Friday, March 18, 2011

Chocolate Cupcakes for the Cast

This is the second of the three kinds of cupcakes I made for the cast of "Once Upon a Mattress," playing at Penfield High School through Saturday. The musical is a funny variation of the princess and the pea story, which is why they have candy peas for a garnish.

The cupcakes had a light, fluffy texture and a mild chocolate flavor. I'd prefer a denser cupcake with a more pronounced chocolate flavor, so I'll keep looking for my ultimate chocolate cupcake recipe. The frosting, on the other hand, is a keeper. Creamy and shiny with an intensely chocolate flavor, I'll use this recipe again and again.

Large Batch Chocolate Cupcakes
Adapted from "A Baker's Field Guide to Cupcakes" by Dede Wilson. I found the recipe in this article. It's very similar, BTW, to the one in the red & white check Better Homes & Gardens cookbook.
(Makes about 24 – I got 27)

2 1/4 cups (281 grams/9.9 oz) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (69 grams) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
Scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small pieces
2 cups (400 grams) sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk, at room temperature

Whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt together in a small bowl to aerate and combine; set aside.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add sugar gradually, beating until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl once or twice. Beat in vanilla extract. Beat in eggs one at a time, scraping down after each addition, allowing each egg to be absorbed before continuing. Add the flour mixture, alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with flour. Begin and end with the flour mixture, and beat briefly until smooth on low-medium speed after each addition.

Divide batter evenly among cupcake wells. Bake for about 22 minutes (15 minutes if you bake mini cupcakes), or until a toothpick inserted in the center shows a few moist crumbs. Cool pans on racks for 5 minutes, then remove cupcakes to cooling racks to cool completely.

Chocolate Ganache Frosting
Adapted from a recipe on Cupcake Bakeshop by Chockylit
9 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips (or a mixture - semisweet will make it sweeter)
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon butter, room temperature
2 cups (250 grams) powdered sugar

Put chocolate chips in a heat proof bowl.

Heat cream until bubbles form around the edge of the pan, pour cream over the chocolate. Let sit for 1 minute then stir until combined. Add butter and vanilla and stir until combined. Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixture and let cool for 10 minutes.

Add powdered sugar into the chocolate mixture and beat until combined. Continue to beat with an electric mixer until lighter in color and creamy.

Frosts 24 cupcakes

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