We celebrated Baby Benjamin's First Birthday last night. His initials are B.B. so his lovely mommy had a "B" themed party. I had the pleasure of bringing, "something desserty" and brownies were the only thing that came to mind. Since then, I thought of Boston Cream Pie, Baked Alaska, blondies and butterscotch pudding but none of them felt special enough for this little guy. Isn't he adorable?
So Brownie Topped Cupcakes came to be. I'd love to be able to credit the idea to someone but for the life of me I can't locate it. This week I've read Cake Love, Cookies, Cakes and Bars, Martha Stewart Cupcakes and World Wide Ward Cookbook (we're not LDS, but I love the recipes) as well as a bushel of food blogs. I think it all smooshed into a dessert creating slurry and out popped these lovelies. Best part. Their easy and as customizable as a blank sheet of paper (which you'll need, by the way).
Step One: Bake Brownies, allow to cool and then cut out your shapes. I chose hearts:
Step Two: Print out what you want to stencil on your brownies. I printed a variety of B's as I wasn't sure which would be most legible. Hold your cookie cutter over the letters to see what fits and trace around cutter with a pencil.
Step Three: Cut out your letters with an exacto. It's much easier to cut small pieces from a large sheet of paper so cut out the B's and then the hearts. If you cut the hearts first there is less to hold on to and the paper slides around.
Step Four: Set stencil on brownie and sprinkle powdered sugar (icing sugar/confectioners sugar) through a small sieve by tapping it.
You'll end up with something like this:
Cute, but I like a border. So take the stencil and cut it smaller. Use straight scissors for a plain "frame" around your brownie or use decorative scissors for something more whimsical. I also used two different fonts for variety; hate to be too matchy-matchy.
Step 5: Make Cupcakes. My favorite recipe is Vanilla Cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. I went with vanilla because not everyone lets their toddlers have chocolate and I wanted to share something Benjamin could have too - if he wanted them.
Step Six: Make your favorite frosting. I made cream cheese frosting with real vanilla beans seeds. It was delicious, but a little dirty looking. I'll have to keep that in mind.
Frost the cupcakes once they're completely cool. I know the trend right now is towers of icing but we like a nice moderate amount. I also prefer swirling mine to piping it - there's a casualness to it that makes me feel like you can have cupcakes everyday... scary thought :-)
Step Seven: Plop the stenciled brownies a top each cupcake. Way quicker than laborious decorating and you get two desserts in one. Yay!
Here's what they looked like on the tray:
And this is my separate plate for people who want to skip the chocolate or the extra calories:
(Nobody opted for the brownie-less ones. I'm not at all surprised)
Thanks for hanging out with me through this tutorial. I know it looks long, but I specifically made these because I was having a bad mobility, heavy pain day and I didn't want to try anything too taxing. I know you can tackle these without breaking a sweat.
Some cheats if you're short on time:
* Buy cupcakes and frost them yourself.
* Use a boxed cake mix
* Use canned store-bought frosting
* Buy brownie bites that come decorated and pipe on a monogram with store-bought frosting pens