Thursday, November 3, 2011

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Buttercream

I have been taking exams for the past two weeks. Yes, two weeks. The last one is on Friday, and by Wednesday all I wanted to do was sleep and bake. So that is what I did :) 

I went out to lunch after the worst exam (Pharamcolo-blech) to a place called Take the Cake here in Cincinnati. It is pretty much the type of place I would love to open when I retire. It has a fantastic bakery, but also serves up a small menu of fresh and delicious food. I had the open-faced meatball sandwich with this fantastic pesto. And I had a moca cupcake. Yup, I broke Paleo for the day. Worth it. 

The cupcake made me want to bake even more. So Wednesday when I was at home "studying" I decided I should make something for my church small group. Initially I wanted to do a chocolate-espresso style cupcake, but I didn't have any instant coffee. Then I thought about chocolate-peanut butter, but I am lacking peanut butter. Then I considered making these beauties, but no corn syrup put a kabosh on that plan. And then I thought, well, what is the common denominator in all of these cupcakes? duh, chocolate.

And with that, I present to you a Dark Chocolate Cupcake with Dark Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes (from Cooks Illustrated, “American Classics 2009”)
makes 12 cupcakes; do not double recipe… make two separate batches if you need more
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I went with 82% Scharffen Berger)
  • 1/2 cup (1 1/2 oz) Dutch-processed cocoa (Hershey's Special Dark for me)
  • 3/4 cup (3 3/4 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup (5 1/4 oz) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz) sour cream (I used Greek yogurt)
  1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard-sized muffin pan (1/2 cup capacity) with baking-cup liners.
  2. Combine butter, chocolate and cocoa in medium heatproof bowl. Set bowl over saucepan containing barely simmering water; heat mixture until butter and chocolate are melted and whisk until smooth and fully combined. Set aside to cool until just warm to touch.
  3. Whisk flour, baking soda and baking powder in small bowl to combine
  4. Whisk eggs in second medium bowl to combine; add sugar, vanilla and salt and whisk until fully incorporated. Add cooled chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Sift about one-third of flour mixture over chocolate mixture and whisk until combined; whisk in sour cream until combined; then sift in remaining flour mixture and whisk batter until it is homogenous and thick.
  5. Divide batter evenly among muffin pan cups. Bake until skewer inserted into center of cupcakes comes out clean, 18-20 minutes.
  6. Cool cupcakes in muffin pan on wire rack until cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes. Carefully lift each cupcake from muffin pan and set on wire rack. Cool to room temperature before icing, about 30 minutes.
Dark Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
  • 2 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (Again with the Hershey's Special Dark)
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 5 tablespoons evaporated milk (I used whole milk)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. In a medium bowl, sift together the confectioners' sugar and cocoa, and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter until smooth, then gradually beat in sugar mixture alternately with evaporated milk. Blend in vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy. If necessary, adjust consistency with more milk or sugar.


  1. How do you get your chocolate buttercream to get that great chocolate shine? Mine tend to turn out rather pale and I can't tell if I'm using too little/too much dark cocoa powder, or if I'm missing an ingredient altogether.

  2. I think it is a combination of the KitchenAid mixer and the dark cocoa powder.