Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream

Chocolate Cupcake with Vanilla Buttercream
I received the book Cupcakes: Luscious bakeshop favorites from your home kitchen by Shelly Kaldunski and was very excited to make a recipe from this.  I like that most recipes made only 12 cupcakes.   I tried the chocolate cupcakes with vanilla buttercream.  The chocolate cupcake was good.  It reminds me of cake-y brownies and had the slight hard crust on the top.  It was not overly chocolate-y.   I might add some chocolate extract next time to heighten the chocolate flavor.  The amounts were slightly inconvenient (i.e. the recipe specified 3/4 plus 2 tbsp) and I would personally have preferred everything by weights.  This was very easy to mix together.  The vanilla buttercream went together fairly easily, I used my KitchenAid bowl on the stove and hand mixed while it was on the stove and let my stand mixer do the heavy whipping.  I piped the frosting, which was a little loose and practically dripped out of the pastry bag, perhaps I needed to beat it a little longer.   This was a nice, light buttercream and not too sweet.   I added some chocolate sprinkles for decoration.  I am looking forward to trying some of the other recipes in this cookbook.

Chocolate Cupcakes

Adapted from Cupcakes by Shelly Kaldunski

makes 12 cupcakes

2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
11 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat an oven to 350°F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper or foil liner

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Place the chocolate and butter in a large heatproof bowl and set over but not touching simmering water in a saucepan; stir frequently until melted and smooth, about 5 minutes. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and let the chocolate mixture cool to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes.

Using a wooden spoon, stir the sugar into the chocolate mixture until combined. Stir in the eggs one at a time, beating until combined after each addition, then beat in the vanilla. Gently fold in the flour mixture just until no traces of flour remain; do not overmix.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, filling each about three-fourths full. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached, 22 to 24 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Then transfer the cupcakes to the rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour.

Frost the cupcakes with the buttercream, garnish with grated chocolate and serve. (The frosted cupcakes can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days; bring to room temperature before serving.)

Basic (Vanilla) Buttercream

3 large egg whites, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract (or seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean)

In a large, clean heatproof bowl, combine the egg whites and sugar.  Set the bowl over (but not touching) simmering water in a saucepan and heat the mixture, whisking constantly, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the mixture is very warm to the touch (about 160 F on an instant-read thermometer), about 2 minutes.  Remove the bowl from the saucepan.  Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat the egg white mixture until it is fluffy, cooled to room temperature , and holds stiff peaks (the mixture should not look dry), about 6 minutes.

With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the salt and the butter, a few pieces at a time, beating well after each addition.  If the frosting appears to separate or is very liquid after all the butter is added, continue to beat on high speed until it is smooth and creamy, 3-5 minutes more.  Add the vanilla flavoring and beat until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Use right away.

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