Friday, April 2, 2010

Moist Chocolate Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

This is my last post for the day. I made these cupcakes a few weeks ago, and they were so worth it. I brought them to a friends apartment warming party. They were mostly gone by the end of the night.

This recipe is adapted from Barefoot Contessa at Home, 2006, "Beatty's Chocolate Cake"
Moist Chocolate Cupcakes
Servings: 28-30 regular sized cupcakes

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cups cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt (or regular salt works)
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line muffin tins with cupcake liners and lightly spray with cooking spray.
In an electric mixer bowl; sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

Mix on low speed just until combined. In a liquid measuring cup, measure out the buttermilk, add the oil, eggs and vanilla. Stir to combine. Set the mixer on low again, and slowly add in the liquid mixture until just combined. Then add the coffee until just incorporated. Fill the tins with batter until just slightly over half full. Do not do more than this, for they will rise considerably. Bake for 14-16 minutes. The first batch I did took 15, the second took 14. Let the cupcakes rest in the tins on wire racks, for just a minutes and then take them out of the tins and put on the wire racks to cool completely. Now on to the frosting.

(don't worry if they sink a little in the middle) They're done if the toothpick comes out without raw batter)

This is without a doubt the best buttercream ever. I could just eat it plain, it is so so so so so good!

(this recipe is easily doubled. This was just about perfect for the amount of cupcakes I made.) 
Buttercream Frosting

1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) salted butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract
1 pound powdered sugar (just about 3 1/4 cups)
2-3 Tbsp. cold milk (cream works too)

Whip the butters and shortening on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and mix a little more. Then turn down the speed and mix in the sugar a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. After all the sugar is added, add the milk 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach the desired consistency. You may have to add more, depending on how thick you like your frosting.

I used star tips for decorating the cupcakes and tried to make it look like grass with little spring flowers. I think they are cute. And it was super easy. :)

Sour Cream Coffeecake

As part of my official non-diet week, I made coffeecake and took it to work on Monday. So yummy! I found this recipe on the King Arthur Flour website. And this time I will just post the link if you want to try it. And believe me, its worth it.

Here is the result. I hope you try it. I also did 1-1/2 times the cinnamon-sugar topping.

(Please ignore the out of season plate, it worked the best. lol)

Birthday Cake

 I just had my birthday this week, and yes...I made my own birthday cake. Usually its my favorite red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting, but this year I decided to be different. Behold, the non-traditional birthday cake...
This recipe comes from "Baking By Flavor" by Lisa Yockelson. It is so worth all the work. 


Lemon Rind Soak (step 1)
1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. fresh lemon zest
1 1/2 tsp. lemon extract
1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed and strained lemon juice (or bottled lemon juice)

Put all the ingredients into a small bowl and let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes or more.
Preheat the oven 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9" or 10" bundt pan.

Lemon Butter Cake Batter (step 2)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1 3/4 sticks (14 Tbsp.) unsalted butter, softened
2 Tbsp. vegetable shortening
2 cups granulated sugar + 1 Tbsp. lemon zest mixed together
4 large eggs, separated
1 cup buttermilk
1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
3 Tbsp. superfine sugar (granulated sugar pulsed in food processor until powder)

Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt, set aside. In a mixer on moderate speed, cream the butter and shortening for 3-4 minutes. Keep at this speed and add the 2 cups sugar (premixed with the lemon zest), adding 1/3 of mixture at a time, beating 1 minute after each addition. Next add the eggs yolks and the lemon rind soak and beat until just combined. Add the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour, mixing well after each addition. If you have a second mixer, use it for this next part, otherwise scrape the batter into a larger bowl and set aside. Next wash the mixer bowl thoroughly and put in the egg whites. Whip on high speed until white and frothy. Add the cream of tartar and whip until soft peaks form. Continue whipping, and add the superfine sugar a little at a time until all is added. Continue whipping just until firm peaks have formed, but be careful they don't become to stiff. Use a spatula and gently fold in 1/4 of the egg whites into the cake batter until just fully incorporated. Then add in the remaining egg whites, following the same careful method.  Bake for 55 minutes, or until cake tests done. I rotated mine half-way through.
While the cake bakes, continue with the next step.

Lemon Soaking Glaze (step 3)

1/2 cup freshly squeezed and strained lemon juice (or bottled)
1/3 cup plus 2 tsp. granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. lemon extract

Put all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Then set aside until ready to use.
Once the cake is done, set the cake left in the pan on a wire rack, and let cool 10 minutes. Then invert the cake onto wax paper (on the wire rack). Spoon the lemon soaking glaze onto the cake, covering all of the cake. Let the cake cool for another 15 minutes.
Lemon Pouring Topping (step 4)

2 cups plus 3 1/2 Tbsp. powdered sugar
5 Tbsp. plus 1/4 tsp. freshly squeezed and strained lemon juice (or bottled)
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled

While the cake cools, mix together the topping ingredients with a whisk until fully blended. I found that there was too much topping, but tried to use as much as possible, even covering the cake twice. Drizzle the topping over the cake letting it drip down the sides. Let the cake cool completely and then slice and serve. It was super good and moist!