The day after the Superbowl is always a sad one for me, because it means that football is over until the fall. This means that I will no longer have an excuse to drink beer and eat badly on a Sunday morning (at least until I find a new excuse, that is). The funny thing is that while I would watch a game on occasion with friends, I was never really into football until I met Dr. Fiance. She has slowly but surely converted me into a fan. I always say that she got me hooked with the beer and hotwings, and the actual football appreciation came later. Of course, while she was convincing me to watch football, I was convincing her to give up being a vegetarian, so it all worked out in the end.
We had a number of invitations to superbowl parties this year and it was a very tough decision deciding where to go. We ended up opting for a party that our neighbors threw for the simple fact that we could walk home afterwards. We ended up having a great time and we ate our weight in ribs and deep fried pickles washed down with home brew beer. My contribution was a tasty buffalo chicken stromboli thing, which was delicious. However, my amateur pizza dough/stromboli making skillz resulted in a quite ugly end product (lets just say explosion of taste was literal in this case), so I’ll spare you pictures. I promise to make a second attempt sometime soon and will share my recipe.
Dr. Fiance always wants to create some sort of incredibly ambitious theme dish for pretty much every party we go to. Her original idea for this year’s superbowl was to construct a cake in the shape of the Cowboy’s stadium complete with dome, the field, end zones, and players. However, after several discussions about the physics and architectural skills required for such a project, she scaled it back to chocolate cupcakes with Green Bay and Steeler’s themed icing. I helped out by baking the cake part while she was at work. Turns out I’ve never made cupcakes before. I know, right? I feel like I should have done this already at my age. Muffins? Yes. Cupcakes? No. Luckily for me there is a great local resource for all things cupcakes with a handy list of cupcake baking tips to help me out and they ended up being pretty good. I made kind of a hybrid recipe (see below) of several that I found around the interwebs. I used Hershey’s chocolate because I grew up a few miles from Hershey PA and have a lot of nostalgia for it even though some of the fancier chocolate would result in a richer flavor.
Dr. Fiance made butter cream icing and then she and a friend then proceeded to decorate them in Steelers and Packer’s colors. Since both of them were rooting for the Packers there ended up being considerably more Packers cupcakes, and the Steeler’s cupcakes featured little frowny faces, which was hilarious. Those frowny faces ended up being on actual Steeler’s faces later on that evening when they lost.
Our hosts made ribs, and another guest brought deep fried pickles so between that, the beer, the cupcakes and all of the other snacks I’m feeling very much in need of a salad today. Can it be June please so I can have some nice fresh local lettuce?
Basic Chocolate Cupcake Recipe
Who doesn’t like cupcakes? This quick, simple and easy recipe is perfect for any occasion. The icing makes all the difference of course – you can choose whatever you want to top them with!
1/2 cup Hershey’s cocoa powder
1 cup boiling hot water
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 375F. Lightly butter, or line 16 muffin cups with paper liners. I made mini cupcakes with this recipe and it yielded 46 of ‘em.
In a small bowl dissolve the cocoa powder in the boiling water and stir until all the lumps are gone. You can either do this in advance and let it cool down to room temperature, or pop the bowl in the freezer to cool while you’re doing the next step. Don’t forget to get it out in a few minutes – you want the chocolate to be at room temp, not cold.
Cream the butter and sugar using a mixer or a whisk until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and the vanilla, then beat until smooth. Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt. This can be mixed together in another bowl ahead of time if you find that easier than sifting directly into the bowl. Add the cooled chocolate mixture and stir until you have a smooth batter.
Fill each muffin cup about two-thirds full with batter. For full sized cupcakes bake for about 16-20 minutes or set and springy to the touch. For mini cupcakes baking time is only around 10 minutes. A toothpick should come out clean. Remove the cupcakes from the oven and allow them to cool on a rack. Once completely cool top them with your favorite icing.