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Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

12 Apr

“Rediscovering Chocolate Cupcakes”

A while back, a dear family friend, Cathy, introduced me to the amazingness that is America’s Test Kitchen. . She had dreamt of working for them for years, and now is bestowing that wish onto me. Maybe one day!

I have tons of the America’s Test Kitchen’s Cook’s Illustrated magazines and am even subscribed to their online database of recipes and stories. I came across this recipe and was intrigued. Similarly, Cathy, my “second mom”, had successfully taste tested them on her kids and was given the green light.

So how does this all tie into little moments of happiness? Well, for one, baking provides me with a stress free environment, particularly with my partner-in-chef Cathy by my side. Secondly, I have been going up to visit my boyfriend and I like to bring him some savory goods upon arrival. Last time, we made triple, dark chocolate brownies that were so savory. This time Cathy and I decided to bring back an old, but amazing, recipe:

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

Makes 12 cupcakes

This recipe does not double very well. Cupcakes made from a doubled batch and baked side by side in the oven yield a slightly compromised rise. It’s best to make two separate batches and bake each separately. Store leftover cupcakes (frosted or unfrosted) in the refrigerator, but let them come to room temperature before serving.

INGREDIENTS

8
tablespoons unsalted butter , cut into 4 pieces

2
ounces bittersweet chocolate , chopped

1/2
cup Dutch-processed cocoa (1 1/2 ounces)

3/4
cup unbleached all-purpose flour (3 3/4 ounces)

1/2
teaspoon baking soda

3/4
teaspoon baking powder

2
large eggs

3/4
cup sugar (5 1/4 ounces)

1
teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2
cup sour cream (4 ounces)

1/2
teaspoon table salt

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard-sized muffin pan (cups have 1/2-cup capacity) with baking-cup liners.

2. Combine butter, chocolate, and cocoa in medium heatproof bowl. Set bowl over saucepan containing barely simmering water; heat mixture until butter and chocolate are melted and whisk until smooth and combined. Set aside to cool until just warm to the touch.

3. Whisk flour, baking soda, and baking powder in small bowl to combine.

4. Whisk eggs in second medium bowl to combine; add sugar, vanilla, and salt and whisk until fully incorporated. Add cooled chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Sift about one-third of flour mixture over chocolate mixture and whisk until combined; whisk in sour cream until combined, then sift remaining flour mixture over and whisk until batter is homogenous and thick.

5. Divide batter evenly among muffin pan cups. Bake until skewer inserted into center of cupcakes comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes.

6. Cool cupcakes in muffin pan on wire rack until cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes. Carefully lift each cupcake from muffin pan and set on wire rack. Cool to room temperature before icing, about 30 minutes. (To frost: Mound about 2 tablespoons icing on center of each cupcake. Using small icing spatula or butter knife, spread icing to edge of cupcake, leaving slight mound in center.)

Vanilla Bean Buttercream Icing

Makes 1 1/2 cups, enough for 12 cupcakes

If you prefer to skip the vanilla bean, increase the extract to 1 1/2 teaspoons. Any of the buttercream frostings (see related recipes) can be made ahead and refrigerated; if refrigerated, however, they must stand at room temperature to soften before use. If using a hand-held mixer, increase mixing times significantly (at least 50 percent). This recipe can be doubled to make enough for a two-layer cake.

INGREDIENTS

10
tablespoons unsalted butter , softened

1/2
vanilla bean , halved lengthwise

1 1/4
cups confectioners’ sugar (5 ounces)

Pinch table salt

1/2
teaspoon vanilla extract

1
tablespoon heavy cream

INSTRUCTIONS

In standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat butter at medium-high speed until smooth, about 20 seconds. Using paring knife, scrape seeds from vanilla bean into butter and beat mixture at medium-high speed to combine, about 15 seconds. Add confectioners’ sugar and salt; beat at medium-low speed until most of the sugar is moistened, about 45 seconds. Scrape down bowl and beat at medium speed until mixture is fully combined, about 15 seconds; scrape bowl, add vanilla and heavy cream, and beat at medium speed until incorporated, about 10 seconds, then increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down bowl once or twice

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

Final Product!

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