Monday, February 27, 2012

Chocolate Chocolate Cupcakes: 3 Ways

Valentine's Day is not one of my favorite holidays, but it's not without its redeeming qualities. First, it's an excuse to stuff my face with chocolate, and second, it presents an opportunity to make themed treats. So, imagine my excitement when I received a Valentine's Day package from my mom filled with 1. chocolate, 2. supplies to make themed treats, and 3. a new cookbook filled with recipes for said treats.

These adorable cupcake decorations (paper liners, toppers and sprinkles), along with my newest cookbook, Baking: From my Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, inspired me to make three plays on Dorie's recipe for chocolate cupcakes with chocolate glaze.

First, I made a Mexican hot chocolate cupcake, adding a dash of cayenne pepper to the batter and creating the glaze using a Vosges Oaxaca bar (bittersweet chocolate with Oaxacan chillies). Next, I made two different types of filled cupcakes: one filled with Nutella and another filled with raspberry jam. All three cupcake variations were well received, but I have to say the Nutella filled were my personal favorite, because who doesn't love Nutella? Nutella makes everything better. Anyway, I disgress...

Vosges deliciously spicy Oaxaca bar
Filling cupcakes is a quick and easy way to make an average creation something special. Just fill a pastry bag with your poison of choice (Nutella, jam, Marshmallow Fluff, custard, ganache, the list goes on...) and fit the bag with a thin tip. Plunge to the bottom of your cupcake and squeeze away. Play around with the amount of filling you like, until you find the perfect cake to filling ratio for your taste.

Although these cupcakes were stellar, Martha Stewart's recipe is still my go-to for chocolate cupcakes. I didn't find these to be as moist as Martha's, but they're a good back-up to have in my arsenal and the glaze was fantastic.

Bon appetit!

Chocolate Chocolate Cupcakes
Makes 12
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled

3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp confectioners' sugar, sifted
2 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces

Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350 °F. Fill a 12-muffin pan with paper liners and set aside.

To make the cupcakes, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat at medium speed until soft and creamy, several minutes. Add the sugar and beat for about 2 minutes, until it is blended into the butter, Add the whole egg, then the yolk, beating for 1 minute after each addition and scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula, as needed. Beat in the vanilla, then reduce the mixer speed to low and add half of the dry ingredients, mixing only until they disappear. Scrape down the bowl and add the buttermilk, mixing until incorporated, then mix in the remaining dry ingredients. Scrape down the bowl, add the melted chocolate and mix it in with the rubber spatula. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin molds.

Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until the tops of the cakes are dry and springy to the touch and a knife inserted into their centers comes out clean. Transfer the muffin pan to a rack and let the cakes cool for 5 minutes before removing them from the pan. Cool completely before glazing.

While the cupcakes are baking, make the glaze. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Transfer the bowl to the counter and let stand for 5 minutes.

Using a small whisk or rubber spatula, stir in the confectioners' sugar, followed by the pieces of cold butter. The glaze may be very thin at this point or it may be perfectly spreadable. If it is too thin to spread or use as a dip, stir it over ice water for a few seconds (really, less than a minute).

If your glaze loses its sheen, give it a puff of hot air from a hair dryer before serving

Glaze the cupcakes by dipping into the ganache, swirling, and twirling slightly as you remove to give them a little squiggle of glaze in the center. If you prefer your cupcakes to be smooth on top, even the glaze out using an icing spatula. To decorate with sprinkles, let the ganache set long enough that it doesn't drip when you hold the cupcakes upside down. Then dip each cupcake into a dish with plenty of sprinkles. If any spots are lacking, just drop more sprinkles over the top. Allow the glaze to set at room temperature before serving or storing in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Source: Baking: From my Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

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