I have recently discovered a love for cupcakes. OK, that's not quite right, I've always loved cupcakes, but I've recently discovered how much I love making them! They are just so darn pretty! There's a strange sort of calming pleasure I get when I make them, and especially frost them! I know it sounds a bit crazy, but there it is... And the best part is that they are so easy to make! You can whip up a batch in about an hour from start to finish, & then top them with whatever frosting you want. And although they are so easy to make, they can really wow your guests because if you take a little care they can look really sophisticated.
It's because of this that I've been experimenting with cupcake recipes in the attempt of finding go-to recipes that are simple, uncomplicated and made from ingredients that aren't too difficult to find. I found a really nice vanilla cupcake recipe the other day on Live Love Pasta and I tried it over Diwali when we had a few friends over for dessert. Filled them with homemade lemon curd and topped them with vanilla butter cream frosting. They were a hit with the friends.
After that success I thought I really needed an easy recipe for everyone's favorite- Chocolate cupcakes. And after a few unsuccessful attempts, I came up with one that is easy, quick and most importantly, YUMMY!
Aren't they pretty? I topped them with chocolate sprinkles
In fact the batter itself was so good that I had to resist the urge to eat it straight out of the bowl (wasn't too successful, ended up eating a few spoonfuls).
The cupcake itself was light, fluffy, moist and had a great chocolate flavor.
The icing, which was a bit of an experiment using some left over butter cream icing, was light, silky smooth, velvety and delicious. Trust me, it was so good, I literally licked the bowl clean :) What I loved about it was that it's not clawing and sweet, and even though its rich, it still tastes light. It's also not too heavy on the chocolate, so kids will love it too!
I will try the frosting again from scratch and update this post so that you can make it from scratch if you don't have some butter cream frosting in the fridge.
So now that I have my chocolate & vanilla go-to cupcake recipe, I'm looking forward to some interesting experiments with frosting combinations... will keep you updated :)
Chocolate Cupcakes (makes 12 with a bit leftover which you can eat out of the bowl)
1/4 cup un-sweetened cocoa
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
60g cup butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp honey
1/3 cup + 1 tbsp cream
1/2 cup dark chocolate (chopped up into bits- smaller the better)
1/3 cup of some old left over vanilla butter cream frosting (softened)
Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
Boil the water and stir in the cocoa until a smooth mixture forms. Allow to cool. Sift flour, salt and baking powder together. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat for about 2 minutes. Whisk in the vanilla and honey, and alternately add the flour and cocoa mixture, starting and ending with the flour.
Pour into a lined muffin tin, about 3/4 way up and bake for about 20 minutes. Check them after about 15 minutes and keep an eye on them so that they don't dry out or burn. NOTHING worse than DRY cupcakes! They are ready when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
For the frosting, heat 1/3 cup cream in a pan till it just comes to boil. Remove from heat and add the chocolate. Stir constantly till the chocolate melts and you get a completely smooth mixture. Place in refrigerator till just cool. In a bowl, whisk the butter cream frosting till it is creamy and soft. Add the tablespoon of cream and continue to whisk. slowly add the chocolate mixture, all the while continuing to whisk. Fill mixture in a piping back and pipe onto cooled cupcakes.
[All images- Shalini Pereira]