Why I love baking so much? I love following rules (or, more to the point, learning how to break them) and I love mixing batter together,  I love figuring out the why behind what I’m doing. And I absolutely love the feeling of putting something that can only be described as goop in the oven, and having the kitchen and my entire house start to smell of something wonderful and oh, and not forget that I love the smell of butter in my hair…lol

Today I’m bringing cupcakes for my co-worker, Dana…it’s her birthday and I thought, PERFECT!!!! i have the reason to make some cupcakes, Yay!

Chocolate Cupcakes (adapted from a New York Times recipe that was, itself, adapted from The Confetti Cakes Cookbook by Elisa Stauss – Little Brown).

3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not dutch process)
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 cups canola (or other flavor neutral) oil
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
2 tsp baking soda.
2 1/2 tsp white vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 350 and prepare 2 muffin/cupcake tins by lining with muffin cups.
2. Sift together flour, cocoa powder and salt. Set aside.
3. In a standing mixer, combine sugar and oil and beat until blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well between each egg. Add vanilla, beat well.
4. Add half the flour mixture, mix well. Then add half the buttermilk and mix well. Repeat with the rest of the flour and end with the buttermilk.
5. In a small bowl or glass measuring cup mix the baking soda with the white vinegar and add to batter immediately beating for 10 minutes.
6. Divide the batter between the muffin tins lined with muffin cups. You should have enough batter for 24 cupcakes. Bake for 24-26 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center cupcake comes out clean.
7. Cool for 10 minutes in muffin tin once you take them out, and then remove from tin and cool to room temperature on wire cooling rack.

Mascarpone Frosting

2 cups cold heavy cream
16 oz cream cheese
8 oz marscarpone cheese
1 Tbls of store bought red food coloring (use your judgement and add as much or as little as you want depending on the color desired)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
sprinkles for decoration

1. Whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Put in the refrigerator while you prep the rest of the frosting.
2. Blend the cream cheese and marscarpone cheese in a mixer until smooth. Add vanilla and the red food coloring (if using) and then t
he confectionary sugar. Blend well.
3. Now fold the whipped cream into the cheese mixture. This is going to be tough to do, and your arms probably gonna get tired folding the whipped cream, and you’ll be tempted to just start mixing it in rigorously, but keep folding. It’s worth it.
4. Fill a pastry bag with a star tip at the end with the frosting and pipe onto the cupcakes. Drop some decorative sprinkles on top for festivity or conversely, put a fresh edible flour on top to give it that spring time feel.