Saturday, January 9, 2010

Chocolate Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

Cupcakes are fun! They're all the yummy goodness of cake, but in your own personal, "I don't have to share" size. I have a friend who had a birthday this past week and we're all getting ready to celebrate so I thought I'd make some cupcakes to take to the party. After asking the guest of honor their flavor choice, I hunted down this recipe for Chocolate Cupcakes on a new favorite website, Joy of Baking. It doesn't have any "eye of newt" ingredients, so it's fairly easy to make (some may struggle to find the dutch processed cocoa, but I found mine at Whole Foods and I know in my hometown in CA they sell it at Raley's).

As with every new recipe I normally follow the recipe as is the first time. The batter came together a lot like cookie dough actually. It wasn't until I added the cocoa mixture that I thought it was actually going to work.

The first batch I made I think I only used 1/2 cup water in with the cocoa so it was still pretty thick (oops!). The second batch I made sure to use the full cup, I think it turned out a bit better (so follow the recipe!).

I filled the cups up probably a little more than recommended because I like when my cupcake has a top and you can't really see the cup from the top of the cake. Into the oven they went!

Once out of the oven, since I'd not tried this recipe before, I decided to taste one...just in case! I liked both versions with these notes: The first batch is more dense, a tad dry but still really good, not quite as sweet. They also remind me of the chocolate muffins you get at Costco. The second batch (as the recipe is written) is true cupcake form. Shiny, fluffy, sweet (but not overly so) and chocolate-forward in the flavor. Both are really good. I preferred the one with the recipe as written, but I also love sweets. I think that those that don't like overly sweet things would love the first batch. (First batch on left, Second batch on right in photo below.)

Of course, what is a cupcake without frosting!? I whipped out my handy, dandy, trusty buttercream recipe and tinted it a bright pink...the theme is princess afterall! I got this recipe from a Wilton cake decorating class I took a few years ago. The trick is to use gel colorings...not the liquid stuff unless you want a thin frosting (which isn't great for piping and having it hold up). I decided to distinguish the two batches by the sparkling edible glitter on one, and the decorations.

Aren't they cute!? Here is the guest of honor's special cupcake!

Happy Birthday CP! Thanks for being such a great friend!

The Recipe: Chocolate Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting
Original Cupcake recipe can be found here.
Original Buttercream recipe can be found here.

Chocolate Cupcakes
1/2 cup (50 grams) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 cup (240 ml) boiling hot water (The first batch I only used 1/2 cup)
1 1/3 cups (175 grams) all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly butter, or line 16 muffin cups with paper liners.

In a small bowl stir until smooth the boiling hot water and the cocoa powder. Let cool to room temperature. 

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Then in the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth. 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 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. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, frost with icing.

Buttercream Frosting
I'm giving you the one I actually used...the one on the Wilton site if slightly different.
1 cup solid white vegetable shortening (Crisco)
1 teaspoon flavoring (I used Wilton Clear can use vanilla, just remember it'll make it off-white in color)
2 tablespoons water (More if you want a thinner frosting...adapt as necessary...I ended up adding a bit more because it's dry here right now.)
1 lb. pure cane confectioners' sugar (approx. 4 cups)
1 tablespoon Wilton Meringue Powder (You can find this easily at Michael's craft stores)

Cream shortening, flavoring and water. Add dry ingredients and mix on medium speed until all ingredients have been thoroughly mixed together. Blend an additional minute or so, until creamy.

This is the point where you add in your coloring. I used Wilton gel in pink. Just add it using a toothpick and then whip away again for a minute or so until the color is fully incorporated. I normally have to scrape down the bowl a few times before it's right.

Enjoy with Love,

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