The rose cupcakes contain rose water, an ingredient that can also be used in baklava (a delicious Greek dessert with honey and nuts). The rose petals themselves are apparently edible, but I'm not sure about commercially grown roses. We chose this color because it was very vibrant and we thought it would give the cupcakes a nice "pop" of extra color.
The cupcakes themselves cooked up very nicely. As you can see, the chocolate ones rose more than the rose-flavored ones. The rose-flavored ones contained a stick of butter split between them. The chocolate ones, on the other hand, called for half as much. We substituted apple sauce for the butter in the chocolate ones to cut out some fat.
For chocolate, it's hard to beat Ghirardelli. The recipe for the frosting of the devil's food cupcakes called for 8 ounces of semisweet, but I thought it would be better to use 4 ounces of semisweet and 4 ounces of bittersweet (60% cacao).
To chop the chocolate, it is easiest to use a serrated knife and let the teeth press down into the chocolate. No need to saw back and forth. Just press the knife through the chocolate at about 1/2 inch intervals to break up the chocolate into small pieces.
The easiest way to make a ganache or chocolate icing is to pour boiling cream over chopped chocolate. Bring the cream (and in this case cream with some salt and light corn syrup mixed in) to a full boil and pour it into a bowl containing the chopped chocolate. Allow this to sit for about 1 minute to start softening the chocolate. Then start mixing it together with a spatula or wooden spoon. Start with small circles in the center of the mixture and slowly work your way outward. Your overall goal is a rich, dark sauce with a smooth consistency. If you see small chocolate bits still floating around, keep stirring to make a full emulsion.
The rose cupcakes have some rose water in the cupcake and a lot more in the icing (made with confectioners' sugar and milk). On top are mostly rose petals and raspberries. the cupcakes only come up about 3/4 of the way up the cup, leaving room for the icing to sit.
The devil's food cupcakes are topped with a decent layer of the ganache. Then an edible flower dusted with sugar is placed on top for extra elegance.
This is the final product with some extra showy presentation thanks to Christian. These cupcakes came out quite nicely and they tasted as nice as they look. If you want a fun way to spend an afternoon, plan out a meal/dessert with a friend and carry it out. It was fun to balance the science of baking with the art of food presentation.