For a friend’s birthday and Super Bowl Sunday, I decided to whip up a batch of cupcakes. I decided to keep it simple and classic, and adapted two recipes for this entry. The first is the recipe for the cupcakes themselves, which is from The New Best Recipe
Their recipe, “Yellow Cupcakes with Simple Chocolate Frosting,” can be found on pages 844-845 in the “Cakes” section. I made a dozen, as the recipe calls for. Their ingredients are listed as follows (what I adjusted is replaced next to their ingredient and amount, struck through).
Servings: 12 cupcakes
Oven temp: 350
1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened – I used 10 tbsp. and mine was borderline melted…
1/2 cup sour cream – the butter replaced this.
1 large egg, plus two large egg yolks, room temp I used 3 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Addition: 3/4 cup water, room temp.
I changed the ingredients in mine not because I wanted to alter someone else’s recipe, but because I wanted to whip up something delicious and quickly, not to mention on a budget! So I feel like maybe some of you are like me, and you may have certain things on hand and not others! In this case, I didn’t have sour cream. Knowing it was partially a texture need and partially flavor and moisture, I decided to replace the sour cream with butter: two extra tbsp. and the eggs: two egg whites, making three whole eggs.
*This is just an example of how you can alter a recipe and make it work for you. Honestly, the internet can be helpful, provided you search generally and double check (or triple check) the answers…*
Anyway, back to these cupcakes! So first, I creamed the sugar and eggs, then added the butter and vanilla. I then added the flour, baking powder, and water as I saw fit. Since I didn’t use sour cream, I knew I’d likely need to make up for that liquid somewhere, and water is never a bad idea with cakes. Now, I’m no scientist so I can’t explain why, but with cookies the water has a spongy effect on the dough, which is much more suited for cake doughs.
I wanted to make a rich chocolate frosting, but I didn’t have any baker’s chocolate or chocolate chips at home! Another “on-hand” issue! What I did have was Hershey’s Unsweetened Cocoa Powder, so I Googled “dark chocolate frosting cocoa powder” and found a listing right away from Food.com. I adapted their recipe as well, and found I really liked my adaption!
Dark Chocolate Frosting
1/8 tsp vanilla extract 1/2 a vanilla bean
2 cups confectioners sugar
1/4 cup half and half
3/8 cup of unsalted butter (I used exactly 5 tbsp)
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (however, as illustrated by the user who uploaded this to their site, you may adjust this amount according to richness desired)
First, let me say that most frosting recipes I have used are WAY off on portions. This recipe really nails it, which I can appreciate as someone who hates to waste any food. Secondly, make sure you have the proper tools. When you make frosting, it’s important that the butter be the proper temperature. For my frosting, I actually melted the butter. You see, I opted to make these on a whim, so the only butter available was frozen. I did, upon heating the butter, allow it to cool – and NO, I did not use a microwave. Side note: we don’t even own a microwave – they’re gross!
Using a stand mixer or food processor, mix the sugar, butter and vanilla. Gradually add the cocoa powder, pouring a small amount in at a time. Note: if you’re just going for smooth, rich flavor, just dump it all in. This gradual addition will allow you to add more or less for richer flavor. My box was at the tail end, so after a point I just dumped the contents. My measurement may be somewhat off (I’d guess by a max of 1/4 cup).
Allow 20 minutes for the cupcakes to cool on a cooking rack, until tops are room temp at touch. Then frost, and serve these delicious confections!