Buttermilk-Vanilla Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Frosting — chocolate , cupcakes , dessert , frosting , vanilla cupcakes — For Two, Please

July 24, 2010

Buttermilk-Vanilla Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Frosting

When someone turns the big six-o, you better make something good. But when that person turns 60 twice? You have got to make something even better.

Ok, so what lucky duck gets two birthday parties in one year?? Turns out it's my mom, who is turning the nifty sixty this coming fall/winter...but somehow managed to finagle an early birthday celebration this summer as well (I really need to learn from her negotiation skills!).

My sister was actually in town from NYC for her last home visit before moving to Hong Kong next month for work. So of course, we had to send her off the Wong way ;). Besides eating our way through Champa Garden, Boca Nova, Wood Tavern, and Asian Pearl (errrrr...my sister was supposedly "writing a food article" for the WSJ!), we also got together for my mom's early birthday celebration since everyone was around.

Which brings me to these cupcakes. Moist, soft, airy and slightly dense, these cupcakes are versatile enough to go with any type of frosting. It's not an overtly sweet cake due to the buttermilk in it, and its vanilla flavor is actually quite subtle -- almost unrecognizable. But the wonderful texture and "mellow" vanilla flavor works, especially when paired with an intensely rich, dark chocolate frosting. Mind you, this frosting will quickly become the highlight of any cupcake or cake ensemble. Everything about it, from the smooth and creamy texture to intensely chocoholic taste, is perfect. And besides, if this is the "editors choice" for chocolate frosting at Martha Stewart Living, it better to be good.

Lucky for us, these cupcakes were round #1...which means round #2 in a couple of months can only get better! Feliz cumpleanos!! :D

Vanilla-Buttermilk Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Frosting
Recipe from Martha Stewart Living

Buttermilk-Vanilla Cupcakes
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line mini-muffin tins with paper liners.

2. Sift flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a mixer bowl. Transfer bowl to mixer, and add egg, yolk, water, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Beat on low speed until mixture is well combined and smooth, about 3 minutes.

3. Divide batter among liners, filling each cup about 2/3 full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until golden brown and a tester inserted into centers comes out clean, about 17 minutes. Let cool in tins on wire racks for 30 minutes. Invert cupcakes onto racks, and let cool completely. (Cupcakes can be stored for up to 3 days.)

Dark Chocolate Frosting
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon boiling water
2 1/4 cups (4 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 pounds best-quality semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled

Combine cocoa and the boiling water, stirring until cocoa has dissolved. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter, confectioners' sugar, and salt until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low. Add melted and cooled chocolate, beating until combined and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in the cocoa mixture. If not using immediately, frosting can be refrigerated up to 5 days, or frozen up to 1 month, in an airtight container. Before using, bring to room temperature, and beat on low speed until smooth again.

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