I baked my own birthday cake.

Because I wanted to. It was actually cupcakes, and they were delicious. They were Brownie Batter Chocolate Fudge cupcakes, and they were perfect. The frosting… uh, I couldn’t stop eating it.

I make no claims that this recipe is, in any way, healthy. In fact, BFF Cara had to convince me that it was ok to make it, because I will NEVER be able to justify making it again. It literally took my 30th birthday for this recipe to happen, and it may never happen again. But the frosting.

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I’m clearly not a decorator. 

I strayed from the recipe a bit in method, because that’s what I do. I used all of the proper ingredients (except I COMPLETELY forgot the mini chocolate chips in the cupcakes), I just assembled them a little bit differently than suggested. But first, brownie balls.

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They started out so pretty and round. Also, terrible kitchen lighting.

These delicious little balls of brownie goodness are scooped, frozen, and the smooshed in the middle of the cupcake batter before baking to create the brownie batter center. But… the amount the recipe says it makes (36) is not correct. It can’t be. I even went out and bought a 1.5 tablespoon scoop for this recipe (happy birthday to meee!), and I couldn’t make it happen. After just a couple brownie balls, I could tell I wasn’t going to get 36. So, I shot for balls that were about a tablespoon, and had to scrounge and borrow from other balls at the end to get to 30. Seeing as this part of the recipe mostly comes from a pre-packaged cake mix, I have no idea how the author made 36 brownie balls using a 1.5 tablespoon scoop. (So, she does say “about” 1.5 tbsp, but I looked, and that’s the standard measurement for that size of cookie dough scoop. I’m running on the assumption she has the standard.)

The next morning, while the brownie balls were still freezer-ing, I finished the cupcakes. The batter was tasty, but I have to admit, at this point I still wasn’t convinced. I could taste the Jell-O and cake mix flavors.

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I have the prettiest Kitchenaid. 

But I persevered. Here is where I strayed momentarily. The recipe says to fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full, then press the brownie ball in the middle and bake. With it all uncovered and exposed! I wanted my brownie ball enveloped in cupcake, so that’s what I did. I used my 1.5 tbsp scoop, filled them halfway, added brownie balls, and put another half scoop on top. I also used a bit less batter than would have been 2/3 because I didn’t want my cupcakes expanding all over the place like hers did in her photos. I’m a neat freak, apparently (not).

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These baked up beautifully, and I was so pleased with the results.

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For about five minutes. Then, as they cooled, they caved. There were giant caverns in the middle of my beautiful cupcakes.

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In hindsight, this makes perfect sense. The brownie balls are taken from the freezer and put directly into the cupcake batter, then into the oven. Of course, they’re not going to cook all the way from frozen, thus creating the delicious, brownie batter center. And, because they’re still borderline batter when the cupcake outside is cooked through, they weren’t going to hold the structure of the cupcake. So, for the next pan, I did them the way the recipe suggested.

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Turns out I shouldn’t have been worried about getting to 30 brownie balls. I only had enough batter for 28 cupcakes (perhaps because it was missing the mini chocolate chips). The two lonely brownie balls got baked anyway.

This method yielded similarly sinking results, and weren’t as pretty.

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They were already starting to cave!

In the end, there was no difference in taste, and I figured I’d just fill in the caverns with frosting. Oh, the frosting…

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I wish I’d taken more photos than just of the butter.

Why yes, that is 4 STICKS OF BUTTER in this frosting! And yes, I then added sugar, corn syrup, dark cocoa powder, and melted chocolate chips! And yes, it’s heavenly. It’s the best frosting I’ve ever eaten, hands down. Which makes me SUPER happy that I only used about half of it to frost the cupcakes.

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LEFTOVERS!

It’s rich, so I used restraint when frosting. Also, I like a good mix of cake-to-frosting in a cupcake, so I was trying to keep it in check. In truth, I piped some frosting into my mouth when I was done, and I think the cupcakes would have been fine with a little bit more. But, they were just fine without it, too. They were deliciously amazing, with a gooey brownie center, slightly crunchy top, and the frosting. The frosting really made these cupcakes.

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So, so worth it.

Let me end by saying that this birthday was awesome. I have made some amazing friends in the last few years, and I am really so, so lucky to have done so. They and Josh made me feel so special and loved, and really, that’s all a girl can ask for as she enters a new decade. So, thank you. All of you. You know who you are. ♥

 

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