When Corina, the birthday girl at our apartment this weekend, saw the abstract art detailing atop these mint chocolate chip brownie cupcakes with their substantial layer of dark, intensely-mint-chocolaty ganache frosting, she exclaimed, "Pollock! I love it!"
Ahh, typical Corina -- giving me far too much credit, and herself too little. You see, Corina is a marvelous artist, impressive modern pieces being her favorite to paint. So it was Corina's artwork, not Mr. Jackson's, that served as my inspiration for her cupcakes' abstract appearance. That she would pay me such a compliment, overlooking the fact that her own artistic talents may have influenced the aesthetic of her birthday confection, is just the genuinely un-self-absorbed perfectly lovely soul Corina is.
The cupcakes themselves were made with a brownie recipe that uses one of my favorite techniques for producing properly decadent slices of chocolate heaven - sticking them into the freezer directly after their emergence from the oven. I'm of the "if you want chocolate cake, make chocolate cake" opinion when comes to brownies, and doing this miraculously imparts the brownies with a rich fudginess usually only achieved by using a copious amount of eggs.
As for the chocolate mint frosting . . . well, I can only give approximations here. Put about a half cup of milk (I use skim) on the stove, wait till it starts to bubble around the edges. Turn off the heat and add almost an entire box of "After Eight" mints. Let sit for five minutes, then stir till smooth. Cool for ten minutes before adding at least a half cup of cocoa and enough powdered sugar to produce your desired consistency . . . voila! Ah well, at least it was an attempt at a recipe.
Here Kasey and Marilyn serve up a Guatemalan-style (Corina's homeland) feast to the starving rest of us.
Here's Corina, keeping tradition alive . . . in Guatemala, you get cake and frosting smashed onto your face when it's your birthday.
Can you believe Corina didn't think I would concoct any cake creation for her birthday?! (The cupcakes were made in secret and hidden away for the ultimate surprise factor). This was what she whipped up (using a mix, gasp, the sacrilege!) to ensure she'd have something to put candles on. Darling girl, she loved even this.