I haven't mentioned it here before, but much of what I make on this blog, especially desserts, are donated to my local soup kitchen, to help feed the hungry in my community.
I am constantly making food, testing recipes and trying out new ones....there is just no way my family could eat it all. I also have this urge to feed people, I always have. If you step into my house, you just might leave with a cake. A consequence of my friendship.
Anyway, I usually drop things off at the soup kitchen early in the afternoon. Today was a little different, I had so much to do, not that that's unusual. At 3:30 I found myself with dozens of these amazing Hot Chocolate Cupcakes made up earlier in the day. The kids enjoyed them as an afternoon snack and then I thought...we can't eat all of these.
We hopped in the car and made the trek over to the church that runs the local soup kitchen, many volunteers were busily cooking dinner that is served four nights a week, beginning at 4 PM. When we drove up, the line was already lengthy, full of families waiting to receive a warm evening meal. As I said before, I'm usually there early and never see the many faces that make this soup kitchen a necessity. The faces from all walks of life who are currently sharing a common social condition....hunger.
Once out of the car, I have to admit I was a little taken aback by the many, many children waiting to be fed. Many of them very little, waiting with their mothers, who were there early to make sure their kids had a meal for the night.
As we walked towards the door with these fancy cupcakes, at least fancier than what is normally served at a soup kitchen, I could feel the excitement from the children in line. I heard some say, "Oh Mommy, can we have those first, we haven't had something good in so long, and there is even a piece of candy on them! Oh please Mommy, make sure we get one."
Honestly, I could have collapsed just hearing the words. All I could think of was the plethora of food at home, the food we eat and all that gets wasted. It made me ill to think of all these people who do without daily. In fact I was surprised that so many children go hungry right in my community. What about WIC programs?
I always thought of soup kitchens as feeding older, homeless people. But that was not the case, the people there today, looked just like you and me. I was shocked. Even my kids were surprised. It shocked them at how excited people were to receive cupcakes, something they have never thought twice about having.
I guess my point is to hopefully inspire some of you to seek out a local soup kitchen in your community. If you are a food blogger, I know you are cooking up large amounts of food that might not get eaten. Try donating some of it to a soup kitchen in your neighborhood. You have no idea how rewarding it can be.
And by the way, these cupcakes are amazing. Just the look of them puts a twinkle in the eyes of the children you prepared them for.
Hot Chocolate Cupcakes
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 Tablespoons unsalted, butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup solid vegetable shortening
2 Tablespoons plus teaspoons milk or water
1-1/4 cups mini marshmallows
4 candy canes
Heat oven to 350o F. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.
In a medium-size bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
On a large bowl, with mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and sugar until smooth and creamy, 2 minutes. Beat in eggs and vanilla until fluffy, 1 minute. On low speed, beat in flour mixture alternately with milk. Fill each cupcake liner two-thirds full.
Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean. Remove cupcakes from pan to wire rack; let cool.
For the topping, with a mixer on low-speed, beat confectioners' sugar, shortening and milk until smooth. Spread over cupcakes and top with mini marshmallows and a piece of candy cane.
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