Saturday, February 16, 2008

valentine's day: cupcakes

mini chocolate cherry cupcakes with cherry buttercream

i love cupcakes. i read cupcake blogs almost daily. my favorite is www.cupcakeblog.com, where i found this amazing recipe. i was looking for something i could use pink frosting on and when i saw her chocolate cherry cupcakes i knew they would be good. i made 1 1/2 times her recipe and used mini muffin tins/wrappers, but i'm including her original recipe amounts.

chocolate cherry cupcakes
15 tbsp unsalted butter, chopped
3.6 oz dark chocolate, chopped (i used a 100 gram bar Valrhona 56% cocoa, she calls for 61%)
1 1/4 cups sugar
4 eggs
3/4 cup flour
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 cup dried cherries

1. melt butter and chocolate over a hot water bath, stir until smooth
2. add sugar and stir
3. let mixture cool for 10 minutes
4. beat for 3 minutes with an electric mixer
5. add one egg at a time, beating for 30 second between each
6. sift flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt into the mixture and beat until blended
7. fold in cherries
8. fill baking cups and bake at 350˚F until a toothpick comes out clean
(25 minutes for large, 14 minutes for mini)

i love my buttercream smooth and sweet. i don't like sugar crystals and i don't like that film that sticks to the roof of your mouth. if i'm making a cake i might use a little 0 trans fat crisco for stiffness, but for cupcakes, i stick to butter.

cherry buttercream
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
4 tbsp maraschino cherry juice
1/4 cup milk
1 tbsp vanilla extract
6-8 cups powdered sugar, sifted

1. beat butter in mixer until smooth
2. add vanilla and beat
3. add 1-2 cps powdered sugar and blend
4. add 2 tbsp cherry juice and combine
5. add more sugar and mix until smooth
6. add 1/8 cup milk, blend
7. repeat steps 3-6 until desired consistency

your buttercream should be stiff enough to pipe but not so hard that it is dry or chunky. for these cupcakes, i piped mine from a plain bag with no tip. once topped with frosting, i rolled them in chocolate jimmies and topped them with a drained and towel-dried maraschino cherry.
these were delicious - rich cake with fruity cherry bursts,
smooth creamy frosting with a slight cherry flavor.

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