Double Chocolate Cupcakes

double chocolate cupcakesHave you ever ordered an ultra-chocolatey dessert and regretted it after a few bites, completely overwhelmed by chocolateness? I certainly have. Most restaurants have some manner of “death by chocolate” dessert on their menus, usually involving layers of chocolate cake, mousse, cheesecake, ganache, and so on, and they’re all too overpoweringly chocolatey for me.

One of my lovely coworkers asked if I could bake for her son’s 13th birthday this weekend, and the guest of honor requested chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting. While there are many cupcake and frosting recipes to choose from, I decided to go with a light and dark combination to prevent chocolate overload. The cupcakes themselves are my dark chocolate recipe, while the frosting is chocolate buttercream, light and fluffy and a great complement for a darker cake. Happy Birthday, Theo!

Ingredients

Preparation

Bake cupcakes in full-size cupcake pans; the recipe will yield 24 regular-sized cupcakes and 12 miniature cupcakes, or about 30 regular-sized cupcakes. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Using a one-inch cookie scoop, drop scoops of frosting onto cupcakes. Frost with a small offset spatula. If storing in the refrigerator, bring cupcakes to room temperature before serving; these do not need to be refrigerated, but I’m chilling mine because it’s quite humid in Pittsburgh tonight.

 

 

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Chocolate Buttercream

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes people tell me they don’t like frosting, that they really like the cake better. I’ve never understood this. I mean, what is cake if not a vehicle for frosting? Why would someone choose plain cake, without the accompanying combination of butter or shortening and powdered sugar and flavorings?

Because I prefer opposites in baking–in that yellow or white cake is, to my palate, most pleasing when paired with chocolate frosting–I believe this chocolate buttercream to be an excellent companion for yellow, white, or almond cakes or cupcakes. Chocolate fans will enjoy it with chocolate cake, too. This recipe yields more than enough for 24 cupcakes.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3-4 tablespoons milk
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preparation

In a large bowl, sift together powdered sugar and cocoa powder; set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream butter for about one minute. Add salt and beat for another 30 seconds.

Add powdered sugar and cocoa and beat on low speed to incorporate as much sugar into the butter as you can.  I cover my mixing bowl with a kitchen towel during this step to prevent a sugar storm.

Add three tablespoons milk and two teaspoons vanilla extract; beat for three minutes.

Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl and add the final teaspoon vanilla extract, then beat for another minute.

Yellow Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream

 

 

 

 

 

 

What can you say about a classic?  The yellow cake/chocolate frosting combination is the little black dress of baking, one that baker should have it in her repertoire.  There seems to be something magical in the pairing of rich chocolate buttercream with mellow yellow cake, in the same way that a chocolate cupcake is finely matched with vanilla buttercream.  They say opposites attract, right?

Yellow Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 10 2/3 tablespoons butter, slightly softened
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups milk

Preparation

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Line two muffin tins with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat butter on medium speed for one minute.

Add sugar and vanilla and beat until well combined.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating for one minute after each.

Add flour mixture and milk alternatively, beating until combined.

Using a two-inch cookie scoop, scoop batter into prepared muffin cups, filling about half-full.

Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack before frosting.

 

Chocolate Buttercream

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3-4 tablespoons milk
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preparation

In a large bowl, sift together powdered sugar and cocoa powder; set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream butter for about one minute.

Add powdered sugar and cocoa and beat on low speed to incorporate as much sugar into the butter as you can.  I cover my mixing bowl with a kitchen towel during this step to prevent a sugar storm.

Add three tablespoons milk and two teaspoons vanilla extract; beat for three minutes.

Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl and add the final teaspoon vanilla extract, then beat for another minute.