I guess I have been doing a lot of food lately… This week was pretty hard for me, so for a little pick me up I turned to some double chocolate cupcakes. It did just the trick. It was also a great excuse to get out of the house and deliver some to a couple of friends.
During a fun trip to the library last week I picked up Elisa Strauss’s book Confetti Cakes for Kids. It has some pretty fabulous ideas on how to decorate various cakes, cookies, and tasty treats. One of the recipes that caught my eye was the Chocolate Cake recipe. I noticed that it called for sour cream, but I thought it would be fun to channel a little bit of Giada and substitute some mascarpone cheese (which is what I actually had in my refrigerator). It turned out great! The cupcakes were perfectly moist and not too overwhelmingly sweet.
Next was the search for frosting. I decided to try Martha Stewart’s Ultimate Chocolate Frosting. It had wonderful reviews and definitely lived up to my expectations. I used a dark dutch cocoa powder that has quite a darker color than the average cocoa powder, which was nice for my monochromatic theme with the cupcake liners and the cupcake display tree. The trick to frosting these cupcakes is to start in the middle and then work your way out. This way, it looks more like a rose bud rather than a soft serve ice cream cone. I used a large Wilton star tip to pipe the frosting and kept twisting my wrist to keep the peaks where I wanted them to go. It was surprisingly easy and they turned out looking pretty nice.
- 2⅔ cups (12 oz) all-purpose flour
- 1¼ cups plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (8 oz) mascarpone cheese, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon pure almond extract*
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1¼ (10 oz) cups strongly brewed coffee, room temperature**
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Place your cupcake liners in your muffin pans.
- Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a separate bowl, combine mascarpone cheese with almond and vanilla extracts.
- In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until it is nicely whipped. Add the sugar and beat until smooth.
- With mixer running on low, add each egg in one at a time.
- Add mascarpone cheese mixture.
- In small batches, add the dry ingredients.
- Once the dry ingredients are incorporated add the coffee and beat until well combined.
- Fill your liners and bake the cupcakes in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they spring back after being touched.
- Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting.
**Coffee enhances the flavor of the chocolate, but if you do not want to use it, you can replace it with equal parts milk (5 oz) and water (5 oz).
- 3½ cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1 cup cocoa powder (recommended: Valrhona)
- 1½ sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
- ½ cup milk, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Sift together the confectioner’s sugar and the cocoa powder.
- With a hand mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat the butter until fluffy.
- Add the sifted sugar and cocoa powder mixture, milk, and vanilla extract and beat until smooth and creamy.
- Ice the cupcakes either with a spatula or pipe it on with your selected piping tip.