I wanted the picture on this page today to be somewhat romantic and set the tone for the rest of the day. I guess a more appropriate ring would be "things happen."
I was trying out a new recipe for the chocolate cupcakes you see splattered on my counter. As I tried to get the little darlings out of the pan with a light tap and then a harder one, they finally came out, but not in a way that I could pick them up and frost them.
What to do? It was a little after 9 a.m., and the photographer was coming at 10. Not enough time to make another batch and have them cool and frosted before he got here. Some quick thinking and a flashback to a recipe I had recently seen in a magazine brings us to the finished product, a chocolate trifle.
I had also made a chocolate mousse, but after it set up, I didn't like the consistency and texture of that, either.
When it comes to desserts, I'm picky. The calories have to be worth the splurge.
Anyway I wanted to share that picture and story with you so you know that, just like everyone, I've had my share of cooking disasters - some worse than others. All you can do is learn from them and try and make the best of what you do end up with.
I'll leave you with this quote for Valentine's Day.
"Love is like a mountain, hard to climb, but once you get to the top, the view is beautiful." - Tuttle
The recipe I'm going to share with you is a cupcake recipe that I have made a few times; they are quite good. This recipe will also make one 8-inch round cake.
I think the best frosting for these is a chocolate ganache. It's rich, but not too sweet.
Chocolate Cupcakes with Ganache Frosting
3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup sour cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper liners. Sift together flour, cocoa and baking powder; set aside. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition; add vanilla.
With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the sour cream and beginning and ending with the flour. Divide batter among cups. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool.
8 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate (chopped into small pieces)
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
Place chocolate in stainless-steel or glass bowl. Bring cream to just a boil in a small saucepan then pour over chocolate. Whisk together until chocolate is melted. Let cool and keep whisking; it will thicken as it cools. Frost cupcakes; frosting will set when completely cooled.
And if by any chance you have a cake or cupcake disaster, just put the cake pieces in a wine glass (for individual) or see-through bowl layered with whipped cream, some chocolate syrup or sauce and a few chocolate shavings. Repeat the process, and you'll have a wonderful chocolate trifle.
• Linda Marrone has been a Carson City resident since 1973, and together with her husband, Ralph, formerly operated Marrone's Restaurant in Carson City and Somethin's Cookin' Catering.