Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Strawberry Frosting

The boy's school had a bake sale on Friday.  I forgot about it until Wednesday.  Really, his school tells us about things waaaaaay too early.  Like I'm supposed to remember in April, a notice that got sent home in January.  Sheesh.

I guess what I'm trying to say is: some people are organized.  I am not one of them.  So instead of making fabulous, beautiful, amazing, creatively genius-y sugar cookies for the bake sale, I made cupcakes.  Go me!

But, I remembered to take a few pictures for anyone who's interested in seeing the process.  I can seriously whip this recipe out in no time these days.  I make it that often.

First things first, boil 2 cups of water and mix it with one cup of cocoa powder.  Let that cool to room temperature.

That looks kind of weird, right?  Here's a tip: Mix the cocoa and water the night before and leave it in the fridge.  Shake it up a little when you're ready to use it.  You'll get a few air bubbles, but we can deal with air bubbles.  Because if you're in a hurry you really don't want to wait for the cocoa mixture to cool down.

Next, measure the dry ingredients and whisk them together in a bowl.  Set it aside for now.

Put butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and cream it together until it is light and fluffy.

Get some eggs.

I love eggs.  Someday I'm going to have chickens.  But for now, I just have eggs.

Anyhoo, mix the eggs in one at a time.  I like to crack my eggs into the little blue bowl first, then beat them a little with a fork before adding to the mixer.  Alton Brown told me to, and he seems to know what he's doing.

Add a heaping tablespoon of vanilla extract.  Real vanilla, please.

And next you will mix the dry ingredients and the cooled cocoa mixture alternately into the creamed mixture.

I start and end with the dry ingredients.  I'm probably doing it backwards.  I can never remember how you're supposed to do it.

There's the last of the cocoa.  And here's where I forgot to take another picture until after I put two tins of cupcakes into the oven.

There's what it will look like when it's done.  Only triple that amount.

Pretty little cupcakes before they go into the oven...

...and after they come out.

Why yes, that is two different cupcake tins.  I only have three, and they're all strikingly different from each other.

Remove your cupcakes to a cooling rack and hold onto your hat.  Because now comes the fun part...strawberry frosting!

I know I just posted about frosting, but I'm out to prove how adaptable this recipe is.

Throw a cuppa butter and a cuppa shortening into your freshly washed mixing bowl.  Because you only have one bowl, too...right?

Beat the snot out of it (technical baking term right there...there will be a quiz later) for a few minutes.  Like 4 or 5.  It will look light and silky and just barely yellow.

 Throw in a heaping tablespoon of vanilla and a quarter teaspoon of salt. (I guess you could use salted butter if you want to do it the easy way...I feel like I have more control this way.)

Mix that all together, then dump in 2 pounds of powdered sugar and mix on low speed until blended.

Yeah, like that.  It will be very thick.  Your mixer may start making angry noises at you.  Be careful that it doesn't.

I started out with a few tablespoons of strawberry puree (just throw some thawed frozen berries in the food processor for a moment to make the puree).

*Make a mental note to thank Jen at Cake Wrecks for making it impossible for you to say the word "puree" without mentally singing "raspberry puree" to the tune of Prince's "Raspberry Beret".

Thanks, Jen.

Add a splash of heavy cream and keep an eye on it.  This looks nice, but it's still too thick for my liking.

A little more cream, a couple more tablespoons of strawberry puree, and a small splash of strawberry extract later and it's just right!  Turn the speed up and let it go for a few minutes.

Gorgeous!  Light, pink, fluffy perfection.

Now the cupcakes should be cool, so start frosting!  I made swirls, roses and carnations.  The swirls had white sugar pearls, the carnations had disco dust (!) and the roses were nekkid.

Sorry for the bad photo.  It was the worst one I got all day.  Figures.

I could use this one, but it gives me vertigo.  Not sure what happened here.

The girl thought the carnations were awesome.

They were really pretty with the disco dust (!).  It was baby pink.

Here's the recipe.  I've linked to it before, but I don't know that I've ever put it on the blog.

Dark Chocolate Cake I

2 cups boiling water
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 Tbs vanilla extract

-Whisk boiling water into cocoa powder and set aside to cool.
-Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside.
-Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs one at a time. Stir in vanilla.
-Add dry ingredients alternately with cooled cocoa mixture.
-Put into prepared pans and bake.

This recipe makes about 8 cups of batter.  The original recipe calls for three 9 inch pans, but for me that is too many.  I usually make 2 - 8" layers, 1 - 10" and 1 - 6", or 36 cupcakes.  (If you use the right ice cream scoop for portioning, you will get exactly 36 cupcakes.)

Oh, and the cupcakes were a success at the bake sale.  WooHoo!  And I took a few to work, where they were promptly scarfed down.  They're yummy.  You should try them.

Well, that's all for now.



  1. That frosting is beautiful and I totally envy your piping skills.

  2. I love bake sales! Picking up a single homemade cupcake for a good cause makes me so happy! Your cupcakes no doubt made many folks quite happy. The frosting variations look super cute, too!