Sunday, January 1, 2012

What's Baking?: Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
Yield: 12 cupcakes
Adapted from: Brown Eyed Baker, originally from Cook's Illustrated

8 Tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. baking powder
2 eggs
3/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. sour cream

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a muffin tin with muffin liners.

2) Combine the butter, chocolate and cocoa in a medium heatproof bowl.  Set the bowl over a saucepan containing barely simmering water and heat chocolate mixture until the butter and chocolate are melted and whisk until smooth and combined.  (Alternately, you can microwave the mixture at 50% power for 30 seconds at a time until the mixture is completely melted).  Set aside to cool until just warm to the touch.

3) Mix the flour, baking soda and baking powder in a small bowl to combine.  Set aside. 

4) Whisk eggs in medium bowl to combine.  Add the sugar, vanilla and salt and mix until fully incorporated.  Add the cooled chocolate mixture and mix until combined.  Sift about 1/3 of the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture and mix until combined.  Mix in sour cream until combined.  Sift the remaining flour mixture over and mix until batter is homogenous and thick. 

5) Divide the batter evenly among the 12 muffin liners.  Bake for about 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.

6) Cool cupcakes in the muffin pan on a wire rack until cool enough to frost, about 30 minutes.    

Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting
Yield: Enough for 12 cupcakes
From: Barefoot Contessa at Home by Ina Garten

1 c. powdered sugar
1 c. creamy peanut butter
5 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 c. heavy cream

Place the powdered sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla and salt in the bowl of a stand up mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.  Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work.  Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.

**Use a 1M decorating tip and frosting bag to decorate the cupcakes**

What's Baking?: Mocha Cupcakes with Espresso Buttercream Frosting

I worked on New Year's Day.  Boo!  However, we had a potluck at work to celebrate.  I decided to make cupcakes.  I actually don't know why because I'm not much of a baker.  Haha.  We'll just call it an experiment in growth in the kitchen.  Both the cupcakes and frosting were made from scratch.  You maybe impressed right now but I'll double that.  I baked 2 different batches of cupcakes.  Both recipes to follow.  They were both were a hit at work.  I'm not sure which one I liked better.  They were both damn good!  

Happy New Year!!  

Mocha Cupcakes
Yield: 12 cupcakes
Adapted from: Brown Eyed Baker, originally adapted from My Baking Addiction
1 and 1/3 c. flour
1/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. whole milk
1/2 c. strong brewed coffee (just double the amount of coffee grounds you usually use to make coffee)
2 tsp. espresso powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. light brown sugar
1 egg, room temperature

1) Mix the espresso powder into the brewed coffee in a measuring cup with a pouring spout (capacity of at least 2 cups) until it is dissolved.  Set aside to cool to room temperature.

2) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a muffin tin with paper liners.

3) Mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.

4) Beat the butter and both sugars together on medium-high speed in a stand up mixer until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.  Add the egg and beat until combined.  In the measuring cup with the espresso powder and coffee, add the milk and vanilla.  Stir well.

5) Slowly add the flour mixture, alternating with the coffee mixture to your mixing bowl (ending with the flour mixture).  Mix until incorporated and scrape down the sides of the bowl to mix well.  Batter will be a little runny.

6) Divide the batter evenly between the 12 cupcake liners.  Bake for 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.  Cool completely before frosting the cupcakes.

Espresso Buttercream Frosting
Yield: Enough to frost 12 cupcakes

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 and 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 and 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. espresso powder (next time I'll use a little more)

1) Mix the espresso powder into the vanilla in a small measuring cup with pouring spout until dissolved.  Set aside.

2) Using the whisk attachment of a standing mixer, whip the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, stopping once to scrape the sides of the bowl.  Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the powdered sugar a little at a time, waiting until it is mostly incorporated before adding more.

3) Once all the powdered sugar had been added, scrape the sides of the bowl and increase the speed to medium-high and whip until fluffy, about 1-2 minutes.  Add the espresso and vanilla mixture and continue to mix at medium-high until it is completely incorporated, scraping the sides as necessary.

**Note, this frosting is a little difficult to work with while mixing as it was thick.  Use a 1 M decorating tip and frosting bag to pipe swirls on cupcakes**

Happy 2012!!!

I know I've been slacking and neglecting this blog.  I'm trying to finish up my advanced degree while working full time.  It seems work + school = way too tired for anything else.  I have a bunch of posts to publish.  I hope to do that soon!  Really, I am.

I hope 2011 treated everyone well.  It's hard to believe it's already 2012.  Isn't the world ending this year?  Be sure to live each day to it's fullest!  Here's to a new year filled with family, friends and good times.  May you and yours find 2012 to be happy and healthy!