope everyone has a holiday full of peace and cheer!

Thanks for having me as your guest, Maria!

Ghiradelli Chocolate  Cupcakes
makes 32 cupcakes

3/4 cup Ghirardelli unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup hot water
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
3 sticks unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together cocoa and hot water until smooth. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

Melt butter with sugar in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring to combine. Remove from heat, and pour into a mixing bowl. With an electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat until mixture is cooled, 4 to 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add vanilla, then cocoa mixture, and beat until combined. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the sour cream, and beating until just combined after each.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three- quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool 15 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

Let cool completely before frosting.

7-Minute Frosting
from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes book
makes about 8 cups

1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2/3 cup water
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
6 large egg whites, room temperature

Combine 1 1/2 cups sugar with the water and corn syrup in a small saucepan; clip a candy thermometer to side of pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Continue boiling, without stirring, until syrup reaches 230 degrees.

Meanwhile, in the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk egg whites on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. With mixer running, add remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, beating to combine.

As soon as sugar syrup reaches 230 degrees, remove from heat. With mixer on medium-low speed, pour syrup down side of bowl in a slow, steady stream. Raise speed to medium-high; whisk until mixture is completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl) and stiff (but not dry) peaks form, about 7 minutes. Use immediately.

Thank you Lara!!!
You can also find Lara on....

I will be back with my second surprise guest tomorrow evening.
Take Care,


High Street Cottage said...

Love Lara's blog! Her recipes are wonderful as well, and such a sweet person xoxo tami

TheCrankyCrow said...

These look so fun and festive - and sound absolutely divine....Nice to meet Lara! Great guest feature Maria! Thanks for sharing her and this great recipe! Smiles & Holiday Hugs ~ Robin

Amy Chalmers said...

oh those look so yummmmmmmyyyyyyy!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Great photos and amazingly sweet and tasty cupcakes!:)
Greetings dear!

Vær våken said...

What a wonderful post! I'm heading straight over to visit her :) Wishing you a beautiful Christmas week!

Kristin xx

LissyLou said...

the food and these photos look amazing!!

miss b said...

These look amazing - so pretty too in those lovely cupcake cases!


Erin Southwell said...

Just beautiful. The pretty cupcake holders take the, err . . . cake. Adore it.

Sarah said...

Absolutely gorgeous! eek, the talent and my mouth is watering just looking at these beautiful shots!! ;-)

gfs said...


Allison said...

These sound delicious! Chocolate and peppermint is such a yummy combination. The photos are gorgeous!

martinealison said...

De belles photos alléchantes pour nous faire tourner la tête!!! Comment résister après ça!!!
Gros bisous à vous et joyeuses fêtes.

Heaven's Walk said...

You know...between you and Lara, Maria....I wonder who's photos are going to be published in a foodie magazine first....??? lol! Gorgeous!!! :)

xoxo laurie

sheepyhollow said...

You ladies are amazing! I'd like to reach through the screen and taste! Have a blessed Merry Christmas!

Lara said...

It was so nice logging on this morning & finding this, Maria! Thank you so much for inviting me to contribute. I can't wait to see who the next surprise guest poster will be! I hope you have a wonderful, safe, and joyful Christmas.

jone said...

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