After the freak snowstorm here down south the roads were slick with ice, and we still decided to proceed with the February birthdays/Valentines party.
We were supposed to do only red velvet cupcakes for dessert, but after getting them into all the cupcake molds we found out that the cakes were not enough. We did not want to deprive the people of their Valentines sweetness so we decided to make more.
Even with not much in my pantry and my neighbors not having sugar in theirs (alas we could not go out to buy them because I'd be a hazard on the road) we actually created a pretty decent cupcake. Very moist (even after refrigeration) and not too sweet.
I have to write it all down since I'm known in my family to make one time hits and never remember how to make them again (thank god for blogging).
I basically took the basics from creating the red velvet and substituted the rest with what makes chocolatey-sense.
Here is my version of dark chocolate cupcakes.
1 1/2 cup of cake flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup oil
1 8 oz sour cream
2 tbsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup buttermilk
1. Mix all wet ingredients
2. Sift all dry ingredients together (or just throw them together if you don't have a mixer)
3. A 1/2 cup at a time add the dry to the wet
4. Pour 1/4 cup into each cupcake mold
5. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes
6. Poke the cupcake with a knife (whatever straight thing you have handy), if the knife comes out clean then it's done.
7. Immediately remove, and go make some more.
8. After it cools, add on top some Cream Cheese Frosting, and dust with unsweetened cocoa on top.
Do not over mix, once the last bit of flour is incorporated into the wet batter stop mixing.
It does not have to be extremely smooth, leave it as it is.
Vegetable Oil for the Pans 2 1/2 cups cake flour 1 1/2 cups sugar 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon fine salt 1 teaspoon cocoa powder 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature 2 large eggs, at room temperature 2 tablespoons red food coloring (1 ounce) 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Cream Cheese Frosting recipe follows
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil and flour 3 (9 by 1 1/2-inch round) cake pans.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In another large bowl, whisk together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla.
Using a standing mixer, mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined and a smooth batter is formed.
Divide the cake batter evenly among the prepared cake pans. Place the pans in the oven evenly spaced apart. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through the cooking, until the cake pulls away from the side of the pans, and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
Remove the cakes from the oven and run a knife around the edges to loosen them from the sides of the pans. One at a time, invert the cakes onto a plate and then re-invert them onto a cooling rack, rounded-sides up. Let cool completely.
Frost the cake. Place 1 layer, rounded-side down, in the middle of a rotating cake stand. Using a palette knife or offset spatula spread some of the cream cheese frosting over the top of the cake. (Spread enough frosting to make a 1/4 to 1/2-inch layer.) Carefully set another layer on top, rounded-side down, and repeat. Top with the remaining layer and cover the entire cake with the remaining frosting. Sprinkle the top with the pecans.
Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 pound cream cheese, softened
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter (1 cup), softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand-held electric mixer in a large bowl, mix the cream cheese, sugar, and butter on low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to high, and mix until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. (Occasionally turn the mixer off, and scrape the down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.)
Reduce the speed of the mixer to low. Add the vanilla, raise the speed to high and mix briefly until fluffy (scrape down the bowl occasionally). Store in the refrigerator until somewhat stiff, before using. May be stored in the refrigerator for 3 days.