I'm not a big birthday party person, I'm usually content with a small family dinner or something similar. On the other hand, I was excited to bake something awesome for myself. A few people asked if Joe was going to make me cake and that honestly hadn't occurred to me, perhaps because one time Joe me pancakes that were curdled, undercooked and filled with kiwi slices.
He's gotten much better at baking since but I just enjoy doing it. I also found out around the same time that my pilates teacher was putting on a benefit for her dance company the day of my birthday. I decided to make something for her benefit that I could also use as my birthday dessert.
Joe gave me Hello, Cupcake! for Christmas last year and while I've flipped through it many times, I never had an occasion to make any of the cupcakes. A benefit and my birthday seemed like it warranted some special cupcakes so I looked through it again and decided on butterfly cupcakes. Basically, you pipe chocolate into the shape of a butterfly onto parchment paper and let them harden. Except its really hard and takes 900 hours.
I knew the butterflies would take forever so I started making them about a week before I baked the cupcakes. I traced butterfly outlines onto parchment paper, filled pipping bags with chocolate and then traced my outlines. Then I used colored chocolate to fill in the outline and used a chopstick to pull the outline into the wing for a swirly design.
I actually found this quite enjoyable and relaxing but I am odd that way. I spent quite a few nights happily pipping butterflies on the living room table. And I may or may not have been half nude and watching Project Runway at the time. Completely normal behavior.
Two days before my birthday, I made vanilla bean buttercream, which is pretty much the best thing you will ever put in your mouth. Joe came up with the ingenious idea of buying vanilla beans off of amazon.com and now we have loads of vanilla beans that I put in everything.
The day before I baked chocolate cupcakes. I've been searching for a good go to chocolate cake recipe and this one was pretty close. I thought it could be a tad more moist but baking them a little less might solve that. They would also be better with fancy cocoa powder, I just used Hershey's. AKA cocoa powder for college students.
The morning of my birthday, I whipped up the buttercream and frosted and decorated the cupcakes. Then I loaded them onto a cookie sheet and prayed that I wouldn't drop them. I may have murdered somebody if that had happened. Transporting was also difficult because it was still hot at that time so my poor chocolate butterflies began to wilt a bit in the car. I eventually settled on blasting the air conditioner and sacrificing bodily heat for the butterflies.
Everybody loved them but thought I was nuts for making chocolate butterflies. Can't win them all!
And because I am that crazy, I would make them again but maybe out of something more stable than chocolate. Like steel.
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