Regardless of whether your candidate won or lost, you deserve a cupcake. A double-chocolate cupcake. With buttery chocolate frosting. The cupcake can be a celebration, or a consolation. Either way, this cupcake will be tasty and you will sigh and smile. Perhaps one more might be even better…you deserve it.
And this is no ordinary cupcake. This is a killer cupcake. Moist, sweet and with a wallop of dark chocolate, this is the kind of cupcake you get at the best bakeries (after you waited in line). And that is where the recipe comes from. The recipe is Carolyn’s adaptation of a cake recipe from the Miette cookbook. Miette is a small chain of bay area bakeries that features world-class cakes, cupcakes and confections. The Miette cookbook is a favorite in our kitchen, not only for the recipes, but some of the techniques that make for moist and flavorful cakes. The “Cake-Baking Essentials” section of the book should be required reading for bakers who want to take their cakes to the next level. Some of the “essentials” are a bit fussy and exacting, but with baking, “fussy” is what often makes the difference.
And this recipe uses a few of these techniques for a better cupcake. The recipe uses oil instead of butter, as butter has extra water content that evaporates and makes for a dry, crumbly texture (we love butter, but it is better for crispy, rather than tender baked goods). Oil keeps the cupcake moist. The recipe uses both melted chocolate and cocoa power for deep chocolate flavor. And the recipe has you sift dry ingredients, very lightly mix the batter and then strain the batter through a mesh strainer to avoid lumps, and minimize mixing and gluten formation. In the end, you have a little extra work, but a very moist and flavorful cupcake.
Otherwise, the basic steps for making the cupcakes are familiar. Line your muffin tin with cake cups and preheat the oven. Sift and mix the dry ingredients. Melt the chocolate and prepare the wet ingredients. Whip the eggs in a mixer, then add the oil, chocolate and other wet ingredients. Add the dry ingredients, mix lightly and run the batter through the mesh strainer. Then put the batter in the cake cups and bake. After about twenty to twenty-five minutes you will have cupcakes. Then you have to wait for them to cool…and those minutes can be painfully slow.
But while the cupcakes bake and cool, you will have time to “gild the lily” and make the chocolate frosting. The frosting is a simple combination of melted chocolate, whipped butter and sugar (and a touch of milk). Other than using a stand mixer and good chocolate, there is no special equipment or technique required. The chocolate, butter and sugar can stand up for themselves. And when you combine this sweet, creamy chocolate frosting with the moist, chocolatey cupcake you get a double-chocolate cupcake worth celebrating. It certainly has our vote.
(Adapted from the Miette Cookbook)
Notes Before You Start:
- You can use this cake recipe for full-size cakes. Miette suggests 2, 6-inch pans, but you can use one larger cake pan, if you like.
- The recipe suggests “natural” and not Dutch-processed cocoa powder. The natural cocoa has deeper flavor.
What You Get: Moist, flavorful chocolate cupcakes. Happiness.
What You Need: A stand mixer is required for this recipe but is a key tool for any baker and a worthwhile investment. A medium mesh sieve or strainer is also required.
How Long? 1 to 2 hours, with about 30 minutes of active time. You need a chunk of free time to bake a cake.
(Makes 2 dozen cupcakes)
- 1 and 1/2 cups (7 and 1/2 oz.) all-purpose flour
- 1 and 1/4 cups (4 and 1/2 oz.) natural unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 oz. 70% cacao dark chocolate, chopped
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 and 1/4 cups (16 oz.) sugar
(Frosting for 3 -4 dozen cupcakes)
- 2 pounds unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 and 1/2 pounds bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 and 1/4 pounds powdered sugar, sifted
- 2 tablespoons 2% milk
- Line two muffin tins with paper liners. Position racks in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.
- Placed the chopped chocolate into a heatproof bowl and pour the boiling water over it and whisk until the chocolate melts. Let the chocolate cool for 15 minutes.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and vanilla. Set aside.
- Fit your stand mixer with whisk attachment. Put the eggs in the mixer’s bowl and whisk at high-speed until foamy, about 2 minutes. Reduce the mixer’s speed to low and slowly pour in the oil until combined, about 30 seconds. Then raise the speed to medium and whisk another 30 seconds or until the oil is fully incorporated.
- Reduce the mixer’s speed to low and slowly pour the cooled chocolate into the egg mixture. Then slowly pour in the buttermilk and vanilla mixture. Add the sugar and whisk until the mixture is smooth and liquid, about 2 minutes.
- Stop the mixer and move the mixing bowl to a counter. Add the dry ingredients and mix, folding gently by hand, until just incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and gently mix again. Stop mixing, even if a few lumps remain.
- Pour the batter through a medium-mesh sieve or strainer into a large bowl. Press against the solids in the sieve to get as much batter as possible, then discard any remaining lumps.
- Pour the batter into the cake cups, filling them 2/3 of the way. Then place the muffin tins into the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean. When done, remove the tins from the oven and place on a wire cooling rack. Let the cupcakes cool completely in the pan. Then remove from the pan, frost and serve.
- Melt the chopped chocolate in a double boiler or gently in the microwave. Set aside and allow to cool.
- Fit your stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Whip the butter at high speed with the paddle until smooth and creamy, about 3 – 5 minutes. Lower the speed to medium and add the cooled chocolate and mix until incorporated, 1 – 2 minutes. Change the speed to low and slowly add the sugar. Finally add the milk until incorporated. Serve.
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