Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting
12 golden cupcakes
- 6 ounces semisweet chocolate
- 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- Sprinkles, confetti candy, coarse sugar,
or any edible decorations
- Measuring cups and spoons
- 12-cup standard muffin pan
- Paper liners or silicone baking cups
- Cutting board
- Serrated or chef’s knife
- 2 medium, 1 small, and 1 large bowl
- Small saucepan
- Plastic wrap
- Fine-mesh sieve
- Table fork
- Electric mixer
- Silicone spatula
- Oven mitts
- Cooling rack
- Small offset spatula
Before you begin
Position an oven rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the muffin pan with the paper liners.
Make the frosting
Put the chocolate on the cutting board. Using the serrated knife, chop the chocolate into small pieces. Transfer the chocolate to 1 of the medium bowls. Pour the cream into the small saucepan and place over medium heat, just until it begins to boil.
Turn off the heat
Immediately pour the cream over the chocolate. Let the mixture sit for 2 minutes, then whisk gently until blended and smooth. Set aside to cool, whisking gently every 15 to 20 minutes, until the mixture has the consistency of a creamy frosting. You can even do this the night before, cover it with plastic wrap, and leave it on the counter.
Make the cupcake batter
Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt into the other medium bowl. Crack the eggs into the small bowl and add the vanilla. Using the fork, beat the eggs lightly, until just evenly mixed.
Place the softened butter and sugar in the large bowl. Using the mixer, cream the butter and sugar for 6 to 7 minutes, until they are very light, almost white, in color. Turn off the mixer. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with the silicone spatula. With the mixer running on medium speed, add the egg mixture slowly, about a tablespoon at a time. Let each addition blend into the butter completely (it will only take about 5 seconds) before adding the next. Once you are finished, turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Add half the flour mixture to the bowl. Turn the mixer on low speed, and beat just until the flour mixture is blended in, then add half of the buttermilk. Beat it in on low, just until blended, then repeat with the remaining flour and buttermilk. Mix only until you don’t see any more dry patches. Turn off the mixer. Scrape down the bowl one last time, and make sure there aren’t any dry bits or butter clumps hiding in the bottom of the bowl.
Fill the cups and bake the cupcakes
Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups. They should be no more than 1/2 full. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the tops of the cupcakes are firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Using oven mitts, transfer the pan to the cooling rack and let the cupcakes cool completely (at least 40 minutes) before topping with frosting.
Frost the cupcakes
Lift the cupcakes out of the pan and put them on your work surface or a piece of parchment paper. Divide the frosting evenly among the cupcake tops. There is enough frosting for about 2 level tablespoons on each cupcake. Use the offset spatula to spread it close to the edges. Decorate the top with sprinkles or whatever you like. You can keep the cupcakes at room temperature for 2 days, and after that store any leftovers in the refrigerator.
-From Baking Kids Love by Sur La Table with Cindy Mushet/Andrews McMeel Publishing