Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Basic Cupcake: Chocolate & Vanilla

I promised my co-workers I would make them cupcakes last weekend, so I quickly whipped up a batch of my favorite chocolate recipe. It's a really easy recipe to follow, and I love that it uses water to add to the moistness of the cake. As for the vanilla buttercream, I usually don't use a recipe unless I'm trying something different. I have made buttercream frosting so many times I know it like the back of my hand! I typically use a pastry bag and metal tip to frost my cupcakes (I don't know the size off-hand) and always like to top them off with sprinkles! Half of the sprinkles intended for the cupcakes usually don't make it that far - I  end up eating them - so I have learned to decorate sparingly :)
Here's the recipe I used to make the cupcakes. It's a mint chocolate cake recipe, but I have never followed through with the "mint" part of it. I've included it in the recipe in case anyone wants to make mint chocolate cupcakes (If you do, please let me know how they turn out!) You can find the original recipe here.

// Mint Chocolate Cupcakes //
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup warm water
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
48 Andes® Mints, divided use

// Directions //
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners; set aside.
Sift together cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. 
Add eggs, warm water, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla, and mix until smooth, about 3 minutes.
Using a large scoop (about 3 tablespoons), divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. Gently press one Andes Mint slightly into the surface of each cupcake. Take care to spread the batter over each mint. Bake in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes or until tops spring back when touched.
Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.
**note: I baked mine for 17 minutes and they turned out perfect. Also, I added about 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.

// Vanilla Buttercream //
Since I didn't follow a recipe for my buttercream, I have provided links to a couple different recipes that are similar to what I use!
**note: my secret ingredient is about 2 tablespoons of corn syrup. It gives frosting a rich, creamy texture.

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