Sex and the City had it.
The Devil wears Prada featured it.
And it was a must-see during my third visit to New York City. Magnolia Bakery, situated on Bleeker Street in the West Village, is known for its cupcakes made world-famous in popular culture.
I’d brought my appetite for something classic and tried the Devil’s Food Cupcake, a cocoa sponge-cake topped with chocolate buttercream. It was pretty good – not cloyingly sugary, which is typically associated with cupcakes.
Still, I know of friends who pause a minute to admire prettily-piped buttercream frosting, before scraping dollops off their cupcakes. Because they find it too rich and buttery. Or think it’s fattening. Such audacity, I hear bakers hiss.
This got me thinking when I made some dark chocolate cupcakes last week.
Instead of incorporating a buttercream frosting – which is made of primarily butter, sugar and cream/milk – I wanted to make something less rich, less sweet and perhaps more universally appreciated.
So I decided on a whipped chocolate ganache frosting, made of pure dark chocolate and heavy cream. After all, nothing quite beats the decadent taste and luscious texture of pure chocolate as a base, right?
Here’s what I did, adapted from Lori Longbotham’s The Chocolate Deck.
Divine Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
2 cups flour (not self-rising)
2/3 cup natural unsweetened cocoa
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup water
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla essence
7 1/2 ounces (or around 210 grams) chopped bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit, or 195 degrees Celcius.
2. Line regular muffin pan with cupcake liners.
3. In a large bowl, sift flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. In a small bowl, stir buttermilk and water.
4. Beat butter with an electric mixer on medium-high speed till fluffy. Add sugar and beat till fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Beat in vanilla.
5. Reduce speed to low and add cocoa mixture and buttermilk mixture alternately, till blended.
6. Bake 30-35 minutes.
7. Cool cupcakes on cooling rack.
1. Melt chocolate in a water bath, or bain-marie (to prevent burning of chocolate).
2. Mix in heavy cream.
3. Whisk butter.
4. Let cool and refrigerate covered, for half an hour.
5. Beat with an electric mixer on medium-high speed for at least 8 minutes, till thick enough to spread.
Makes 15 cupcakes.
On frosting, I used the very simplest technique possible – short of dipping the cupcakes in the ganache directly. But more of that in the next post!
Update: How to Frost Cupcakes (Easy!)