Monday, October 11, 2010

Wow!!!  That's all I can say.  One of my personal favorite cupcakes - my Oreo Cupcake is featured today on Cupcakes Take the Cake. Click on the link to go to the mention. I am really honored to have had three of my cupcakes featured on this amazing Blog all about cupcakes.

These Oreo cupcakes are absolutely delicious and kids love them (there's an Oreo Cookie baked in the bottom).  Click here to go to my post with the recipe. Thanks again Cupcakes Take the Cake for the shout out!

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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Chocolate Buttermilk Cupcakes with Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Valrhona Chocolate
I am still searching for the perfect, fool proof chocolate cupcake recipe.  I like the Billy's Chocolate Cupcakes, but they are a bit dry and produce a lot of crumbs.  Making them somewhat messy to eat.  I want a chocolate cupcake with a little denser flavor and moister texture.  I love a challenge.  Especially one that involves trying out numerous chocolate cupcake recipes and baking lots of chocolate cupcakes.  Because that means only one thing...eating lots of chocolate cupcakes!  

I figured I would start with my most reliable Cupcake Cookbook - 125 Best Cupcake Recipes by Julie Hasson.  Every recipe I have made from this cookbook has turned out great.  If you only have one cupcake recipe cookbook in your library, I suggest this one.  These cupcakes turned out delicious and are definitely a keeper.  Combined with the Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream they were pure heaven.  I can tell I'm going to be making these chocolate cupcakes a lot and pairing them with many different frostings and buttercreams.

Just out of the oven...perfectly domed cupcakes.
Chocolate Buttermilk Cupcakes (Best Chocolate Cupcakes)
from 125 Best Cupcake Recipes by Julie Hasson

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Makes 12 cupcakes

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder, sifted (I use Valrhona)
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup buttermilk
Optional:  1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

In a small bowl, mix together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.

In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, oil, egg and vanilla until smooth.  Alternately whisk in flour mixture and buttermilk, making three additions of flour mixture and two of buttermilk, beating until batter is smooth.  Stir in chocolate chips if you want (I chose not to this time).

Scoop batter into prepared muffin pan lined with paper cups.  Bake in preheated oven for 22-27 minutes or until tops of cupcakes spring back when lightly touched.  Let cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes.  Remove from pan and let cool completely on rack.  Top cooled cupcakes with your choice of frosting or buttercream.

Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream

5 large egg whites, room temperature
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt
1 lb. (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

To make the frosting, combine the egg whites, sugar and salt in a heatproof bowl (I used the bowl of my Kitchenaid mixer) set over a pot of simmering water.  Heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture reaches 160 degrees F and the sugar has dissolved.  (A candy thermometer is crucial anytime you are cooking sugar.)

Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (using the bowl of your mixer makes this step a breeze).  Beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form and the mixture has cooled to room temperature, about 8 minutes.

Reduce the speed to medium and add the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, adding more once each addition has been incorporated.  If the frosting looks soupy or curdled, continue to beat on medium-high speed until thick and smooth again, about 3-5 minutes more (don't worry, it will come together!).  Stir in the vanilla extract and mix until incorporated.  Tint with paste icing color if desired.

Yield: about 5 cups