Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Back to Basics: Triple Chocolate Cupcakes

Every baker has their go to recipes.   I've blogged many times about my go to chocolate cake, vanilla frosting, red velvet cake, chocolate frosting and yellow cakes.   Most of the time when I'm coming up with ideas I will take these basic recipes and work with them.   But sometimes I wonder if there is something I like better out there.  Could I step out of my buttercream comfort zone and find something else I like?

When my Dad asked me to make cupcakes for him to take to work to celebrate a coworkers birthday, I asked if he had a flavor in mind.  He said Chocolate.  I took this as the perfect opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and go back to the basics and find a new chocolate cupcake recipe.  I did a lot of research and discovered many of my favorite bloggers used an adaptation of my favorite devils food cupcake recipe  by Martha Stewart.   I took this as a sign that I had already found a "go to recipe" so there was really no need to do too much changing.    However, when searching I also found Annie's Eats Triple Chocolate cupcakes which involved a new chocolate icing recipe.  It looked so good, I knew I needed to try it. 

The cupcake recipe was simple to make and it was great because I was able to double the recipe, ice it with vanilla frosting and bring it to my friend Sam's 30th birthday picnic and hike!     I made another attempt at filling cupcakes and at first it seemed it might be as big of a disaster as the root beer float cupcakes!   I did discover the reasoning behind the struggles I had with filling the root beer float cupcakes though.    When I went to get the tip I had used out of the dishwasher, I discovered that it had another smaller tip inside it.  No wonder the cupcakes wouldn't fill!    While I successfully (and very easily) made the delicious ganache filling, I tried to fill them using the pastry bag method and not the cone method as Annie had suggested.  Well the filling was far too runny for that and ended up making a gigantic mess!  I eventually used a coupler top to "punch" a hole in the tops that was able to get the filling in.
But the real test was the icing.  I do love my Wilton Chocolate buttercream recipe (I mean hello, it has shortening and powdered sugar... exactly how can you go wrong??).  I was initially turned off by the use of sour cream and cream cheese in the frosting, but I have to admit, it worked out well.  The icing was so smooth it basically melted in your mouth!   I used bittersweet chocolate like the recipe said, but I honestly think it was a little too bitter and could have been sweeter.  I think I would like to experiment with using semisweet instead (or a combination) just to make it a little less bitter.  But I couldn't get over the texture!

And put it all together it was definitely a success!  My Dad said that many people commented on how good they were, which definitely makes me happy.  Especially since his office frequently gets cupcakes from Georgetown Cupcakes as gifts... now I can really know how my cupcakes stack up against "the best"

Triple Chocolate Cupcakes
Makes 24 (with lots of extra ganache)

For the Cupcakes

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened  cocoa powder
  •  1/2 cup hot water
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 tsp. baking soda
  • 2/3 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. coarse salt
  • 1 cups 2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1- 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup sour cream, at room temperature  
  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line standard cupcake pans with paper liners.  
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and hot water until smooth.  
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  4. In a medium saucepan, combine the butter and the sugar over medium heat.  Heat, stirring occasionally to combine, until the butter is melted.  
  5. Remove the mixture from the heat and transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.  
  6. Beat on medium-low speed until the mixture is cooled to the touch. 
  7.  Mix in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed and beating well after each addition. 
  8.  Mix in the vanilla and then the cocoa mixture and beat until incorporated.  
  9. With the mixer on low speed add in the dry ingredients in two batches, alternating with the sour cream, beating just until combined.
  10. Divide the batter between the prepared cupcake liners, filling them about ¾ of the way full.
  11. Bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, rotating the pans halfway through baking.  
  12. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before filling
For the ganache filling:
  • 8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp. heavy cream
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
  1. Place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl.  Heat the cream in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  
  2. Once boiling, remove from the heat and pour over the chopped chocolate.  Let stand about 1 minute.  With a whisk, gently stir the chocolate and cream together in small circles.  
  3. When the ganache has become smooth, whisk in the butter 1 piece at a time until incorporated. 
  4. Transfer the bowl to the freezer or refrigerator to chill and thicken the ganache a bit.  
  5. Whisk every 5-10 minutes to help it cool evenly.  Once the mixture is slightly thickened and no longer runny, you are ready to fill the cupcakes
  6. Fill the cupcakes by either cutting a cone shaped hole in the top and spooning in the ganache or by using a pastry bag with a medium opening pipette tip.
For the frosting:
  • 10 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  •  8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 5 tbsp. unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup plus sour cream
  1. Melt the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl set over a pot of simmering water or in the microwave for 5 minutes on 50% heat.  Set aside to cool until just barely warm (I put it in the fridge for a few minutes)
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. 
  3.  Gradually mix in the confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder and salt.  
  4. Beat in the melted and cooled chocolate and then the sour cream.  
  5. Continue beating until the mixture is smooth and well blended.  Frost cupcakes immediately
Cupcakes adapted from Annie's Eats

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