I told him stories at bedtime, made him laugh during the day with faces and expressions that only we could read, filled up his stockings with little presents during Christmas Eve and made him cry when he played with my dolls.
We walked together a zillion roads, his fingers tightly clutching mine. Till one day he became the ‘cool guy’. Cool guys don’t hold hands. He morphed into a teenager. Fiercely independent..with an understanding of the world that was so rare of his age..who kept a lot to himself but was always ready to offer a lending a hand. Under the pretext of doing homework we spent many afternoons together, sharing secrets, cracking jokes, hiding behind windows and spraying water on innocent passersby and sneaking into the kitchen to do the ‘great taste test’ for dishes that were meant to be served to guests. Needless to say there were other days when we drove each other crazy and fought over every little thing under the sun. My heart aches to think that those moments can never come back.
Before we realised, the spirited teenager grew into a handsome man with a heart of gold. The responsible son, the doting brother…wise, quick witted, generous, loving…and set out to conquer the world. He made our hearts swell up with pride as he went on achieving milestones. He found himself a partner, equally spirited and loving. A beautiful addition to the family.
A simple chocolate cupcake made extra chocolaty with the addition of chocolate chips. The frosting is gorgeous.
I did not bake a cake as he was not around to eat it. My brother lives on the other side of the world where the sun sets as it rises here in Sydney. Perhaps he will be here on one of his birthdays to perform the ‘great taste test’ with me.
But our hearts are ever so close and securely fastened with a bond called family. A bond that celebrates childhood, big dreams, secrets and adventures. A bond that lives outside the touch of time.
A bond unique to a Big Sister and her Little Brother.
Double Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Fudge Frosting (adapted with a small variation from Joy of Baking)
1/2 cup (50 gms) dutch processed cocoa powder
1 cup (240 ml) boiling water
11/3 cups (175 gms) all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup (113 gms) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup (200 gms) granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 190 degrees C. Lightly butter, or line 16 muffin cups with paper liners.
In a small bowl stir until smooth the boiling water and cocoa powder. let cool to room temperature. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and chocolate chips.
Then in the bowl of your electric mixer or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at time, beating until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and beat only until incorporated. Then add the cooled cocoa mixture and stir until smooth.
Fill each muffin cup about two-thirds full with batter and bake for about 16-20 minutes or until risen, springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. (Do not over bake or the cupcakes will come out dry). Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, frost with icing. You can either spread the frosting on the cupcakes with a small spatula or pipe lovely swirls.
These cupcakes are best the day they are made but can be stored for a few days.
Chocolate Fudge Frosting
120 gms unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup (150 gms) unsalted butter, room temperature
11/3 cups (160 gms) icing sugar sifted
11/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until smooth and creamy(about 1 min). Add the sugar and beat until it is light and fluffy(about 2 min). Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the chocolate and beat on low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until frosting is smooth and glossy (about 2-3 min).