Monday, June 07, 2010

Chocolate Butter Cupcakes

There comes a time in every girl's life when she really needs her chocolate fix. Like, when all she is thinking about is chocolate, and when she can get some chocolate, and what kind of chocolate, and in what form of delivery she wants her chocolate, and when this chocolate consumption can take place. You may think she is listening to you talk about your in-laws, or your back pain, or that she is hard at work, but really she is just running through all of her chocolate options and deciding which one she will take advantage of. You may be able to distract her for awhile, or satisfy her temporarily with some other delicious something, but it won't be long before the chocolate cravings begin again. She might try to settle for an easier, cheaper, and less delicious chocolate option, but oftentimes that will only make the chocolate cravings more insistent and cranky. A girl knows better--she has to have her chocolate, the kind she wants, the way she wants it, and RIGHT NOW.

Luckily for me, these chocolate cupcakes were right on schedule.

chocolate butter cupcakes with milk chocolate butter ganache

June 3, 2010
Name of cupcakes: The Fix
Occasion:HCB, and a girl just needs her chocolate
Constituents: Chocolate butter cupcakes frosted with milk chocolate butter ganache

I have baked The Cake Bible's All-American Chocolate Butter Cake countless times since receiving the book back in like, 2003 or whenever that was. It is my go-to chocolate cake recipe--delicious, tender, chocolaty, not too sweet, all the things we love about a Rose cake recipe. So coming back to basically the same recipe I know and love and can make without question the week I needed some freakin chocolate cupcakes NOW, was perfect. Good planning Marie!

chocolate butter cupcakes with milk chocolate butter ganache

These cupcakes are mixed in the classic two-stage method: all the dry ingredients are first whirled together for about 30 seconds to mix and aerate. All the butter and some liquid is next added and beat for 90 seconds to coat the flour and protect against overmixing. Lastly, the eggs and any other liquid are added in a couple of parts and then you're done. You can have cake batter ready to bake in about 2.5 minutes!

Rose has tweaked the recipe ever so slightly--The Cake Bible version tells you to take about 1/3 of the chocolate paste and mix it in with the eggs and vanilla. The rest of the chocolate paste gets beaten in with the butter. The Heavenly Cakes version has you leave all the chocolate paste together and adds a few tablespoons of water to the eggs and vanilla. All the chocolate gets mixed in with the butter. And that's pretty much the difference between the two cakes.

Of course, Rose now gives the option of using BAPF instead of cake flour, which I have taken to doing as BAPF is so much cheaper than cake flour.

chocolate butter cupcakes
cake mise en place
(actually, you only need about 1.5 sticks of butter)

My complaint with the recipe is that it makes 16 cupcakes. Not 12, not 24, but 16.  That's one full cupcake tin, plus another cupcake tin with 4 cupcakes. That made me a little grumpy so I decided to use my silicone cupcake cups and smash all 16 of them on a baking sheet (however only 15 cups fit). I discovered that these cupcake cups must be slightly smaller than the regular paper cups, because the recipe stipulates 50g of batter per cup, which would fill the cup 3/4 full. My cupcake cups were full at 45-47 g of batter, so I ended up making 18 cupcakes total. That made me less grumpy. I baked the 3 that didn't fit on the baking sheet in the toaster oven. If Mendy can, so can I!

chocolate butter cupcakes
from top left: the 16th cupcake was going into the toaster oven, after stage one of mixing, completed batter one minute later, just pulled out of the oven

Putting this batter together took longer than usual, but that was my fault. I blame it on the funk station I put together at Pandora. Is 10 am too early for funk? James Brown doesn't think so.

I've decided I don't really like using those silicone cupcake cups. The cupcakes always end up imperfectly baked, and it is hard to get the darn cupcakes out of the liners for eating. Also, I am having a hard time with my oven. Sometimes it heats to the perfect temperature, but sometimes it is too hot, and sometimes it starts out too hot but then gets too cold. The oven and I are still working things out. For these cupcakes, it remained a little too high, which led to cupcakes that domed a bit early but stayed a little undercooked at the bottom, leading to some sinking once cooled. Sigh. They were still awesome. And frosting covers a multitude of sins.

Speaking of, I decided to dig through my freezer and see what I had stashed. I found a milk chocolate buttercream that I had made in 2008, and I did a search on this blog to find out what I made it for. It was for this:

S'mores Cake

The s'mores cake! That butter"cream" was a big hardened blob of chocolate. I did have to re-melt it to get it into a tub for freezing. And this is what it looked like after it thawed out and came to room temperature:

milk chocolate buttercream

Not so creamy.

I decided to add a bunch of cream to it, kind of ganache-like, and see what happened. It took almost an entire pint of scalded cream to get that buttercream to a frosting consistency, but when it did, it looked very pretty and glossy:

milk chocolate butter ganache

It also had an ENORMOUS amount of butterfat, but don't tell anyone.

