Saturday, November 21, 2009

Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream

This is my go-to chocolate cupcake recipe. I tried making some sort of fancy chocolate mousse cupcake, but the cupcakes came out very deflated and with not all that much flavor. What's fun about this recipe is that you can change up the taste based on what kind of chocolate you choose to add. I am all for bargain brand flour and sugar, but chocolate is a good place to splurge. It definitely makes a difference if you are using fine chocolate. Play around with different kinds of chocolate and percentage of cocoa.

Chocolate Cupcakes - makes approximately 2 dozen
  • 4 oz (2/3 cup) chocolate, broken into small pieces (not baking chocolate!)
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Put paper liners into cupcake pan.
  2. Using a double boiler (or microwave), melt chocolate and butter together. Transfer to a large bowl.
  3. Stir the sugar into the melted chocolate-butter mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until fully combined.
  4. Add the eggs to the large bowl one at a time. Mix well with an electric mixer after each egg.
  5. Add the vanilla and mix well.
  6. In a separate medium bowl, add the flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix with a wire whisk.
  7. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, taking care to blend the contents with the electric mixer. Alternate adding the dry ingredients with the milk. Continue to mix until well combined.
  8. Fill the cupcake liners 3/4 full with batter. Bake for 18-23 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.

This is my fun, artsy picture of the finished cuppies

The great thing about a good chocolate cupcake (other than the fact that it's chocolate) is that the topping selection is wide open. I chose to top the cupcakes this time with the vanilla buttercream that we have been using in my cake decorating class. It's medium stiffness, which works well for piping. It's incredibly sweet, which people seem to like. It's also a snow-white color which works with countless different types of sprinkles! I found the clear butter flavor from Michaels. If the idea of that grosses you out, you can probably just leave it out.

Vanilla Buttercream
  • 1 1/4 cups shortening (do NOT use butter flavored!)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 tsp clear butter flavor
  • 2 lbs confectioner's sugar
  1. Beat the shortening with an electric mixer until fluffy.
  2. Add the salt, milk, vanilla, and butter flavor. Beat until mixed. The mixture will be sort of watery at this point, so it's ok if it's not completely homogeneous.
  3. Add the powdered sugar about 1 cup at a time. Mix well after each addition.
  4. Once all of the sugar has been added, keep on mixing for about 5-7 minutes until your icing is nice and fluffy!
  5. Icing will keep in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.

Ooo, pretty icing!

I like the contrast of the white frosting and the red cupcake liners :)

But something is missing.... sprinkles!

I just used some purple sugar that I had leftover from Halloween. I like how it collected in between the ridges in the swirl.

And there you have it. Chocolate cupcakes and a sweeeeet vanilla buttercream!

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