Tuesday, January 1, 2013

More Trashy than Classy

We have these friends who we have known forever. If forever means like 18 years. Our kids were kids together and Renee and I co-taught a preschool class together back in the day. We love them. They are family for us. Much of the year we struggle to find time to be together but some how magically we always get together on New Year's Eve. This year was no exception.

Of course food is always a critical part of our evening, that and grown-up beverages. So last night we decided to stick to appetizers. We had shrimp and cocktail sauce, baked crab cakes and remoulade, crackers,, cream cheese and pepper jelly, a hot reuben dip with pumpernickel bread and pretzels, a buttery olive bread, cocktail smokies, and chips and onion dip. It was a magnificent spread and we gorged while we danced to the very most funkiest mix tape made for Renee by her #1 Most Funky Son and  played Sequence. I should say, they wiped the floor with us in a game of Sequence. All the while we drank a delicious concoction of Malibu, pine orange banana juice, and pineapple soda. Renee even found us straws with little umbrellas. It was a perfect Florida winter evening and it culminated in champagne sipped by the glow of the Xmas lights wrapped around the palm trees out where we wore blankets around the fire pit. Perfection.

Wanting to make something special for the night, I decided to make these "Taste No Evil" cupcakes. The guys thought the name was dumb and did not get the connection but all the smart girls, and by that I mean me and Renee got it. The cupcakes are a VERY dark chocolate cake spiked with Kahlua and the frosting is a light, creamy chocolate- banana. It is the world's easiest and I start as usual with a box mix. I make it according to the directions but I substitute 1/3 cup of Kahlua for the same portion of the water. I bake the cupcakes the very least amount necessary to keep them from drying out on the edges. I think this is a huge reason so many cupcakes are dry and tasteless. I let the cupcakes cool and in fact I took the cupcakes to the party unfrosted  so I could really pile on the frosting without worrying about crushing the tops.

For the frosting I mix the following in my Kitchen Aid until light and fluffy-

1 room temp bar of cream cheese
1 stick of room temp butter

Then I add-
2 cups of powdered sugar
2 tsp good vanilla

Mix more and then I add the secret ingredient-
1 jar of World Market Chocolate Banana spread

Mix it together until you decide it is fluffy enough.

Next I put it all in a ziploc bag. I use the bag like a pastry bag by snipping off the corner and frosting the cupcakes using it.

 As you can see, my "pastry bag" exploded and I was forced to lick the delicious creamy goodness from my fingers. Pity. The cupcakes are best eaten at room temperature but must be kept in the fridge due to the insane amount of dairy in them.
Don't be afraid to doctor box mixes. I have it on very good authority that a local bakery begins all it's specialty cakes from a box mix. Since baking in not my best thing, I just keep the liquid, oil to egg ratio as directed on the box but substitute many different things for the liquids or oils. I'd love to hear how you doctor mixes. Please consider sharing your secret in the comments below. And Happy New Year!