I’m sure that everyone is aware, by now, that October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month. Breast cancer awareness is near and dear to my heart because I lost an unbelievably awesome aunt to the illness just a few years ago. She was brave and strong, and fought with all her heart, but lost her battle at a young age. I pray that soon, we won’t have to watch our loved ones fight, and lose, against cancer any longer. That’s why I’m taking today to show my support to “Save the ta-tas!”
Pink is such a wonderful color. Beautiful, sweet, and happy…how could you not like pink at least sometimes?! Especially when it’s on a cupcake?! But even more so now that it stands for something so incredibly important? Pink has come to mean so much more in recent years, as men and women have embraced it to represent the fight against breast cancer. That’s why I chose to dress these cupcakes up in pretty pink papers and top them with pink frosting.
The cupcakes are a delicious, sweet vanilla. They’re mild and soft, with a great texture. And, because the cake is white, it can be tinted beautifully, to any color you choose. Then, there’s the frosting. This frosting is so wonderful! Absolutely delicious! By far, the best vanilla frosting I’ve ever had, and definitely better than any I’ve made before! It is smooth and creamy, subtly sweet, and has a texture very similar to whipped cream, but slightly firmer. If you like the whipped frosting that some grocery stores offer on their cakes, you will want to marry this frosting!
What really makes these cupcakes the best, though, is the chocolate that’s at the bottom! That’s right, I said chocolate. At the bottom. Of the cupcakes. The cupcakes and the soft, creamy frosting have such a mild sweetness that the darkness of a little semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate is the perfect balance. That little addition of chocolate chips pushed these simple cupcakes up into my Top Five list. As in my top five favorite cupcakes!
Now, if you’ve ever tried adding chocolate chips to a cupcake recipe on a whim, then you have probably had the experience of finding them all sunken to the bottom when you bite into the cupcake. In this case, that’s ok! That’s what we want!! I loved biting into the cupcake and having a layer of chocolate surprise across the bottom!
My final touch with these lovely little cupcakes was to wrap them in a thin ribbon and embellish it with a pink breast cancer awareness ribbon and sweet pink heart to represent my beautiful aunt. These cupcakes are wonderful for how yummy they are, and also for what they stand for. Whether you make these in honor of a loved one and to represent breast cancer awareness, or as a sweet treat for the kiddos after school, make sure you snag one for yourself fast! They won’t last long! Enjoy!
Chocolate Bottom Sweet Vanilla Cupcakes
with Creamy Vanilla Meringue Frosting
Makes 2 dozen cupcakes
FOR THE CUPCAKES
6 egg whites, at room temperature
1 cup milk, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
FOR THE FROSTING
5 large egg whites
1 cup, plus 2 tablespoons sugar
pinch of salt
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened and cut into 2 tablespoon chunks
1 1/2 – 2 teaspoons vanilla
To make the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin pan with cupcake papers.
Combine the eggs, milk, and vanilla in a one quart measuring cup, or a medium bowl, and whisk together; set aside.
In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, combine all of the dry ingredients. Beat in the butter on low speed until the mixture looks like soft wet sand or until there are no longer any large chunks of butter or streaks of dry flour, about five minutes. Add the egg mixture in two or three small batches, beating on low until combined in between each batch. Scrape the bowl and mix for another 20 or 30 seconds.
Pour the batter into prepared muffin pan and sprinkle 1-2 teaspoons of the chocolate chips into each cupcake, allowing them to sink into the batter. Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until a tooth pick inserted in the middle comes out with just a few crumbs clinging to it. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
To make the frosting: In a medium bowl set over a pot of simmering water, combine the egg whites, sugar, and salt. Heat the mixture, whisking often, until it reaches 160 degrees and the sugar is dissolved.
Pour into a large bowl (if using a hand mixer), or the bowl of a standing mixer with the whisk attached. Whisk on medium high speed until stiff peaks form, about 8-10 minutes. The mixture should also be room temperature, at this point.
With the mixer on medium speed, add the butter, 1 piece at a time, and beat until incorporated before adding another piece. Continue to beat until thick and smooth (if it looks curdled or soupy, just keep beating it until smooth again, another 3 minutes or so). Stir in the vanilla until incorporate and tint with food coloring, as desired.
cupcakes by Darla, frosting adapted from Martha Stewart