The past week I've been a tad bit on the ill side. This weekend I finally felt somewhat better and went hard at it at the gym yesterday. Now, I can't move many parts of my body, mainly my arms and legs. However, my fingers are working just peachy. The weather is sunny with clouds intermingled in the sky but super windy. For those of you who don't know, a storm passed through So Cal yesterday and thus, it's quite cold outside! So, immobile body + cold weather outside + working fingers = a fine time to write a post :-)
As usual, life is busy. Gosh, when am I not busy? If you can't think of an answer well, neither can I. We're coming up on Week 8 tomorrow and ooh, that means that the semester will be halfway over. My classes are keeping my head in the books, especially anatomy and physiology. What's my latest venture? Memorizing muscles. Oh yeah, you wish your life was like mine!
However, I did manage to sneak some time in to make chocolate cupcakes. See, I had to make some for a baby shower and actually, what I ended up doing was make a test batch for my Principle of Foods class. I wanted them to taste them and let me know if there were any changes or modifications I needed to make as I had just created the recipe. Well, they didn't think anything needed to be changed so, yay! I went forward in making another couple of batches for the baby shower and they were a huge success there.
If you're a chocoholic/chocolate lover, then these cupcakes are for you! They are so chocolatey and have a lovely cakey, dense texture. Light and subtle these ain't. They're packed full of that wonderful flavor that you and I enjoy. I used espresso in my batter to enhance the chocolate flavor. You don't taste the coffee flavor at all. However, some people might have aversions to coffee so I'll have a substitute down in the recipe section. They also include buttermilk which I think makes them super-duper moist! Who likes a dry cupcake?
As always, it's an easy recipe to whip up in no time! A little vanilla buttercream frosting on top (thanks to Alice Curran of Savory Sweet Life) and you're golden! We all know that I'm not a fan of cupcakes that are 50% cake and 50% frosting. I just don't get that. Frankly, I'm not the biggest frosting person but I felt these needed some sort of frosting on top. That's why I didn't pipe too much on. You only need a little bit to elevate the cupcake to another level!
One of my classmates said, "Hester, I had to make chocolate cupcakes for a baby shower a couple of weeks ago and you know what? Yours are way better." Thanks so much, Mary! That was quite a compliment :-) Also, that particular day in class, our teacher had brought her camera to photograph our salads that day. She was kind enough to take the picture below as well as give us some photography tips!
|Photo by Jackie Larson|
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons ground chocolate (Ghiradelli's)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup brewed espresso, coffee, OR hot water
1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Line your muffin pan with liners.
2. SIFT all the dry ingredients together in a bowl and set aside. *It is crucial to sift the cocoa powder and ground chocolate so that there will not be any lumps in the batter. Trust me--I know from experience. Test batch, remember?*
3. Cream the butter and sugar together until well combined.
4. Add in the eggs, one at a time. Then, add the vanilla extract.
5. Combine the buttermilk and espresso. *Easy way to do it is to measure them both in the same liquid measuring cup and fill to the 1 cup line.*
6. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a spatula. Alternate adding in the dry mixture and the liquid.
7. Fill the muffin pans about halfway full (a little less is fine) and bake in the oven for 16 minutes.
8. Remove from the oven and let them sit in the pan for about five minutes. Then, transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack and let them cool completely.
9. After they have completely cooled, the time has come to frost them (if you want).
- Click here for the recipe I used. However, I didn't use as much sugar because I don't like my frostings terribly sweet. CRUCIAL: sift the powdered sugar before adding to the butter! This way, you'll avoid lumps in your frosting.
|It is imperative that you sift your cocoa powder and ground chocolate. SUPER important! No one likes a lumpy batter.|
|Cream your butter and sugar together.|
|An egg goes in one at a time.|
|Add in your vanilla extract after the eggs have been mixed in.|
|See? No lumps! All sifted and ready to be added in.|
|Alternate the addition of the dry mix and liquid mix.|
|Look at that... I wouldn't blame you if you wanted to clean off that paddle yourself...|
|I used an ice cream scoop to fill them up. I only filled half the scoop to make sure that I didn't put too much in the pan.|
|I find it's important to let them rest in the pan for a few minutes because if you take them out immediately, they're too soft and will lose their shape when transporting from pan to wire rack.|
|What beauty, right? I forget where I bought the liners but they sure do jazz up the cupcakes! Some sort of chocolate frosting would also elevate the chocolate meter on these :-)|
|Piping these cupcakes took between five and six hours. My right hand definitely hurt; it was in a temporary piping position for a long time!|
|These were my test batch. I wasn't happy with the way I piped them, thinking they looked a little too juvenile. After spending all that time piping the cupcakes for the baby shower, I regretted not going with this design.|
|The colors and design (no one cupcake looked alike) reminded me of a wedding cake.|