Part XXVIII: Six of Clubs
On April 14, 1945, a crew-member aboard the German submarine U-1206 decided to use the toilet.
This particular poop was significant for a couple of reasons. First: doing this on an older submarine was impossible, due to the ridiculous amounts of pressure that having tons and tons of seawater around you tends to cause. Because of this, this submarine was outfitted with a special, high-pressure toilet that got around the whole pressure issue. Of course, because it was new, and because Germany was in the middle of a freaking war, they didn’t exactly take the time they needed to learn how to use the world’s most complicated toilet. I’m guessing they used that time to learn about missiles and steering. Just a guess.
Second: this particular crew-member decided to demonstrate just how ignorant he was at the fine art of submarine-flushing by managing to flood the sub’s batteries, release chlorine gas through the entire ship, and force the ship to surface and promptly get the crap bombed out of them by the British. All because this guy pooped wrong.
I know this whole story has absolutely nothing to do with cupcakes. And my point, in telling it, isn’t to encourage you all to take apart your toilets and learn all about the personal journey your urine takes after a night of mai tais and tears.
The reason I told that story is because screw-ups can be really awesome and entertaining…if they’re big. If they’re big, they make a great story. If they’re mediocre, like the cupcakes I made this week, they’re just…there. Not good, not bad. But they could be moister, they could have a bit more cherry flavor. The filling could’ve been better executed. I decided to post it anyway, because part of this whole blog thing is to show that you’re gonna screw-up some stuff in the kitchen. Some of it’s gonna come out horrible, and some of it’s gonna come out just ok. And that’s ok. What’s not ok is doing it over and over again and wasting everyone’s time. Think of these Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes with Cheerwine Frosting as a blueprint for something better. Or a convenient way to point out that I’m definitely not a real chef and have no business doing this. Your choice, internet-people.
Here’s what you need:
For the cupcakes:
– 2 cups AP flour
– 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
– 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
– 1/2 cups cocoa powder
– 3/4 cups butter (room temperature)
– 2/3 cups brown sugar
– 2 eggs
– 2/3 cups Greek yogurt (or sour cream, but the yogurt’s better)
– 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
– 1/3 cup maraschino cherry liquid (y’kno, the stuff in the jar that isn’t actual cherries)
– 1/3 cup Cheerwine
For the frosting:
– 2/3 cup Cheerwine
– 1 cup butter (room temperature)
– 1/2 cups cocoa powder
– 6 cups powdered sugar
– 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the ganache:
– 6 ounces dark chocolate chunks (or chips)
– 1/2 cup heavy cream
– 1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder
Here’s how you do it:
First, preheat your oven to 350.
Put all the dry stuff in a bowl (cocoa, baking powder/soda, and flour) and whisk it up.
Next, put the butter and the sugar in a stand mixer and beat it together.
Now, if I were to make this again (and trust me, I AM gonna make this again, and better), I’d mix the yogurt with about 2 oz of milk before I put it in the batter. That should (he said, hopefully) fix the dryness problem in these. However, I haven’t tried that yet, and, I’d like to forever reiterate, I have no goddamned clue what I’m doing. But try it, it should work.
Anyways, mix the two eggs in with the butter/sugar, one at a time (I didn’t do that the first time either).
Once those are fully mixed in, add the yogurt, vanilla and cherry stuff. It’ll look like garbage, but that’s pretty much what happens when you add cherry secretions from a jar to anything. Deal with it.
Here’s how you make it pretty (ish) again: add in the dry stuff and slowly mix it in, just until it’s all one happy pile of chocolate goo.
Put the aforementioned goo into 12 cupcake liners, and stick it in the oven for 30 minutes. I’m tempted to think that they should be in there for less (again, the dryness problem), but I’m not entirely sure. Advice on this will be welcomed. Bad advice will be promptly thrown out and made fun of.
Once the cupcakes are out of the oven, put them on a cooling rack, and make the ganache and frosting while they cool.
To make the ganache, just put the chocolate and espresso powder in a bowl, heat the cream until it starts boiling, pour it on the chocolate, and stir until smooth. Easy enough.
For the frosting, mix the powdered sugar and butter slowly (we’ve talked about this before, people).
Then add in the cocoa powder, Cheerwine, and vanilla, and mix until it’s frosting.
A note about the frosting. The vision in my largely misguided head of these cupcakes was of a massive, glorious frosting-obelisk, the kind that makes you unhinge your jaw to shameful levels just to fit the thing in your mouth. That didn’t happen, probably because I recycled some frosting left-over from the week before to do this.
Look at that picture. That’s the mess I (and my girlfriend, who’s 99% responsible for making these look even passable) had to wade through just to get these things frosted. It was a nightmare. A dark, poopy-colored nightmare.
After the frosting’s ready, take out a bit of the center of each cupcake with a small spoon. Above: mostly uneaten cupcake cores.
Pour a bit of the ganache in each hole, then frost your cupcakes. Put one of those maraschinos on top, too. Just because this recipe sucks doesn’t mean it can’t look pretty.
Think of this week’s beat as what these were supposed to be, not what they are. Once I improve on this recipe, the creamy beat you hear before you should nestle right up to it perfectly, and hopefully, both’ll leave you with a smooth taste in your brain-mouths. Here’s Knx with Sadnis:
As much as I hate cliches and beating dead horses, and beating dead horses with cliches, I’m a big proponent of the whole “learn from your mistakes” mindset. Succeeding doesn’t do a damn thing for your brain other than making it feel all warm and fuzzy, but screwing up? That stings it a bit. That makes it want the warm and fuzzies, and going with that is way, way better than wrapping yourself in a blanket of “meh, this’ll do”. Throw off the blanket. And post a picture, somewhere, of something you screwed up. It’ll do ya some good. See you next time, people.
Here’s the recipe I mildly stole this from: