Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Triple Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting

Since my last posting I have been a busy woman. I baked a bunch of cupcakes for my mom to take to work for her last day of the rotation as she usually does. I went to Garden of the Gods, Seven Falls and the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. I went snowboarding today, and classes start up again tomorrow.
Garden of the Gods
Yesterday was Monday and the last official day of Spring Break. Today was just my day off from classes because I don't have Tuesday classes anymore! yay! My friend Andy and I went down to Colorado Springs to see Garden of the Gods and it was a GORGEOUS day. We drove through because we were lazy like that, we stopped at a couple of the rock formations, like Balanced Rock. Where were almost saw a deer get hit by a car.

Seven Falls

After Garden of the Gods we went to Seven Falls, where we were told that they elevator would not be open and the stairs would be open in about a half hour or so. We walked around and found random things in the cliff walls. It was fun. When the stairs opened up we slowly made our way up the 224 steps according to the sign or 223 according to us because we counted them, twice.  When we were looking at all the really expensive stuff in the gift shop we heard that they were opening the elevator, so after we climbed up to the top of the falls we rode the elevator up so we could take this picture.
The view from the top of the zoo
The bears that knew their names

 We were going to drive up Pikes Peak but the road would have been closed by the time we got to it, so we decided to go to the zoo. This zoo is amazing, it is huge and has a lot of animals. I got to feed the giraffes, it was cool and gross. They would see you get the food and come over and start sticking their tongues out trying to get the food from you. There was a couple giraffes that thought the wood of their cage was better tasting and one actually pulled a huge piece off and was trying to eat it. We went into the monkey habitat and saw this pair of gibbons that are both missing their left hands, but you wouldn't know it unless someone pointed it out to you. Those gibbons were getting along just fine. We also went and visited the bears and there was a plaque that had a paragraph on each of the bears and what their names are. So Andy and I started calling their names and they actually turned and looked at us.
Monday was an awesome day.

 Today was also an awesome day. I got to go snowboarding. It was another beautiful day out. Sunny, not really cloudy, but the wind was killer. We made seven runs, which  might not sound like much until you know that each run is about two miles long. My face got sunburned and windburned, I kind of have raccoon eyes. Two things I found interesting today was that there was a guy who only had one leg and he was skiing. I was in awe by this, I sat down and watched him go sailing down the mountain, just like any other skier. The other thing I found interesting is there was a woman that I met a lunch that skies or snowboards while carrying her three month old baby. Since Loveland requires you carry them in a pack she was taking turns with her husband as to who was sitting with the baby because they didn't have a pack for her. 
I made the cupcakes on Sunday because Mom needed them for Monday. I had given her a bunch of choices and of course she loves chocolate so she picked the chocolate one. This recipe is from 175 best babycakes recipes by Kathy Moore and Roxanne Wyss.
Triple Chocolate Cupcakes
1 cup flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup softened butter
2 eggs at room temp
2 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

In a small bowl whisk together flour cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside
In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer on medium high speed, beat the sugars and butter for 1 to 2 minutes or until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in melted chocolate and vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk making three additions of flour and two of buttermilk and beating on low speed until smooth. Gently stir in chocolate chips.
If you have a babycakes maker then you can just bake them like any other cupcake. If not then you should be able to bake at 325F until a toothpick or knife comes out clean. This is supposed to make 32 to 36 babycakes, even if I measure I don't seem to get the right number...

Caramel Frosting, from the same book as the cupcakes
1/4 cup butter softened
1/4 cup shortening
3 tbsp caramel syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tbsp milk (optional)

In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer on medium high speed, beat butter and shortening for 1 minute or until light and creamy. Beat in caramel syrup, vanilla and salt. Gradually beat in sugar until blended. Beat in milk if thinner frosting is desired.

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