This weekend is a colleague's birthday, so I decided to bake something special to treat everyone. I didn't do anything special or fancy to this recipe; just decided to follow it directly and the cupcakes came out beautifully. I frosted it with a regular cream cheese frosting which I flavored with raspberry extract.

The dark chocolate cake came out very fluffy and moist. The chocolate taste is not so bitter that you would cringe; in fact, the slight bitterness is a nice contrast to the sweet cream cheese frosting.

I am definitely getting better at frosting, eh?

The biggest problem is that I baked 30 cupcakes and it's gonna be a real burden to get to work tomorrow! Let's hope that it really doesn't rain early in the morning...

Dark Chocolate Cake (adapted to cupcakes, makes about 30)

2 cups boiling water
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, room temperature
2 1/4 cups white sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease three 9" round cake pans. I lined muffin tins with cupcake liners. In a medium bowl, pour boiling water over cocoa and whisk until smooth. Let mixture cool. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla. Add the flour mixture alternately with the cocoa mixture. Spread batter evenly between the 3 prepared pans. I filled the cupcake liners up to half-way full.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes. I baked the cupcakes for about 20 minutes, until they puffed up all nice and cute! Allow to cool.

Cream Cheese Frosting

I used a basic cream cheese frosting (which just means that I eyeballed everything...)

I mixed the following together until they were the right consistency:
  • cream cheese
  • confectioner's sugar
  • butter
  • heavy cream
  • red food coloring
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This week's SMS recipe is extra special because it was picked by Melissa herself. You can see her post and the recipe at the SMS blog here.

I have to say, I've been quite busy lately, thanks to the start of summer classes. In fact, I have a midterm tomorrow and yet I procrastinated by baking today *hangs head in shame*. What can I say... I am just the queen of last minute cramming.

I have to say though, that this recipe couldn't have come on a better week (perhaps finals week, but that's besides the point). I whipped up the cookie batter in less than 30 minutes and baking was a breeze. I was too lazy to use my real oven (because when it's not doing it's real job baking, it's acting as storage for my pots and pans, which I have to drag out each time I'm baking) so I used the small toaster oven. Which is also why my cookies are not round but square since they spread in all kinds of directions. But it gives them character and a homemade quality, don't you think? :)

I also did not use toasted almonds as suggested, but added white chocolate, which gave it some sweetness since I used unsweetened chocolate instead of semisweet chocolate. Using unsweetened chocolate gave the cookies a heavenly smell of chocolate without the super sweetness of chocolate chips.
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I'm sad. This week's Sweet Melissa Sunday recipe was picked by Jaime and hers came out so beautifully that it makes me even more sad because mine were a big flop. Go visit her page for her wonderful pics and also the full recipe. I hope I can try this again one of these days.

Memorial Weekend we went on a foodie trip to Los Angeles. Well, we were really there for a wedding, but will take any chance we can get to eat. You see, LA has some of the best Taiwanese food this side of the world. And hubby and I were super duper excited not to have to fly 16+ hours to get some of our faves.

And now, some of our food pics (unfortunately, some things were consumed too fast to whip out my camera... yes we're fatties.)

scallion pancakes with egg

porkchop noodle soup @ yi mei

dungeoness crab @ redondo beach

clams sauteed with basil

3 cup chicken (san bei ji)

stinky tofu

taiwanese style calimari @ #1 sun taiwanese bbq

beef noodle soup @ yong he dou jiang

uh, what's a trip to the west coast without an in-n-out trip!

my fave - original double double

Of all these places, I wouldn't recommend the Pacific Fish Center. It's Korean style seafood, which is perfectly fine, but the ambiance and the value is just not there. I would try somewhere else if you were to be in the Redondo area. But all the other restaurants get two thumbs up!

Monterey Park, CA

Redondo Beach, CA

Rowland Heights, CA

San Gabriel, CA

Rosemead & Santa Ana locations
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