Monday, August 25, 2008

Love Dish: Sunday Cupcakes

Apparently following the mini dessert craze sweeping DC, the August edition of Food and Wine magazine included a great section called “Perfecting the Cupcake.” It featured two cake batter recipes (golden and chocolate), three frostings (white buttercream, chocolate and marshmallow), and a multitude of topping suggestions (including caramel-pretzel, rocky road and strawberry shortcake). I tried them out, and I can honestly say they’re some of the best cupcakes I’ve ever had.

My favorite version is below, and will henceforth be known as “Sunday cupcakes” because they made the end of the weekend a whole lot easier to take. Try them out yourself next Sunday, and if, like me, you feel a wee bit gluttonous making a dozen cupcakes all for your lonesome, just take them to work on Monday and spread the love.

Chocolate Cupcakes

4 tbsp unsalted butter
¼ cup vegetable oil
½ cup water
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup plus 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
¾ tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1 large egg
¼ cup buttermilk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper or foil liners, or coat with nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter with the vegetable oil and water over low heat.

In a large bowl, sift the flour with the sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Add the melted butter mixture and beat with a handheld mixer at low speed until smooth. Add the egg and beat until incorporated, then add the buttermilk and vanilla and beat until smooth, scraping the bottom and side of the bowl. Pour the batter into the muffin tins, filling them about three-fourths full.

Bake the cupcakes in the center of the oven for about 25 minutes, until springy and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool slightly, then transfer them to a rack to cool completely. Frost with white buttercream frosting.

White Buttercream Frosting
6 tbsp butter, softened
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp milk or heavy cream

In a medium bowl, using a handheld mixer, beat the softened butter at medium speed until smooth. Add the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract and salt and beat the mixture at low speed just until combined. Increase speed to medium and beat until smooth. Add the milk or heavy cream and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Spread the frosting on the cupcakes. Sprinkle with semisweet chocolate chips. Sigh with pleasure.

No comments: