Apr 052010

So last week I told my three year old, Jamison, that he could pick the next recipe cupcake I made. He first said “yogurt raisin ones!” but I nixed that idea. He decided chocolate chip ones would good too. And I figured because it was going to be Easter Sunday making something simple was a good idea what with the making of Easter dinner, an egg hunt and other family things we’d probably be doing.

I had ordered the book “125 Best Cupcake Recipes” based on the good reviews. I wasn’t thrilled with it when I received it in the mail because the few pictures that are in it do NOT correspond with the actual recipes. For instance next to the recipe I used, chocolate chip cookie cupcakes, was a picture of some lemon cheesecake cupcakes. But I figured whatever, if the cupcakes are good it doesn’t matter. Well…the title of the book just lies! The chocolate chip cookie cupcakes were horrible! They tasted bad and some of the cupcake liners stuck to the cupcake to the point where you had to throw it away unless you wanted to eat half the liner too. I threw them all in the trash and sulked. The day got worse when my son started puking. I decided I was doing a do-over the next day.

Today I took Jamison to the grocery store, did our weekly shopping and bought ingredients for new chocolate chip cupcakes. I figured Martha was good to me last week, I would go with her recipe.

Her recipe calls for cake flour. Sifted cake flour. I hate sifting, but I did it anyway.

There are no whole eggs in this recipe, just whipped egg whites. Had I been smart I would have bought one of those carton of egg whites the stores sell instead of wasting the yolks of 5 eggs. But I’m not so smart sometimes. Especially at the grocery store. I did however get to use the whisk attachment of my hand mixer for the first time!

After the whites have formed stiff peaks then the work-out portion of the recipe starts – the folding. You take 1/3 of the whites and fold it into the batter to “lighten”. Not sure what that means but I did it.

Folding is hard work. I could hear my mom and my grandmother in my head, the two people I cooked with most as a child, telling me not to stir, but to slowly fold it in. Once you had the 1/3 folded in, then you did the other 2/3. Again I have no idea why you don’t just do it all at once. I suppose “lighten” is a cooking term but I don’t know what it means even though I DID take two cooking classes in high school.

I was slightly concerned all the chocolate chips would fall to the bottom of the cupcakes. Martha tells you to mix 1 tablespoon of flour into the chocolate chips. The recipe doesn’t tell you this but that is to help them suspend in the batter and not fall to the bottom.

After  you fold in the chocolate chips, fill lined cupcake tins 3/4 full of batter and bake at 350°F for around 22 minutes. I let mine cool in the tins on a cooling rack until I could touch the tins without a hot pad and then took the cupcakes out to continue cooking on the rack.

You might be able to tell from that picture that the while the chocolate chips didn’t totally sink to the bottom, none rose with the cupcakes either. There are no chocolate chips in the top half of the cupcakes. But that’s okay, because I’m going to cover them with chocolate frosting! So while they’re cooling I assembled my frosting ingredients and got to melting chocolate.

The bottom bowl is 1.5lbs melted semi-sweet chocolate. The top bowl is 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon cocoa powder dissolved in 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon boiling water. Yes, I though that was odd too. And to be honest while I’ve vowed to not be so mean to Martha because I’m in love with her cupcake recipes (and book) I wish I had gone with my tried and true chocolate butter cream frosting. This is good, don’t get me wrong, but it’s very very soft. Not so soft it falls off my cupcakes or anything but still very soft. I much prefer a butter cream consistency which this is not. Plus this had 4 1/2 sticks of butter in it. FOUR AND  HALF! It made at least twice as much frosting as I needed but still! Because I normally cook low fat healthier foods, unwrapping and using FOUR AND A HALF sticks of butter for frosting was a hard.

Just as Martha recommends to do, I decorated these with sprinkles. I used white ones just like the ones that were used for the pictured cupcakes in her cupcake recipe book.

Jamison was napping while I made these. When he woke up I whispered “go look at what Mommy made!” and he got a smile on his face and ran to the kitchen. “I have one?” he asked.

And because I made chocolate chip cupcakes just for him, I let him have one for a snack.

