Happy Valentine's Day

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

This morning for Valentine's Day I (actually my mom and I) made these classic chocolate cupcakes. The double chocolate cake is moist, light and very chocolatey and the milk chocolate frosting is silky smooth. These little chocolate cakes are perfect for Valentine's Day but are certainly great all year round - birthdays, parties...

I have made this cake as both a layer cake and a sheet cake, but never cupcakes, so of course there was a little hiccup - I filled the muffin tins a bit too full and had a little overflow. So they aren't exactly the prettiest cupcakes in the world but they are certainly tasty. It seems unlikely that I would ever get hired to work at a fancy cupcake bakery, like Sprinkles, (considering the fact that I am slow, messy and sometimes, okay very often, a disaster in the kitchen), but today I proved that even if I did get hired, I would surely get myself quickly fired. Fortunately today there was no job on the line and no pastry school chef to critique me - just some family and friends happy to indulge in a little Valentine's Day treat.

Double Chocolate Cupcakes with Milk Chocolate Frosting

Makes 24 cupcakes

This cake recipe I developed myself. The frosting, however, comes from pastry chef, Kate Zuckerman.

2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder (Green and Black’s)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 oz. dark chocolate (70%), chopped
1 oz. milk chocolate, chopped
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 24 muffin tins with paper liners. Set aside.

In a medium bowl sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a double boiler, or by carefully using the microwave, melt the dark and milk chocolate in a medium bowl. Set aside and let cool.

In a medium bowl fitted for an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar on medium/high speed until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down the sides of bowl as needed. Reduce the speed to low and add the melted chocolate and the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the buttermilk; beating until combined after each addition.
Fill each cupcake lined tin 3/4 of the way with the cake batter. Bake the cupcakes until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes. Carefully transfer the cupcakes to wire racks and let cool completely.

Meanwhile make the milk chocolate frosting and frosting and decorate the cupcakes as desired.

Milk Chocolate Frosting

Frosts 24 cupcakes or 1 nine inch layer cake

This recipe comes from Kate Zuckerman’s The Sweet Life. I have also made this same frosting with different ratios of milk and dark chocolate, as well as with all semi-sweet chocolate for darker and less sweet variation.

10 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly chilled (around 60-70 degrees F)

In a double boiler, or by carefully using the microwave, melt the chocolate in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the cream. Pour the hot cream into the melted chocolate, whisking continuously to make a shiny, smooth ganache. Refrigerate the ganache, and stir with a rubber spatula until it is slightly chilled, about 60-70 degrees F.

Use a hand held electric mixer to whisk the chilled ganache with the salt, sifted powdered sugar and slightly chilled butter on medium speed for 4-6 minutes. The frosting should hold the lines of the whisk, lighten in color and increase in volume. Frost cake immediately or whisk again before frosting.


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