Ingredients:

Chocolate Cupcakes:

1/2 cup (50 grams) Dutch-processed cocoa powder

1 cup (240 ml) boiling hot water

1 1/3 cups (175 grams) all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Chocolate Fudge Frosting:

4 ounces (120 grams) unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped

2/3 cup (150 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 1/3 cups (160 grams) confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


Instructions:

Chocolate Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly butter, or line 16 muffin cups with paper liners.

In a small bowl stir until smooth the boiling hot water and the cocoa powder. Let cool to room temperature.

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Then in the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and beat only until incorporated. Then add the cooled cocoa mixture and stir until smooth.

Fill each muffin cup about two-thirds full with batter and bake for about 16 - 20 minutes or until risen, springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. (Do not over bake or the cupcakes will be dry.) Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, frost with icing. You can either spread the frosting on the cupcakes with a small spatula or if piping, use a large Wilton 1M open star tip to make lovely swirls. These cupcakes are best the day they are made, but can be covered and stored for a few days.

Chocolate Frosting: Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until smooth and creamy (about 1 minute). Add the sugar and beat until it is light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the chocolate and beat on low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until frosting is smooth and glossy (about 2 -3 minutes).

Makes about 16 cupcakes.


Description:

This lovely Chocolate Cupcake is all about having your own little cake that you do not have to share. It has a mild chocolate flavor and moist texture that is topped with a rich and creamy chocolate butter frosting. The frosting can be either piped into lovely swirls or, for the kids, all you need is a quick swipe of frosting with a liberal dusting of colored sprinkles.

Cupcakes may come in many flavors, but chocolate is still a real favorite. The Chocolate Cupcake gets its lovely favor from Dutch-processed cocoa powder that has been dissolved in hot water to bring out its full flavor. Dutch processed cocoa powder or Alkalized Unsweetened Cocoa Powder is cocoa that has been treated with an alkali to neutralize its acids. Because it is neutral and does not react with baking soda, it must be used in recipes calling for baking powder, unless there are other acidic ingredients in sufficient quantities used. Droste and Valrhona are two of my two favorites brands.

The chocolate butter frosting recipe comes from the cookbook Chocolate Bar by Matt Lewis and Alison Nelson who run a chocolate boutique that they call a "candy store for grown-ups" in New York. It is the type of chocolate frosting my mother always used to cover cakes. Made with butter, confectioners (icing or powdered) sugar, vanilla extract and unsweetened chocolate, it is perfect for piping. It uses unsweetened chocolate which is also known as baking, plain or bitter chocolate. This is chocolate in its rawest form. Chocolate liquor that has been refined and contains 50-55% cocoa butter. Since no sugar has been added to the chocolate it has a strong, bitter taste that is used in cooking and baking but is never eaten out of hand. When used in this frosting it imparts a deep chocolate flavor. Ghirardelli and Baker's unsweetened chocolate can be found on the baking isle of most grocery stores, or other brands I particularly like that can be found in specialty food stores or else on line are Dagoba, Guittard, or Scharffen Berger.

The cupcake liners I used can be found on line at bakeitpretty.com, or the other site I use is shopbakersnook.com.