Livy has been asking for awhile now to have a picnic where all she eats are cupcakes. Good thing that’s all she requested, because I didn’t have the energy to make anything to go along with it! I whipped up a batch of double chocolate chip muffins from a recipe I found on Linda Lomelino’s blog, Call Me Cupcake (I highly recommend it). And then I topped it with some almond buttercream. In the end it was a great combination, I know, because Livy basically shoved the massive amount of frosting from three cupcakes immediately into her mouth, and kept asking for more. Then, not too unsurprisingly, as we were headed back down the trail to the car, she informed me that I made the cupcakes too sweet and that she in fact, had a stomach ache. Lesson learned? Probably not.
Ireland pretty much did the same thing, but my husband was going around behind her picking up the partially eaten cupcakes she kept dropping, so that she wouldn’t circle back to them. Have you ever photographed an 18 month old eating cupcakes? I personally don’t recommend it. It’s hard, and you’re basically enabling childhood obesity by shoving more and more whole cupcakes into tiny hands in order to some good shots before they devour them. I just tell myself it’s for the greater good, and keep on moving forward, knowing that later that evening I’m going to have a very hyper tiny tot on my hands.
Livy had a lot of fun setting this up though, she was telling stories all throughout the picnic to her little stuffed animal guests, about princesses and pigs, along with who knows what else, I’m pretty sure at one point trolls entered her story. But it was fun to see her imagination at work, and encouraging that was pretty much the goal here.
I should have included some behind the scene photos. It will give you a good glimpse at how this photoshoot was anything but smooth. In fact my husband, Max, was laughing 90% of the time watching me try and direct the girls. I have two great kids, and they take direction pretty well, but at the same time, they are both unbelievably stubborn and opinionated. I’m not trying to trick anyone into thinking that I have the most well behaved children, so we are keeping this 100% honest, and on my next posts with the kids, I’ll include a few of the photo gems I usually leave out of the blog posts 🙂
Double chocolate muffins with a smooth almond buttercream.
300 g all purpose flour
80 g cocoa powder
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
250 g granulated sugar
100 g butter, melted
1 cup milk
2 large eggs
150 g semisweet chocolate chips
16 tbsp. (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
Pinch of salt
3 tbsp. heavy cream
3½ – 4 c. powdered sugar
Heat the oven to 400F.
Prepare a cupcake pan with 12 muffin liners.
Mix flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in bowl, set aside.
Mix sugar, butter, milk and eggs in a large bowl.
Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
Stir in 3/4 of the chocolate, saving the rest for putting on the top of the muffins.
Fill the liners to almost completely full, then top with remaining chocolate (You may have enough batter for more muffins, so save some chocolate for the second batch as well).
Bake for 18 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean.
While the muffins are in the oven, prepare the buttercream. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine butter, vanilla extract, almond extract, and salt. Beat until fluffy (2-3 minutes).
With mixing speed on low, add heavy cream, then gradually add ½ c. powdered sugar at a time until the mixture becomes soft but firm enough to hold it’s shape.
Beat frosting for an additional 3 minutes until light and fluffy (if the consistency is too thick, add a little more cream and beat for 30 seconds more).
Pipe or spread onto cooled muffins. Add sprinkles if you’d like!