Thursday, October 17, 2013

Cupcake Party

So some exciting changes have been happening over the last month.  Namely, we bought a house!...and moved into it.  The space is so much bigger than the duplex we were renting and I can't wait to put my decorating expertise (ha!) into it.  One of my favorite things about the new house is that the kitchen has a double oven.  A DOUBLE. OVEN!  I die.

So we had a small group of people over our first week in (talk about motivation to get unpacked) and I baked cupcakes for the occasion.  More specifically, my friend Amy and I each made a batch of cupcakes (she made vanilla) then consolidated all of our old buttercream - but not old in a bad way, old in the sense that we made buttercreams for other cakes and cupcakes and froze the leftovers, because there are always leftovers - and frosted our hearts out.

I made chocolate cupcakes (recipe shared below) from Cupcake Project.  They were awesome.  The recipe was tested by 50 bakers as Stef from the Cupcake Project churned out recipe after recipe in search of the ultimate chocolate cupcake.  The winning recipe has a batter that tastes like pudding and results in a dense, rich chocolate cake. The recipe allows for variations among chocolate, depending on your preference or what you have in your pantry.  I used Schogetten Dark Chocolate bars and Bakers Corner Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (the same chocolates I use in my favorite brownies; both from Aldi's).  I also added a heaping teaspoon of Medaglia D'Oro instant espresso powder to my dry ingredients.  I can't decide which chocolate cupcake I like better, this one that I usually pair with peanut butter cream cheese frosting, or the new Cupcake Project one.  I'll have to do a side-by-side comparison ;)

These are the awesome frostings we used to top our cupcakes:
Chocolate cream cheese frosting
Cinnamon buttercream
Toasted Marshmallow Buttercream
Caramel Apple Buttercream
Espresso Buttercream
Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Buttercream that I added chopped Reese Cups to

My favorite combination was the chocolate cupake with the chocolate frosting.  An amazing classic.

The Ultimate Chocolate Cupcake Recipe
yields 18 cupcakes

2 ounces of your favorite chocolate (nothing with add ins like nuts, not white chocolate, not candy melts)
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 heaping teaspoon instant espresso or instant coffee granules (*optional)
1/4 cup (half a stick) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1 cup white sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup warm water (not boiling)
1/3 cup sour cream


Preaheat oven to 350 degrees.

1.  In a microwave safe bowl, microwave 2 ounces of chocolate until melted (30 seconds at 50% power, stir, and repeat until smooth).  Alternatively, you could melt the chocolate over a double boiler.  Set aside to cool (but not harden).

2.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, cocoa powder, and instant espresso.  Set aside.

3.  In a glass measuring cup, combine vegetable oil and water.  Set aside.

4.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar.  It will look like wet sand.  Mix in melted and cooled chocolate.  Add eggs one at a time, followed by egg yolks one at a time, mixing thoroughly between each addition.  Add vanilla extract and mix.

5.  Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the stand mixer.  Mix until flour seems mostly incorporated, with only maybe a few streaks of flour showing.  Add the oil/water mixture.  Mix to combine.  Add 1/3 of flour mixture, mix until incorporated.  Add sour cream, mix.  Add remaining flour, mix until well incorporated.

6.  Line 18 cupcake wells with paper liner.  Fill each 2/3 of the way full with batter (this was just over 2 heaping tablespoons per cupcake).  Bake for 16 minutes, and check for done-ness but inserting a toothpick into a cupcake and checking if it comes out with a few moist crumbs.  If it seems too wet, bake for another 2 minutes and check.  Repeat until a toothpick inserted comes out with just a few moist crumbs.

7.  Immediately transfer to wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

Chocolate Cupcake recipe from the Cupcake Project.

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