(Photo by Steve Bartha; Photo Arrangement by Donna Miller, Assistant Library Director at the Avon Free Public Library Library)
I know, I know. Two cupcake posts back to back, both containing the same vanilla cupcake recipe, when I haven't posted in two months. And, just to put it out there upfront, before you commit yourself to this writer/reader relationship, I want to tell you that I misspelled Austen. Yes, as in Jane Austen, the British literary figure America loves to love, the author of the essential Pride and Prejudice, written in 1796, published in 1813, and downloaded free to my Kindle for my in-flight reading pleasure in 2010. It's embarrassing, to say the least, which is why I thought I'd get that little bit over with.
Now that that's out there, we can get on with the really important things. Not that I'm ignoring the importance of proper spelling, but I think we could all agree that Austen, by any other name, would (gasp) still be Austen, and a cupcake by any other name would taste as sweet.
I made these cupcakes for the groundbreaking ceremony for the Avon Free Public Library, which is undergoing a beautiful renovation and addition slated to be completed in February of 2012. My husband, who works for the town of Avon, CT and who is working on the library project, asked me if I would bake something for the ceremony. Really, the credit goes to him for coming up with the clever idea of writing Dewey Decimal numbers on the tops of the cupcakes. As a former English major and recovered English teacher, classic literature is close to my heart, hence the literary names and the wicked embarrassment with the whole "Austin" debacle).
By the way, Julie Styles, the Avon Free Public Library's Technical Services and Collection Manager, has a cool cooking blog (called "641.5 with Julie"--641.5 being the Dewey Decimal classification number for cookbooks) that you should check out here. Aside from consulting some of my latest favorite books (The Culinary Institute of America's The Professional Chef--truly "mammoth" in Julie's words, as anyone who has laid eyes on the book knows--and Sur La Table's The Art and Soul of Baking), Julie is downright funny as she describes taking a shot of whiskey before deciding on the right pie crust recipe and holding a "stick of naked butter" while she attempts to grate it into her flour mixture. Anyone who considers pie crust their nemesis (as do I) will appreciate this post. Do check out the blog.
For the Literary Groundbreaking Cupcakes, you will need:
1 recipe of Rose's Vanilla Sour Cream Butter Cupcakes
1 recipe of chocolate glaze (recipe follows)
1/2 recipe of white piping frosting (recipe follows)
Bake the cupcakes according to the recipe. Allow to cool to room temperature, then frost with the chocolate glaze by dipping each cupcake into the bowl of glaze and letting the excess glaze drip off. Allow the glaze to cool completely, about 30-60 minutes. Use your smallest tip to pipe the frosting into desired words and numbers (you could pipe any themed words--Scrabble or crossword letters for the word game fanatic, periodic table elements for your scientist friends, or see Valentine Message Cupcakes for a sweet V-Day idea).
Makes 1 cup
2/3 cup heavy cream
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 T corn syrup
Heat cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. Place chocolate and corn syrup in a small bowl. Pour hot cream over chocolate mixture, and stir until smooth. Use immediately.
White Piping Frosting
1 egg white
1 1/3 cups sifted powdered sugar
Place the egg whites and powdered sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat with whisk beater at low speed until sugar is moistened. Beat at high speed until glossy and stiff peaks form when the beater is lifted (5-7 min). The tips of the peaks should curve slightly. If necessary, more powdered sugar may be added. You can see in the pictures that my frosting was not stiff enough, and the letters ran a bit, so be sure to test out your frosting on waxed paper or a trial cupcake.
Last but not least, I want to say a quick happy birthday to DKB, which turned two years old this past Saturday! Happy birthday, DKB, and may you have many more delicious treats in your pages to come.