Friday, June 5, 2009
Chocolate and coffee . . . a well-established flavor match made in heaven, don't you think? I know you love chocolate, but if you also can't live without good coffee (I'm raising my hand; you too?), then you're probably a custom-made candidate for these cupcakes. They're the deepest and the darkest. Well fine, you say, but are they moist? Honey, does Betty Crocker like to bake? Yes, they're very moist! Made with sour cream, they're tender and delish.
They get their darkness from strong black coffee, and their deep chocolate flavor from a sizable portion of Dutch process cocoa (use the best kind you can get your hands on--really). The icing derives its fluffiness from whipping cream, its stability from shortening, its mocha flavor from coffee and a tiny splash of Kahlua (the latter is optional), and--of course--its unspeakable charm from chocolate. This is a ridiculously quick and easy cake/cupcake recipe. I've made it many times, and it's never let me down. I think you'll like it.
Deep Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line two 12-cup muffin tins, or two XL muffin tins with six cups each. (You can also use this batter for a layer cake; two greased and floured 9 x 2" pans, or one 13 x 9" pan; increase the baking time accordingly.)
1 3/4 cups AP flour, unsifted
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup Dutch process cocoa
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
1 cup brewed coffee, strong (not hot)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sour milk or buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
In a large mixer bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and powder, and salt. Into that bowl, pour the eggs, coffee, sour/buttermilk, sour cream, oil, and vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed for about two minutes.
Your batter will be quite thin, so you may want to transfer it to a spouted container in order to more easily pour it into the muffin cups. Fill the cups three-quarters of the way full. Bake for 17 -20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a few cupcakes comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool for a couple of minutes in the pan, then finish cooling on a rack. When they're completely cooled they can be frosted.
Fluffy Mocha Frosting
2 cups vegetable shortening
8 cups (approximately 2 lbs.) of confectioners' sugar (If it's Domino's "10x" then you likely don't need to sift it, but if it's just about any other brand, you should really sift it well beforehand. Trust me. I speaking from sad experience.)
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup of heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp. strong brewed coffee, very warm
4 to 6 Tbsp. grated chocolate, any kind you love (I usually use dark bittersweet, either Callebaut or Ghirardelli's)
1 tsp. instant coffee powder/granules (or espresso powder)
2 tsp. of Kahlua (optional)
In a large mixer bowl, cream the shortening on medium speed until light and fluffy (a few minutes).
While the shortening's mixing, in a very small bowl mix the warm coffee and the grated chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted and combined. Add the Kahlua, if using, only after the chocolate and coffee are combined. Set this little bowl aside.
Add the sugar gradually to the shortening, in the large mixing bowl, and continue creaming until well blended. Add the salt and the vanilla, still mixing at medium speed at this point. Pour 2 oz. of the heavy cream in, then pour in the chocolate-coffee-Kahlua mixture. Mix on low speed until just blended.
Pour 4 oz. more of the heavy cream into the bowl. Increase the speed to high and beat until the entire mixture is light and fluffy, a couple of minutes or more. Stop every now and then to scrape the bowl and the beaters; the shortening tends to stick to the bottom and the sides of the bowl.
Reserve the remaining 2 oz. of cream to use just in case the frosting seems too thick to you, or too dry. Add it in at your own discretion. Too thin? Add more confectioners' sugar gradually.
Refrigerate any leftover frosting. This recipe makes at least enough to frost a two-layer cake, and more than enough for 24 cucpakes.
(*The cupcake recipe is my own version of an old Hershey's classic, "Black Magic" cake. My changes include the addition of sour cream, halving the sour milk/buttermilk, and requiring Dutch process cocoa. The frosting recipe is an amalgamation of several recipes I've seen and used over time.)
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