Monday, January 16, 2012

Chocolate Cupcakes and Buttercream Frosting

We had my family over to celebrate my Mom's birthday the other night and my Mom had requested chocolate cupcakes with chocolate icing for the dessert.    Since I refuse to buy desserts I turned to one of my trusty cookbooks to see if there was a recipe before I went searching on the internet.   I found a recipe for chocolate cupcakes in the book Flour by Joanne Chang.  If you live in Boston or have been there, you might be famliar with the Flour Bakery.  Man I hope to get there one day. I actually have to admit that so far I only have two cookbooks and both are recipes from bakeries and both are awesome. The only cookbooks I've felt worth spending money on so far.  However..let me get back on track.

This was the first time I made the cupcakes so of course we didn't know what to expect. I tend to make new dessert recipes when people are coming over, no better way to test it all out.    These cupcakes weren't hard to bake, a few different steps, but not hard.  While I love chocolate I'm not a huge fan of chocolate cake.  I have to admit that I've been eating my share of these, they taste wonderful.  Everyone who had one also commented on how good they are (and I don't think it was just to make me feel good since I baked them).    I didn't make the icing recipe included with that recipe as it wasn't for a chocolate recipe. Instead I used a chocolate buttercream recipe that I've had for several years, found it on the internet but don't remember where.

If you feel like a chocolate cupcake and are up to baking from scratch, definitly give these a try.

Chocolate Cupcakes from Flour by Joanne Chang

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
¼ cup dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup unsalted butter
⅓ cup water
½ cup milk
1 egg
1 egg yolk
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp kosher salt

In a heatproof bowl, combine the chocolate and cocoa powder.  In a small saucepan, heat the sugar, butter, and water over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally, for 3-4 minutes or until the butter is melted and the sugar is dissolved.  Pour the hot butter-sugar mixture over the chocolate-cocoa mixture and whisk until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is homogeneous.

Whisk the milk, egg, egg yolk, and vanilla into the chocolate mixture until thoroughly combined.

In a bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until well mixed.  Dump the flour mixture on top of the chocolate mixture.  Whisk until the dry ingredients are totally mixed into the chocolate mixture.  Let the batter sit for at least 1 hour at room temperature, or transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. (This allows the liquid to be totally absorbed into the batter, so the batter thickens up a bit and isn’t so soupy.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.   Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, dividing it evenly and filling the cups to the rim.  Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the tops spring back when pressed with a fingertip.  Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.

**I did make only 12 cupcakes but some were pretty large and overflowing.  Next time I make these I won't fill the cupcake cups to the rim and I'll make more.

Buttercream Frosting
6 tablespoons butter, softened
⅓ - ¾ cup Cocoa powder
2 ⅔ cup powdered sugar
⅓ cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Cocoa powder - for light chocolate frosting us ⅓ cup cocoa powder.  For medium chocolate frosting use ½ cup cocoa powder.  For dark chocolate frosting us ¾ cup cocoa powder.

Cream the butter.  Add the cocoa and powdered sugar, alternately with milk.  beat to spreading constistantency, add more milk if needed.  Blend in Vanilla.

Makes enough for 12 cupcakes
**Note: I use this recipe for non-chocolate buttercream frosting too, I (obviously) just don't add the cocoa powder

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