Sunday, November 09, 2008

Recipe: Chocolate Cupcakes

A quick picture of the flower garden pink cupcakes I made for a little girl's birthday! You can't see it but in the plain cupcake icing you can see red segment nibs from the raspberry puree that I added for natural tasting pale pink icing.

These were really fun to make and I got to try out my new pearly sugar beads. I think these would be just the thing to sprinkle around a pale green marzipan pea in the pod, on a whirl of pale pink icing. More on that when January rolls around!

I've also found my favourite chocolate cupcake recipe, this makes a dense, rich, moist American style chocolate cake, perfect for fudging into layer cakes. I've tried many recipes that give a brown crumb, rather than a moist black crumb and this is not just the best recipe I've tasted but also one of the easiest. I iced them with raspberry buttercream but the recipe below is for a traditional chocolate fudge icing.

Recipe from Ina Garten aka the Barefoot Contessa:

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used grapeseed oil)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed very hot coffee

1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and flour two 8-inch round cake pans or line them with wax parchment paper. Otherwise, set out 20 cupcake cups.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, mix the flour with the sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt at low speed.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk the buttermilk with the oil, eggs and vanilla. Slowly beat the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients until just incorporated, then slowly beat in the hot coffee until fully incorporated.

4. Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then invert the cakes onto a rack to cool completely. Peel off the parchment paper.

Ingredients for chocolate frosting:

6 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon instant coffee granules

1. In a microwave-safe bowl, heat the chocolate at high power in 30-second intervals, stirring, until most of the chocolate is melted. Stir until completely melted, then set aside to cool to room temperature. Alternatively, you can melt the chocolate over a double-boiler, over a saucepan of boiling water.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter at medium speed until pale and fluffy. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and beat for 1 minute, scraping down the side of the bowl.

3. At low speed, slowly beat in the confectioners’ sugar, about 1 minute. In a small bowl, dissolve the instant coffee in 2 teaspoons of hot water. Slowly beat the coffee and the cooled chocolate into the butter mixture until just combined.

4. Set a cake layer on a plate with the flat side facing up. Evenly spread one-third of the frosting over the cake to the edge. Top with the second cake layer, rounded side up. Spread the remaining frosting over the top and side of the cake.

5. MAKE AHEAD The frosted cake can be refrigerated for 2 days. Even if you make it on the day of, it should be refrigerated for 1 hour before serving.

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