Monday, May 20, 2013

Chocolate Cupcakes

I've said this before and I'll say it again...I'm not really a cupcake person. But there are certain go-to, all-American classics that everyone loves and I'm pretty sure chocolate cupcakes are on the list. I wanted to do something nice for a family friend who is a fellow nurse and was very helpful to me in the last couple of months as I finished school and was looking for work. With her advice I was able to complete my final practicum and ultimately find my first job as a registered nurse. I thought to show my appreciation by baking a batch of cupcakes and bringing them to her.

Of course no good deed can be uncomplicated...or at least it seems that way to me. About two months ago I suffered a ski injury when I was a little too ambitious out on the slopes. Up until a few weeks ago I believed myself to be healing, albeit slowly, and was carrying on with my daily activities. However as the pain started to worsen instead of improve I decided to revisit my doctor and a series of X-rays confirmed that I had in fact fractured my hip. No one, including the doctor, could believe that I had been walking around with a broken hip for nearly two months!

Luckily the X-rays showed that my hip was healing and in proper alignment, meaning I did not require surgery. However I was told that I must rest and use crutches for a month so that the bone may fully heal. This has led to a lot of sitting and lying on my part and, unfortunately, limited abilities in the kitchen.

My family has been extremely helpful during this time and accommodated me in many ways. Despite my limitations, I still wanted to bake the cupcakes and my brother was kind enough to help me in the kitchen. Having a Kitchen Aid stand mixer also helped because I could just dump the ingredients in the bowl and let it do all the hard work, with just some occasional scraping on my part.

Even though I may not be a cupcake person even I have to admit that these chocolate cupcakes were delicious. They were not fluffy and cakey as cupcakes tend to be, but rather dense and chewy. They definitely had a "bite" and the chocolate frosting just added to their already rich flavor. The quantities in the recipe were a little strange so I was somewhat hesitant at first, but I trust my favorite food blog Annie's Eats and it did not disappoint.

Chocolate Cupcakes
Note: The recipe makes approximately 24 cupcakes.
  • ½ cup + 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • ½ cup + 1 tbsp hot water
  • 2¼ cups flour
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup + 1 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tbsp vanilla 
  • ¾ cup sour cream
  1. In a small bowl, combine the cocoa powder and hot water and whisk until smooth.  
  2. In another medium bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and whisk to blend.
  3. Combine the butter and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is smooth and the butter is completely melted.  
  4. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium-low speed until the mixture is cool, about 4-5 minutes.  
  5. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  
  6. Blend in the vanilla and then the cocoa mixture until smooth.  
  7. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three additions alternating with the sour cream, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing each addition just until incorporated.
  8. Divide the batter evenly into two well-greased or paper-lined standard-sized muffin pans. Bake for 15-18 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. 
  9. Cool for 5-10 minutes in the pan before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Chocolate Frosting
Note: The frosting sets quickly so make sure you are ready to use it as soon as it is ready.
  • 6.5 oz (180 grams) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • ¼ cup (4 tbsp) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • cup sour cream
  1. Melt the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl set over a pot of simmering water.  Set aside to cool until just barely warm.
  2. Beat the butter and cream cheese together until pale and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Gradually mix in the sugar, cocoa powder and salt.  
  4. Beat in the melted and cooled chocolate and then the sour cream.  
  5. Continue beating until the mixture is smooth and well blended.  Frost cupcakes immediately before the chocolate hardens and the frosting sets.

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