4th of July

I’m house sitting for Shane’s parents over this long holiday weekend and have to say, it’s been quite a nice little vacation. I’ve been here since Wednesday actually, but Shane just joined me yesterday for the remainder of the weekend.

Things I’m loving:

Pretending to be a pet owner for a few days
Daisuke

A nearly empty beach on an early weekend morning
4th of July

A newly-renovated kitchen (and of course I had to make a loaf of bread to test the “bread proof” function on the oven)

A line of boats gently rocking in the waves
4th of July

Hydrangeas (seriously, we need to look into planting these at our house)
IMG_3064

The smell of the ocean and the sound of the waves crashing on the rocks
4th of July

Festive sprinkles on cupcakes!
cupcakes

You didn’t think I could let the weekend pass without sharing at least one treat, did you? :)

cupcakes

These are the famous one bowl cupcakes for two from Jessica over at How Sweet It Is. Even though I generally scale back cupcake recipes, I’ve never taken it quite this far. You can whip these up in less than 30 minutes, and best of all, no leftovers sitting around to test your willpower. You can find the recipe here on her blog. My only note is that the baking time for my cupcakes was closer to 15 minutes.

Though it certainly would have fit the red, white and blue theme of this holiday weekend to make a white frosting for the cupcakes, I’ve been itching to make this chocolate sour cream frosting forever so it won out over vanilla. I love the simplicity of this recipe, and for a serious chocolate lover, it’s definitely among the best frostings I’ve made. The chocolate flavor is intense – Shane really loved it. I may have been a bit heavy-handed with the huge dollop of frosting on my cupcake – the frosting is so rich I’d have preferred a little less. The consistency was perfect for piping, and would be equally suitable for use on a layer cake I think.

Hope you’re all enjoying your weekends too!

Chocolate Frosting
from Martha Stewart (via The Way the Cookie Crumbles)

14 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
9 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups (12 oz) confectioners’ sugar
6 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
pinch of salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sour cream

Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and heat in 30 second intervals at 50% power, stirring in between each interval, until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Set aside to cool.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Sift in half of the confectioners’ sugar, half of the cocoa powder and the salt. Beat until combined, then sift in the remaining confectioner’s sugar and cocoa powder, and beat until incorporated. Add the melted chocolate and then the sour cream, beating until the frosting is smooth and creamy.