Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Favorite Chocolate Cupcakes ♥


This recipe has become my go-to, signature cupcake recipe and a favorite when I need a quick dessert!  It's easy, foolproof and delivers delicious results.

I had an excuse to make them this past weekend when we were invited to watch our two oldest grandsons play 1st grade and 3rd grade basketball and have dinner afterward with the whole family at their home.  The first grade team doesn't even keep score but they try just as hard :)  So much fun to watch them ♥


I know they love these cupcakes as I've made them for my boys several times before, but usually topped with a chocolate ganache frosting.  This time, I decided to try my friend, Debbie, from Mountain Breaths' Magnolia Bakery Buttercream Frosting and it was delicious!  When I asked my grandsons how they liked the new frosting, they both put up their thumbs as they were devouring their cupcake.  Two thumbs up!  I tinted the buttercream pink for Valentine's Day and found some Valentine's Day sprinkles.  They love jimmies and sprinkles on their cupcakes :)


My daughter and I still love the chocolate ganache so made 6 of each.

I can't believe it's been almost a month since my last post!  I've had a recurrence of back strain that began right after Christmas and I haven't been cooking as much as usual. I'm faithfully doing some core strengthening exercises and hopefully, my back will be good as new soon and I can get back to savoring time in the kitchen :)


This was our temperature a little less than two weeks ago after having about 8 inches of snow. We've since had a thaw, rain, freezing rain, ice and today,  7-9 inches of new snow.  What a winter we're having in the Midwest!


Meanwhile, we've been keeping spirits up by buying fresh tulips each week :)  Spring will be here before we know it!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Favorite Chocolate Cupcakes

Printable Recipe

Makes 12

Notes: Make sure your baking soda is fresh. I like to replace mine every six months.

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
1 cup minus 1 tablespoon of AP flour
1 tablespoon of cornstarch added to above flour
1 scant cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder  (I use Ghirardelli) 
3/4 teaspoon baking soda (1/2 + 1/4 tsp)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/4 cup buttermilk (real buttermilk give the best results but you can make your own buttermilk substitute by stirring in 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar to 1/4 cup regular milk and allow it to sit for 10 minutes, stir before adding) 
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper or foil cupcake liners.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter with the vegetable oil and water over low heat and remove from heat as soon as the butter is melted.

In a large bowl, sift the flour, cornstarch, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt together. Stir until blended. Add the melted butter mixture and beat with a handheld mixer at low speed until smooth. Add the egg and beat and then add the buttermilk and vanilla. Beat until smooth for about one minute, scraping the bowl. Pour the batter into the lined muffin tins, filling them about three-fourths full.

Bake the cupcakes in the center of the oven for about 22-25 minutes, until springy and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool slightly, then transfer them to a rack to cool completely. Unfrosted cupcakes can be wrapped in plastic and stored at room temperature for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month.

Magnolia Bakery Buttercream Frosting

Adapted from Mountain Breaths

Note: This recipe can be cut in half. I used heavy cream rather than milk as I had some on hand.

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
6 to 8 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk and vanilla. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. You may not need to add all of the sugar. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring and mix thoroughly. (Use and store the icing at room temperature because icing will set if chilled.) Icing can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Chocolate Ganache Frosting 

This recipe can be cut in half.

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped. I used Ghirardelli 60% Bittersweet baking bar
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon light corn syrup (I only use 1 teaspoon)
1/8 teaspoon salt

Put the chopped chocolate into a heatproof bowl, such as a 4-cup Pyrex measuring bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the cream, butter, corn syrup and salt until hot but not boiling. Pour the hot mixture over the chocolate and leave alone for 1-2 minutes. Then start stirinbg , and then stir until smooth and dark with no remaining traces of cream (start stirring in circles in the center and then work outward).

Let the frosting cool, stirring occasionally, until thick enough for dipping and glazing the cupcakes, about 30 minutes. For a frosting firm enough to spread, place in refrigerator and stir every 5 minutes until it’s firm enough to use as frosting. If it becomes too stiff just bring it back to room temperature. The frosting can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Return to room temperature before using.

Adapted from Food and Wine

40 comments:

  1. Great cupcake treat for Valentine's Day, Susan! They look scrumptious and I love that buttercream frosting!
    Same weather here, more snow but freezing rain, sleet this morning. More snow on the way, spring cannot get here too fast!!
    Hope your back heals soon! Take care

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    1. Thank you, Pam! The buttercream was declared a keeper! Yes, please hurry, Spring!

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  2. a lovely treat for Valentine's Day, how beautiful are your pics Susan !Warm hugs from Trieste

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    1. Thank you, Chiara! They were so much fun to make ♥ Warm hugs from Wisconsin.

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  3. I love both frostings! The pinky butter cream looks so pretty and perfect for the Valentines treat. I must try this cupcake recipe one day!

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    1. They are a nice little splurge for a special occasion :) Thank you, Angie!

