Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing

Last spring, on a morning television show (Today Show or Good Morning America), I caught a glimpse of what they were calling "the best chocolate cake EVER," but didn't hear the source of the recipe. After a quick Google search, I found it on the Epicurious website. I printed it, filed it and forgot about it . . . until recently, when I needed a chocolate cupcake recipe!

I'm sure the original recipe does make a fabulous cake, because the cupcakes were awesome! My only minor complaint is this: they were a bit too light and fluffy for cupcakes (translation: eat with a fork, not with your hands). However, this cake recipe does live up to the hype, so give it a try!

Chocolate cake (or cupcakes)

3 ounces fine-quality semisweet chocolate
1 1/2 cups hot brewed coffee
3 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 300°F. and grease pans. Line bottoms with rounds of wax paper and grease paper (or line muffin pans with paper liners).

Finely chop chocolate and in a bowl combine with hot coffee. Let mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.

Into a large bowl sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another large bowl with an electric mixer beat eggs until thickened slightly and lemon colored (about 3 minutes with a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a hand-held mixer). Slowly add oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and melted chocolate mixture to eggs, beating until combined well. Add sugar mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined well. Divide batter between pans and bake in middle of oven until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes - or - divide batter between muffin cups and bake until tester comes out clean (begin testing at 25 minutes).

Cool layers (or cupcakes) completely in pans on racks. Run a thin knife around edges of pans and invert layers onto racks. Carefully remove wax paper and cool layers completely. Cake layers may be made 1 day ahead and kept, wrapped well in plastic wrap, at room temperature (I froze the cupcakes for 2 weeks). - from Epicurious.com (see the original recipe here)

Cream Cheese Icing

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 (8 oz pkg) cream cheese, room temperature
3-3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1. With an electric mixer, mix the butter and cream cheese together, about 3 minutes on medium speed until very smooth. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure even mixing.

2. Add the vanilla extract and mix. Slowly add the powdered sugar. Keep adding until you reach the consistency and sweetness you desire.

3. Spread or pipe on to cupcakes.

- Adapted from Simply Recipes

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