Monday, September 13, 2010

Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting (9-9-10)


On September 9th, I made chocolate cupcakes; my first chocolate batch. I used Elinor Klivan’s recipe for Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting.

I was about to make these cupcakes on Friday, but realized that I didn’t have all the ingredients, at which point Kim told me that I should make the cupcakes when I actually had all the ingredients so that I wouldn’t have a long list of mistakes to put on my blog. Rather obvious, I know, but sometimes I get stuck in a plan and have trouble abandoning it. However, I did wait till I had all the ingredients and I think it paid off.

The process of baking these cupcakes was rather uneventful, that is, nothing tragic or miraculous occurred.



  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped

  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 1 1/4 cups sugar

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/2 cup sour cream

  • 1/2 cup water


  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 2 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream, at room temperature

Position rack in the middle of oven. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 12 muffin tin cups with paper liners.

Make the cupcakes:

Put chocolate in heatproof bowl or the top of a double boiler and place it over, but not touching, a saucepan of barely simmering water or the bottom of the double boiler. Stir until chocolate is melted. Remove from the water and set aside.

(I melted the chocolate in a different and simpler way by Kim’s suggestion. I simply melted the chocolate in a frying pan on very low heat, constantly stirring so as to prevent the chocolate from burning. It took about five minutes to completely melt 3 oz. of chocolate)


Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and sugar until smoothly blended, about 2 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. On low speed, mix in the melted chocolate. On medium speed, add the eggs one at a time, mixing until each is blended. Add the vanilla and beat until the mixture looks creamy, about 1 minute. Mix in the sour cream until no white streaks remain. On low speed, add half of the flour mixture, mixing just to incorporate it. Mix in the water. Mix in the remaining flour mixture until it is incorporated and the batter looks smooth.


Fill each liner with a generous 1/3 cup of batter to just below the top of the liner. Bake until the tops feel firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. (I baked for about 25 minutes) Cool the cupcakes for 10 minutes in the pan on a wire rack.

Make the frosting:

(same process for melting chocolate)

Sift the powdered sugar and cocoa powder into a large bowl. Add the butter and, using an electric mixer on low speed, beat until smoothly blended, about 2 minutes. At first the mixture will look crumbly, but then it will form a smooth mass. Beat in the melted chocolate. Add the vanilla and cream, mixing to incorporate. On medium speed, beat the frosting for at least 3 minutes, until it looks smooth and creamy and the color lightens. Use a small spatula to spread about 3 tablespoons of frosting of frosting on top of each cupcake, mounding the frosting in the center.

My method of using the frosting was a bit different.

As the book Hello, Cupcake! by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson teaches, you can use a Ziplock bag to pipe your frosting. Place your piping tip in the corner of the bag and cut a miniscule hole in the corner (about 1/16 inch or just eye-ball it to be a little smaller than the width of the narrow end of your tip). Position the tip so that it is held in place by the hole. Hold the bag in your hand and fold out about half of the bag. Spoon the frosting in to the bag, which is now supported by the palm of your hand. Fold the sides of the bag up again and fasten with a rubber band. Mine looks the opposite of professional, but it works.


I used a Decorating Tip that I bought before this project. It’s Wilton’s #10 Round for balls, beads, and figure piping. Because it is a simple round tip, I thought it would be good for making a simple, dollop look. However, either because I was wrong about the tip, or because of the fact that the frosting was brown… the result resembled dog poo:


Thankfully, my new cake spreader, Wilton’s 9’’ Angled Stainless Steel Spatula, came to the rescue. I also added some sprinkles, after much deliberation about what to top them with.




(Or, the humorously ugly ones):


The entire batch:



Milly: Very good. I like how the taste of the cake and the frosting are different even though they are both chocolate flavored.

Kim: *smiles giddily and eats more* The cake is light and fluffy.

Owen: Some! More! Bite!

Aubrey: They are good, even though I don’t like chocolate. (In retrospect: I thought they were scrumpuous, but the frosting was a bit too soft.)

David: Oooh they look so good! (After eating: They are good! Mmm.)

Ruth: Yum!

My opinion: I thought the cupcakes tasted very good. The cake was moist and continued to stay moist a few days after. For being made with a lot of chocolate, they did not taste heavy or too sweet. The chocolate flavor was pure and very counter to the processed taste you would get from cupcakes at the grocery store. I attribute this to Baker’s Pure Unsweetened Chocolate.

The frosting should have been thicker, but it tasted good.

Also, I must add that some of the cupcakes had strange areas in the center that looked like gooey cocoa powder. This did not affect the taste, and I'm guessing was either due to the cupcakes being a bit undercooked, or, I did not stir the batter enough. Or maybe it was completely normal and I just don't know.

But overall, I deem the batch a success!

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