For being so tiny, cupcakes are such a grand idea. The very idea of 12 little delicious wonders rising in the oven at the same time makes me giddy. Just take a whiff, a deep deep sniff of the sweet smell that wafts from the kitchen thoughout the house. The aroma floats up in the air 12 times, 12 little times. Now, how sweet is that?
In only about 20 itty bitty minutes, you have a dozen moist little fairy cakes that are in need of a crown. A crown so creamy and richly chocolate, the very thought of it would make a grown man weep. Dark chocolate creamy frosting...May I have a spoon?
Once these little wonders are properly crowned with frosting, the anticipation becomes almost unbearable. The first bite is so near. Fun, I smell fun around the corner.
Choices. We can eat these in a very dignified manner. All we need is a proper dessert plate, a delicate fork, and a napkin placed gently in our lap. Or, even better, we can unleash our inner child and forget the forks. Forget the plate. Forget the napkin.
With a cupcake in one hand, I can see my finger swipe a swirl of frosting onto my finger for a taste. It takes all of my self-control to not lick the top free of frosting. Memories of celebrating my sixth birthday flash before my eyes. Before I can stop myself, I will have devoured that little cupcake, almost wanting a second one. Almost.
Yellow Butter Cupcakes With Chocolate Frosting
adapted from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups milk
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two standard 12-cup muffin pans with paper liners; set aside. Into a medium bowl, sift together flours, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour; beat until combined after each addition.
Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cups so that each is about two-thirds full. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until cupcakes are golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool. Invert cupcakes onto the rack; reinvert and let cool completely, top sides up. Spread or pipe chocolate frosting on each cupcake. They can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Makes 2 dozen.
Dark Chocolate Frosting
Makes about 5 cups.
1 pound best-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder
6 tablespoons boiling water
3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
Pinch of Salt
Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over (but not touching) simmering water. Turn off the heat; stir occasionally until chocolate has melted completely, about 15 minutes. Set bowl on countertop, and let chocolate cool to room temperature, 25 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, combine cocoa powder and boiling water in a small bowl; stir until cocoa is dissolved.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, confectioners' sugar, and salt on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add melted chocolate; beat on low speed until combined, 1 to 2 minutes scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the cocoa mixture.