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I love celebrations…….just the process of inviting your loved ones or good friends and then pouring over recipe books and finding the right one to cook for them. I guess its my hotel management back ground !!! While I am going thru the list in my head I come up with ways to decorate ……..not all of it makes its way to real life but then it does not matter… I just love the process ! If you think about man has been celebrating for centuries, its a different reason for each person, but it is a celebration …..reaffirming the fact that we are surrounded by our loved ones, family and friends who care about us. I imagine life without these celebrations….it would be a dark place indeed !!!!

For me the celebrations take on more meaning if they are birthdays especially the kids birthdays. They just exude exuberance and are filled with joy even if it is the smallest gift that you could find. They have the true meaning of birthdays down pat…..have fun with your friends and family all while jumping around and eating cake!! It was N’s b’day a couple of weeks back and I had so much fun planning his party. He is crazy about the animated Star Wars series and really wanted me to make him star wars cakes and cupcakes but that was pushing my baking skills a little too much !!!! I told him that I would make him the yummiest, tastiest chocolate cupcakes that I could find and that I would let him help me ice it. You would’ve thought I had handed him the keys to heaven the way he jumped up and down. Well……..what can I say, I am a lucky mom….. I am still in the honeymoon phase with my kids. I am still interesting, sort of cool and great. I am not looking forward to the day that it all changes !

But my kids love to cook ….though my little one A is not very interested if it does not involve baking ! The other two N and D love it. They will pull up a stool to the side of the stove and help with everything, including measuring out spices, stirring………..everything with the exception of tasting all of the dishes in the case of N and a few in the case of D. Its ironic that the only child who eats everything is the one not interested in the cooking process.

Back to the topic in hand…..I wanted to make some cupcakes that not only the kids would like but also something that the adults would find interesting. I am not a very good baker. I am just a competent one so it would have to be something in my skill set. I envy the people who can turn out eye popping cakes easily. I read this book about using few ingredients and baking. I would love to give you the name of it but I cannot remember it….I had borrowed it form the library and I think it was written by the same pastry Chef who wrote “Death by Chocolate “. Anyway, they had this recipe for Cocoa Honey Cakes that caught my fancy. I never make cakes, I always convert them to cupcakes ! It goes over better in my house than cakes !!! So this what N and his classmates celebrated his b’day at school with ……COCOA HONEY CUPCAKES.


COCOA HONEY CUPCAKES

¼ lb. ( 1 stick ) butter,  cut into pieces

¾ cup all purpose flour

¼ cup unsweetened cocoa

½ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp baking soda

¼ cup granulated sugar

¼ cup orange blossom honey

¼ cup milk

¼ cup water

1 large egg

    pre heat oven to 325 F.prepare cupcake pans by placing the liners . 

    Separate the egg and set aside the yolk for another use.

    Sift the flour , cocoa, baking pwd and baking soda.

    Add the butter and sugar and beat on low till it resembles a crumbly pie dough.

    Heat the honey, milk and water over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and remove. Immediately whisk in egg whites.

    Add to the dough and beat on low for 30 seconds. Mix the batter with a spatula.

    Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the tester comes out clean.

    Cool for 15 minutes and then refrigerate.

    Remove and then frost before serving.


Semi-Homemade Frosting:


1 can whipped Vanilla Frosting

½ cup Heavy Cream

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

1 tsp Orange Zest

a couple of drops of Blue Gel Food Colouring

Blue Decorating Sugar

    Whisk the cream and extract at a low speed until it forms soft peaks.In another bowl , whisk the frosting lightly. 

    Add the blue colouring and zest .Mix well. Then fold in the cream.

    Frost the cupcakes and then decorate with the sugar.


Taste Test

The combination of Orange blossom honey and chocolate cake has always been my favourite. I love orange and chocolate together and almost always use orange juice instead of water even when I am making a cake with a cake mix from a box. This cake was originally made with clover honey but I substituted orange blossom honey. I love these cupcakes. They are fluffy and light with an intense chocolate taste. The hint of orange just elevates these cupcakes. They taste heavenly and are not overly sweet since half the sugar has been replaced with honey. The boxed frosting has been given an edge by combining the whipped cream and the frosting. The zest provides an aroma and hit of orange that perks it up. You can certainly omit the orange zest and opt for a plain frosting. This frosting , however, is so good you can eat it  by itself !!

Soft peaks ……what are they ??? That just means that when you turn your whisk upside down, the peaks are just starting to hold. They’re soft and melt back into themselves after a second.There are different types os cocoa that are available in stores. This recipe asks for unsweetened cocoa. There is also Dutch Process Cocoa, but that is generally used in recipes that do not have baking soda, as it does not react with acid. The easiest way to get honey off a spoon is to use a spoon that is greased…it just slides off !!!

N and his friends ate every crumb so I guess that tells me all I need about the cupcakes. I will definitely be making them again !!

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