January 19, 2014

Sherlock Cupcakes

Lemon Scented Chocolate Cupcakes

Today marks the US premiere of Sherlock Series 3. HOOOOOOOOOOOOOORRRRRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, full disclosure, I've already seen tonight's episode. I just didn't want to take the chance of it getting spoiled. And I've really wanted to talk about it here, but I didn't want to be responsible for spoiling it for anyone else.

Still, I know many people will be watching it tonight for the first time, so I made cupcakes to celebrate. We've been waiting two years; we deserve it.
I originally found this recipe on 221 Baking Geeks and fell in love with the all the thought behind the flavor combination. It's complicated, unexpected, maybe a bit incomprehensible, but it somehow works and you fall head over heels for it, exactly like a certain someone from a certain show, based on a certain book.

The combination of lemon and chocolate doesn't seem like it should work on paper, but like Holmes and Watson, it ends up being a partnership for the ages. The cake itself is soft and fluffy, with a light texture and a surprisingly tasty flavor.

It also contains a 7% Coke solution, which tickles me.

(Coca Cola, not the fun stuff.) (I don't know if it's actually 7%, but we'll just pretend it is, okay?)
The original cupcakes were decorated with chocolate curls, for obvious reasons (as a certain someone has the most delicious dark curls) but I went with decorations a little more simple and more obvious. I had these black and white damask baking cups that reminded me a bit of the wallpaper from the show. Then, instead of the chocolate lemon frosting, I used my basic buttercream, flavored with a little lemon juice and extract to give myself a blank canvas. I mixed up a small batch of yellow royal icing, I had a tube of black gel icing, and I went to town.

Okay, I didn't really go to town, but with my general lack of decorating skills, I think it came out swell. Even if the B does look a little like an 8.
If anyone wants to talk about The Empty Hearse, drop me a line. I've been bursting to talk to someone about it.

Lemon Scented Chocolate Cupcakes
Yield: 12 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
100 ml Coke (or other cola)*
1 cup flour
1½ tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
¾ cup sugar
1 egg
40 ml milk*
½ tsp. vanilla extract
Zest of 1 lemon

For the frosting:
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
¼ cup solid white vegetable shortening (Crisco)**
2 cups powdered sugar
Approx. 1 tsp. lemon juice (add to taste)
½ tsp. vanilla extract
Splash of lemon extract
Approx. 1 tbsp. milk

For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a saucepan over low heat (or in the microwave), melt the butter. Remove from heat and stir in the cola. Allow to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl add the sugar, egg, milk, vanilla, and lemon zest, mixing until the sugar is fully dissolved. Whisk in the butter mixture until fully incorporated (if the butter is still warm, add it slowly and whisk constantly to avoid cooking the egg). Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until the batter is smooth.

Divide the batter equally between 12 baking cups and bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large mixing bowl with electric beaters, beat the butter and shortening on low speed. Gradually add the powdered sugar. Add the lemon juice, both extracts, and just enough milk to make it smooth. Gradually increase the speed to high and whip until smooth and fluffy.

*When converting the recipe from metric to US measurements, I kept the liquids in milliliters because most liquid measuring cups do have metric measurements, and the conversions were coming out wonky

**Feel free to use all butter; however the lemon juice did seem to make it a little on the grainy side without the shortening

Cupcake recipe adapted from 221 Baking Geeks. Frosting recipe by Kim