I like to frost cupcakes with the back of a spoon, which leaves ample room for liberally applied sprinkles. I have organized all my baking stuff and now have a sprinkles box. To be fair, I also keep all my food coloring in this box, but sprinkles and food coloring box is too much to say. Sprinkles box sounds much more fun!

the sprinkles box

Out of the sprinkles box I chose the little multicolored nonpareils and went to town. After sprinkling about 3/4 of the cupcakes I realised that it could look much more interesting if I heavily sprinkled only part of the cupcake, and so did some experimenting. I think I like the ones with the sprinkles just around the edge the best.

chocolate butter cupcakes with milk chocolate butter ganache

How were the cupcakes and the excessively butterfatted frosting? The cupcakes were like good old chocolate friends: tender, light, chocolaty, not too sweet, and delicious. The frosting was a bit too rich, but still delicious, and I love the crunch of the nonpareils. Cookie called this "the anti-Cookie" as her favorite cake is white-white, but she ate one all the same. Zetta ate all her cupcake but needed me to finish the other half of her frosting, which I did. The frosting is a bit much. I do understand if one needs to get rid of it in order to finish the cake. The cake is, after all, the most important part. But the sprinkles are pretty important too.

chocolate butter cupcakes with milk chocolate butter ganache

15 comments:

  1. I think your cuppies look very good sprinkled liberally or artistically one sided!
    I agree about the silicone cupcake single liners. I haven't had a good batch with them. But I love my 6 cup silicone muffin/cupcake thingy. They bake really well in that.
    Someone said to bake the single silicone moulds on a baking sheet with a raised rack. I haven't tried it, but it is suppose to allow more hot air to circulate underneath, so they will bake evenly.
    I am sorry your new oven hasn't given you a a consistent heated welcome. Bad oven, bad oven!

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  2. Jennifer,
    I used to like a little dessert after dinner but I've stopped that and now I have a bit of chocolate to satiate my sweet tooth. Like clockwork I crave chocolate after dinner and I would have broken my no dessert rule for these cupcakes.

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  3. Very pretty! And your S'Mores cake looks deadly delicious!

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  4. Nice post. I think I like the sprinkles best around the edges - but I would take them any ole way on you cupcake.

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  5. Your first paragraph: truer words have never been spoken! Love it--it's the story of my life! I wonder if you can really tell the difference in the new and old chocolate butter cake recipe. Have you done a side by side comparison?

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  6. ב''ה

    Great post.

    I hear you about the chocolate craving. My wife simply does not believe me that males can have the same type of chocolate cravings. I beg to differ. :)

    They look great btw. Glad they turned out well for you.

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  7. Melinda, I do rather like the look of the one sided cupcake. I will have to suck it up and buy a silicone muffin/cupcake thingy; but until I do I will try to remember the rack trick.
    I know--bad oven! I am so confused by it. Maybe the previous tenant never used it so it is all out of practice. The first time I tried to preheat to 350 I looked in after about 30 minutes and my oven thermometer was at 400! 20 minutes after that, it was 375. What? I turned it down to 325, and 20 minutes later it was at 325 exactly.

    This time, I had it set to 350 and it stayed up at 375 the entire time. Hmm.

    Oriana, well these cupcakes are just barely a departure from straight up chocolate so it would be an easy decision!

    Vicki, thank you!

    Jenn, thanks! We have a lot in common--chocolate, baking, our first name, knitting...can't wait to meet you via that meetup we dream about!

    BSA, thank you! Its hard to say no to a cupcake with sprinkles, isn't it?

    Amanda, I knew you would understand the chocolate fix! I couldn't tell a difference, but that side by side comparison might be necessary research.

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  8. Very pretty, I'm with BSA, I love the sprinkles around the outside edge.

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  9. Great post!! LOL! Are you sure that buttercream was from 2008 and still can use? LOL! I thought you can only keep buttercream in freezer for 3 months...but now that you confirmed that it is ok..lol..i think i can keep mine longer too..LOL!

    I love how you decorated your cupcakes with sprinkles!

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  10. Mendy, I find it awesome that you have the chocolate cravings too! Solidarity! I wish your cupcakes turned out well for you :(

    Lois B, thank you, those were my favorites too!

    faithy, yep, I often use frozen buttercreams way over 3 months old with no detriment to their taste or consistency! I like to consider 3 months a guideline rather than a hard and fast rule :)

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  11. AH! I knew I was not the only one with the 16 cupcake number beef! United we stand - STANDARD SIZE PLEASE! :)

    Since I'm reading this post from work, I cannot see the pictures.. but from all the comments I'm reading, I'm figuring they are AWSOME - the sprinkles seem to be a hit :)

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  12. Monica, I know! What is wrong with 12 or 24? I'm thinking everything might be better with sprinkles!

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  13. ECL--Life is better with sprinkles! And, I'm glad to see you have a sprinkles box now!

    I could have used 1 or 10 of those cupcakes a few days ago. Doing better now!

    love you,
    joelf

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  14. Dear Joelf, I too wish you could have eaten 1-10 of these cupcakes so that I wouldn't have had too. I'm glad you're doing better and have fun this weekend! Jerk.

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  15. I love the last picture especially, ECL! That frosting must have packed one heck of a butterfat punch!

    Sorry your new oven is giving you trouble. But I have no doubt you'll figure out its tricks. The stove we had when we moved into this house had several idiosyncrasies -- various burners heated up and cooled down in weird ways, but over 5 years I got so used to it that when we finally got a new gas range it took me awhile to re-learn how to cook when the heat wasn't constantly changing!

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