Ian celebrated his birthday on Thursday. He isn't big on birthdays, but I went to Pisticci to surprise him with a treat anyway. I secretly baked yellow cupcakes (his favorite) the night before and frosted them with homemade chocolate frosting before leaving for the restaurant. His coworkers are such a great group. And since most of them have connections to the Manhattan School of Music, their rendition of "Happy Birthday" was one of the most amazing ones I've heard (in at least six-part harmony!).
The frosting was fantastic...it tastes a million times better than the stuff you get in a tub at the supermarket. And it's quite simple. Try this:
modified from the America's Test Kitchens Family Baking Book recipe
(makes enough to cover 24 cupcakes or a 9" x 13" sheet cake)
8 oz. chocolate, finely chopped (I used 3 oz. unsweetened and 5 oz. bittersweet)
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 Tbl. light corn syrup
1/8 tsp. salt
1 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 sticks butter, softened and cut into chunks
1. In a small saucepan, bring the cream, corn syrup, and salt to a boil, whisking often. Once boiling, remove from heat.
2. Whisk the chocolate into the cream mixture and stir until smooth.
3. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed for about 30 seconds. With the beaters still running, gradually add the butter until the mixture looks like pudding, about 2 minutes.
4. Transfer to a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and put in the freezer. Stir the mixture every 10 minutes until the mixture reaches a smooth, thick, spreadable consistency; about 30 minutes.
5. Frost away.
Notes: I had just a dozen cupcakes, so I put the remaining frosting back in the freezer. So far, so good. We used some of it last night as the flavoring for hot chocolate. It was absolutely delicious. So give that a go too.
Do you have a go-to birthday dessert recipe? What is it?