Then we walked to the park and played to justify the afternoon snack of cupcakes.

Cupcake Recipe

  • 3 1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon sifted cake flour (not self rising)
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 cup plus 6 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 5 larger egg whites, room temperature
  • 2 cups (12oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together 3 1/4 cups cake flour, the baking soda and salt. Stir the vanilla into the milk to combined.

2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter until smooth. Adding the sugar in a steady stream, beat until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of milk mixture, and beating until just combined after each.

3. In another bowl, with electric mixer on medium speed, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form (do not overmix). Fold one third of the egg whites into the batter to lighten. Gently fold in the remaining whites until just combined. Toss chocolate chips with remaining tablespoon of cake flour, and gently fold into batter.

4. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake rotating tins halfway through, until cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean and the tops are springy to the touch, about 22 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

5. To finish, use a small offset spatula to spread cupcakes with frosting. Refrigerate up to 3 days in airtight containers; bring to room temperature and, if desired, decorate with sprinkles before serving.

Frosting Recipe

  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder (I used normal cocoa, couldn’t find Dutch)
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon boiling water
  • 2 1/4 cups (4 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted (I didn’t sift and used probably double the amount of sugar)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds best-quality semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled

Combined cocoa and the boiling water, stirring until cocoa has dissolved. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter, confectioners’ sugar and salt until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low. Add melted and cooled chocolate, beating until combined and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in the cocoa mixture. If not using immediately, frosting can be refrigerated up to 5 days, or frozen up to 1 month, in an airtight container. Before using, bring to ro0m temperature, and beat on low speed until smooth again.

Both recipes from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes: 175 Inspired Ideas for Everyone’s Favorite Treat

Mar 082010

These cupcakes are by far my most favorite. When I talked to my mom after the last cupcake was posted she said “you should makes those cupcakes with the cream cheese”. I hadn’t had one in forever, I’m so glad she recommended making them! I had never made them before, my mom was the one who always did. I googled around to see if the recipe was out there, and it is, but my mom gave me the recipe from her cookbook  The Farm Journal’s Complete Home Baking Book. These don’t have frosting but you won’t miss one. They are delicious as they are.

Yes my hand mixer is in the background. No it didn’t start to magically work again. I was hopeful, but no such luck. Which might be why the cream cheese mixture was a bit runny, I had no way of really blending the cream cheese and the egg together.

I’ll be honest here. When a recipe says to sift something together 99 times out of 100 I don’t. I’m just too lazy for that. But I decided today I would. Might as well follow the recipe I’m telling you all to make, right?

When my mom has made these the cream cheese mixture sunk into the chocolate cake so you had a little surprise when you bit into it. I’m going to blame my broken hand mixer again because mine didn’t work like that. Although I did use 2 big teaspoons of the cream cheese mixture opposed to the 1 the recipe says – there was just way too much left over to throw it all away. But maybe this is why they’re called black bottomed and not “oh look, a surprise hidden cream cheese center cupcakes”.

They did come out pretty nicely however in true “my mom does everything better” attitude I prefer my mom’s black bottomed cupcakes. Although that didn’t stop be from eating one. Or maybe two.

Black Bottomed Cupcakes

  • 2 3oz packages of cream cheese (I just bought 1 8oz package and used 6 ounces from it)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 6oz package semi sweet chocolate chips (I used mini)
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Beat cream cheese in a bowl until smooth at medium speed. Add egg, 1/3 cup sugar and 1/8 salt. Beat until blended. Stir in chocolate pieces and set aside. Sift together flour, 1 cup sugar, cocoa, soda, and 1/2 teaspoon salt into a mixing bowl. Combined water, oil, vinegar and vanilla into small bowl. Mix well. Add oil mixture to cocoa mixture. Beat with mixer at medium speed until blended. Spoon batter into paper lined tins, fill 1/3 full. Top each with a large teaspoon of cheese mixture. Then combined 2 tablespoons sugar and nuts, mix well. Sprinkle each cupcake with sugar/walnut mixture. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. makes 18 cupcakes. (mine were done before 35 minutes)