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Chocolate Dipped Doughnut Cupcakes

Doughnuts are the new cupcake. So what does that make cake doughnuts? Morphing the two seemed like a good idea, as did dipping them into chocolate ganache – an easier way to dress up a cupcake, I think, than a typical buttercream frosting. Sprinkle colored sugar on top before it sets (or let the kids do it) and they’re dolled up in no time. These cupcakes dense and moist, not too sweet and similar in texture to a cake doughnut, and the ganache (a simple mixture of melted chocolate with cream) acts as a sort of chocolate glaze – only better.

The technique is slightly different than what I’m used to – you make a paste out of cocoa and boiling water, and then add coffee (the secret ingredient to so many of my favorite chocolate cake recipes) – it won’t make them taste like coffee, I promise. If you’re worried about the caffeine, pick up a jar of instant decaf and keep it in your cupboard to use for baking, as you would a bottle of vanilla.

Chocolate Dip Doughnut Cupcakes

adapted from The Fannie Farmer Baking Book (where it was a hoosier cake)

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 cup boiling water
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup cold strong coffee
2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350F. In a large bowl, beat the butter, oil and sugars for a minute, until well blended. Add the eggs and beat for two minutes, until pale and creamy.

Meanwhile, stir together the cocoa and boiling water – it will make a thick paste. Beat it into the butter-sugar mixture. Add half the flour, the baking soda and salt, beating on low just until combined. Add the coffee and vanilla, then the rest of the flour, beating just until blended. Divide among paper-lined muffin tins and bake for 25 minutes, until the tops are springy to the touch. Tilt them on their sides to allow steam to escape and help them cool before frosting. Makes about 1 1/2 dozen cupcakes.

Quick Ganache or Glaze: heat 1/4 cup cream and 1/4 cup honey or corn syrup in a small saucepan; take off the heat and stir in 4 oz. chopped chocolate or chocolate chips. Let sit a minute or two, then stir until smooth.

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