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  4. I didn't even know you hurt your back:(Take care:)x
    Isn't it grand to watch our littles participate in anything? My eyes and heart..glued to only them on a field of many:)♥
    I am sure these are divine and I love thumbs up.
    My favorite guests:)
    Take care..we're getting a wallop of a storm and minute..and Oli is coming :)

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    1. I had strained it putting Christmas decorations away (lots of bending in a small storage area). Thought it was better but then I tried to do some push ups for upper body strength. Ooops! I need to know my limits :) This storm system is huge and stretches from here to you!

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  5. These cupcakes looks awesome and beautiful !!
    Take care in these cold days : be warm and cozy !

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  6. I am a lucky gal....I have buttermilk in the fridge leftover from a recipe I recently made. I am making these cupcakes and freezing them. I love the photo of the cupcakes with the buttercream frosting. I hope your back allows you to be back in the kitchen Savoring Time. xo

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    1. I loved how beautifully the buttercream piped, Debbie! Such a great recipe and I'm so happy you shared it. Happy baking and Happy Valentine's Day :)

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  7. I'm so sorry that you've had a back strain, Susan. My daughter had one last week, and it took awhile for her to feel better. I gave her some Epsom Salts and told her to do some cat and cow yoga poses. Back problems are so debilitating. How fun to watch your grandsons play ball!! Now, for your cupcakes... I really must make those one day. Yours looks exceptionally pretty on you MCK cake stand. I'd love either frosting version. Your tulips sure had a freshness to your lovely home. Thank you for sharing and I hope you feel better soon.

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    1. I haven't had a back strain in ages so this is not fun. I think it takes longer to feel better when we're a little older too ;) Thanks so much, Kitty!

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  8. Those sound wonderful! Good for you to do core strengthening exercises. Feel better soon. Those tulips are a spot of cheer.

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    1. Thank for the wishes, Vee! Those core exercises have really helped!

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  9. That weather!!!! These cupcakes!!!! As much as I love ganache, I do love a powdered sugar frosting! And your back? You poor thing because that is the worst. I had a bad knee last summer, did all the exercises and now it is as good as new! Just keep eating cupcakes. I remember first grade bball and it was so much fun!

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    1. Yes, and Yes! Those exercises really do work wonders. I think I'll need to keep doing them so this doesn't happen again :)

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  10. Not sure I would dare eat them, way too pretty.
    Amalia
    xo

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    1. Thank you, Amalia. I was so happy with how they turned out :)

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  11. Oh, back strain is no fun, good to hear you're on the road to recovery. Now, about those chocolate cupcakes, I'd be giving them two thumbs-up as well. This new weather pattern we're seeing here is certainly strange. It'll be bloody 45F today and we've not seen more than a 1' of snow thus far this winter. We usually have a mountain by now.

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    1. My goodness that is hardly any snow! I think we're supposed to get up to 40F tomorrow so that will feel great :) Thanks, Ron!

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  12. Oh my those cupcakes are so beautiful! The pink color and all those adorable sprinkles. You just can't beat a great cupcake! Love that ganache frosting too. I need to pick up some tulips and bring a little spring into my house too. So pretty Susan.

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    1. They are perfect for little hands :) Thanks so much, Tricia!

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  13. Ugh. I'm so sorry about your back. Terrible to have back pain. These cupcakes are so pretty. But I really love that top photo with the family photo!

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  14. So pretty Susan!! Love these cupcakes anyway you make them! Geez I hope your back is in the mends. Feel better Susan!!

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    1. I do prefer the chocolate ganache but the buttercream really was a hit with the boys. Thanks so much for the well wishes, A&L!

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  15. Oh boy do I wish you could Federal Express just one of those delicious looking chocolate covered lovely desserts! I'd pay shipping...:-) They look just wonderful.

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    1. You could make them quicker than it would take to ship them :) Thanks so much for stopping by, Christine!

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  16. These chocolate cupcakes look awesome, and I love the idea of having two different frosting...both look so cute...perfect for Valentine's Day...I can picture your grandsons with the thumbs up...
    Thanks for sharing the recipe Susan...Happy Valentine's Day!

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    1. Thank you, Juliana! It was so much fun sharing with my grandsons ♥ Happy Valentine's Day!

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  17. These cupcakes look absolutely amazing! I wish I could have one right now. The recipe looks like they are a bit of trouble to make, but oh what a reward for all of the effort. Beautiful photos!

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    1. Thanks, Pattie. I think it's such an easy cupcake recipe and only one bowl involved for mixing. Easier than other recipes I've tried in the past and the end result even better.

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  18. These cupcakes look perfect and it sounds like everyone enjoyed them a lot!

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  19. Your chocolate cupcakes look amazing and I am sure they taste as good as they look.

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  20. OMG ..These would become a favourite in my house... YUMMY..Thanks for sharing the recipe... Hugs

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