Yield: 18 standard cupcakes
Rich & Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup Cacao Barry Extra Brute Cocoa Powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup strong, hot black coffee
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line muffin/cupcake tin with paper or foil cupcake liners. In bowl of electric mixer, sift all dry ingredients. Add all remaining ingredients to bowl with the dry ingredients and with paddle attachment on mixer, mix for 2 minutes on medium speed (you may need the plastic splashguard that comes with mixer) and pour into prepared cupcake pan until 2/3 full (or just less). Batter will be liquidy.
Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until toothpick or skewer comes out with a few crumbs. Try not to overbake. Cool on wire racks in pans for 5 minutes then gently turn cupcakes onto racks until completely cool.
Raspberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream
*Essentially, this is vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream with some clean, dry, fresh raspberries into it. It doesn't require many raspberries to give it a nice flavour, but it's personal preference. You can also use seedless raspberry-puree for a smooth finish. Add a drop of pink food colouring for a touch more pink.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Because it does take some time to make, I always make in batches of 3 (vanilla), because it freezes so well and saves time. A batch of 3 fits perfectly in a 5QT KitchenAid mixer bowl. You can then thaw, divide, add separate flavours, purees, etc. I have recently decreased the amount of butter I use in my buttercream, because I find it has a lighter, fluffier quality to it. I've adjusted the recipe accordingly, but you can add more butter if you prefer. I've also recently started heating the egg whites and sugar to 160° F, rather than 140° F, and I find the meringue comes together so quickly this way (just an observation, however 140° F has worked for me for years). Just a note!
Yield: 5 cups
5 large egg whites (30g each--total 150g)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons superfine granulated sugar
3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, cut into cubes
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
*1/2 pint fresh, rinsed & dried raspberries (optional)
Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer with paper towel and vinegar, to remove any trace of grease. Add egg whites and sugar, and simmer over a pot of water (not boiling), whisking constantly, until temperature reaches 160 degrees F, or if you don't have a candy thermometer, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot.
With whisk attachment of mixer, begin to whip until the mixture is thick, glossy, and cool. Switch over to paddle attachment and, while mixing on medium speed continously, add softened butter in chunks until incorporated, and mix until it has reached a silky smooth texture (if curdles, keep mixing and it will come back to smooth). Add vanilla and salt, mix well. You can also add a wide variety of flavourings, extracts, and more.
Add about a 1/2 pint of fresh washed & dried raspberries if you like the textured effect, or raspberry puree for a smooth finish.
You can also add a drop or 2 of pink gel colour to get a pinker look.
Keep in airtight container in refrigerator for up to one week, leaving out at room temperature when needed, rewhipping in mixer for 5 minutes.
Can freeze for up to 6-8 weeks. To thaw, place on counter overnight, and rewhip for 5 minutes with paddle attachment in an electric mixer.
Makes approximately 5 cups of buttercream.
*Recipe for Swiss Meringue Buttercream adapted from Martha Stewart.
Dark Chocolate Glaze
4 oz high quality bittersweet chocolate (I use Callebaut), coarsely chopped
1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened and cut into 1/2" pieces
1 1/2 teaspooons light corn syrup
Place the chocolate, butter, and corn syrup in a medium heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Stir the mixture using a rubber spatula until melted and smooth.
*Glaze recipe source: Baked Explorations.
1. Fill a large pastry bag (18") fitted with Ateco #887 (or the decorative tip of your choice) about 2/3 full and swirl the buttercream in a circular motion, beginning on the outside rim of the cupcake and moving inward. Gently release pressure when you reach the top of your swirl.
2. Drizzle the top of the cupcake with Dark Chocolate Glaze (~1 tablespoon each).
3. Top with a fresh raspberry and chocolate sprinkles (optional).
Cupcakes are best enjoyed the day they are made, but these keep particularly well in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days (however, I've been known to eat them up to a week later, and they taste great!). If you do refrigerate, serve at room temperature--particularly Swiss Meringue Buttercream cupcakes, otherwise the buttercream is too hard and butter-like.
Good luck & enjoy!
Love, Rosie xo