I know everyone else wants June 21 to be the first days of summer…but I think of it as a farewell to spring. Not that I love spring or anything, but I just really don’t like summer. (For everyone with a vision of beaches dancing in their heads, I now want you to think about walking 3 miles in business attire every day. I also want you to think about how you didn’t actually do all the pushups you intended to do, so you don’t look any better in your summer outfits this summer than you did last summer.)
Anyways – to say farewell to the cool(er) days of spring (and to accommodate the busy schedules of our socializing compatriots), I had a little weekday dinner with some lovely friends who were brave enough to try whatever the heck I wanted to serve and nice enough to bring some really delicious beer.
Goodbye Spring Dinner Menu
–Apricot Chicken over Ginger Rice
-Summer cupcakes: Chocolate cupcakes with fresh berries
Starting with your favorite chocolate cake base (homemade or from a box, whatever suits you), whip up a batch of mini-cupcakes. Mini-cupcakes are best since it allows you to stack more berries on top…without making the desserts so large that no one can bite them. Plus, as I’ve pointed out before, where a girl won’t eat a full cupcake, she’ll eat a mini-cupcake or two since they’re small.
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 pint fresh berries of your choice (Raspberries and blackberries are lovely)
And if you’re feeling fancy:
3 oz. chocolate
1/2 Tbs. butter
If you’re doing the fancy version, first melt the chocolate and butter, blending well and being careful not to burn or otherwise destroy the chocolate. Spread this nice, shiny mixture on top of each cupcake and let it cool. It doesn’t need to be pretty, since you’re just going to cover it up with whipped cream.
In a large bowl using a handmixer, or in the bowl of your large mixer using the whisk attachment, combine whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla. Whip the cream until it becomes fluffy. Be careful not to over-blend, or you’ll make butter. The amount of time needed will vary largely based on the tool you’re using.
Scoop the whipped cream into a large ziploc bag, close the top, then cut off one corner of the bag to make a handy piping bag. (If you have a piping bag, go ahead and use that.) Pipe the whipped cream onto each cupcake, putting enough on to allow the berries to stick to something.
Top with as many berries as will fit on the top of each cupcake.
[Ok, ok, it’s not really a recipe – you know how to do all this stuff already – but maybe you just needed a new idea for an easy summer dessert that looks much more elegant than the effort warrants.]