I adore cupcakes! I love how small they are yet are totally enough to fill one person up. They are guaranteed portion control. For some reason, I did not like making them before because I had not thought of the idea to pipe the frosting on. Silly I know, but until the cupcake shops opened up around town, I had not thought of it. Now, I pipe all of my frostings on, which makes me make more cupcakes. They are just delightful!!!
This past weekend, I attempted my cake skills again. I have to say I enjoyed every bit of it!!! I make the chocolate cake into cupcakes at first to make sure I liked the recipe. Then I made my first ever buttercream. Man that stuff is so good!!!! When I was a child, I never liked frosting very much, but now I have been converted! I had a friend help me to frost the cake, who did a beautiful job! Now I want to make tons of cakes and cupcakes for everyone! I need to open some kind of shop or bed and breakfast to serve my customers these delicious treats!
These recipes combined make my favorite combination of cake to date. A word about chocolate cakes; I think of myself as an amateur expert of chocolate cakes. I love to eat really good ones, but they are usually difficult to find. I believe the reasoning is chocolate cake dries out really fast. To bake a chocolate cake, set the timer for a few minutes less than the instruction say. Then watch the cake very carefully to have it come out perfectly moist. This includes box mixes. When you start smelling the chocolate, the cake is 1-2 minutes from being done.
I hope you enjoy these recipes. The buttercream has many ingredients and instructions; just read the instructions carefully twice! 🙂 And have the ingredients on hand. The result is fantastic!!!
Slightly Adapted from Ina Garten
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
¾ cup good cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
½ cup vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)
Frosting (see below)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease either 2 8 inch cake pans, or 24 cupcake tins. Line the cake pans with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans (or grease them).
Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl. In another bowl, mix together the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Slowly mix the dry and wet ingredients together. When everything is incorporated, stir in the hot coffee. Stir until just combined. Pour the batter into the pans of your choice. (The cupcakes fill about 2/3s full.) Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top of the batter. Bake the cake pans for about 30-35 minutes and the cupcakes for about 13-16 minutes. Cool the cakes in the pans for 30 minutes. Cool the cupcakes in the pan for 5 minutes. Turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
Caramel Espresso Buttercream
From Tish Boyle
The original recipe covered two recipes of the cake from above (the layered birthday cake, and 24 cupcakes) so beware!
1 ¼ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 ¼ cup half and half
½ cup light corn syrup
¼ teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon espresso powder, dissolved in 1 tablespoons hot water
In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, half and half, corn syrup, and salt, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, just until the sugar is dissolved. Stop stirring, and turn the heat on high.
Meanwhile, in a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, begin beating the eggs at medium speed. When the sugar syrup reaches 225 degrees on a candy thermometer, turn the speed of the mixer on high. Continue cooking the sugar until the candy thermometer reaches 238 degrees. (Ok confession, I did not have the candy thermometer. So I turned the mixer on high when the syrup had been bubbling for about 3 minutes. Then when the sugar syrup had been a caramal color for about 5 minutes, I toke the sugar off the heat. I should have had the candy thermometer, but I did not. Oops.)
Remove the pan from heat and, with the mixer on low slowly pour in the sugar syrup (about ¼ cup of the syrup at a time). Beat the mixture on high for about 10 seconds each time you add the sugar syrup. Using a rubber spatula, scrap down the sides of the bowl. After all the sugar syrup has been added, beat the eggs and sugar mixture on medium-high speed until the eggs mixture is completely cools for about 5 minutes.
Then at medium speed, beat in the softened butter 1 tablespoon at a time. Add the vanilla extract and coffee mixture. Then beat the buttercream on medium-high speed until the buttercream is shiny, for about 4 minutes.
Then take a spoon, and eat a spoonful. Go ahead, you will have enough frosting after this. You deserve it! You made buttercream! Yay!
Frosting the cake:
Place one layer, flat side up, on a flat plate. With a knife, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake. Then decorate as you wish.