Devil’s Food Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Buttercream

Wednesday was my 25th birthday.  And as the tradition goes in my office, you bring in treats to celebrate – so I made these incredibly chocolaty cupcakes with my very favourite icing on the planet.

I loved the cake so much – it’s the one I asked Joey to make me as my birthday cake.  Which I forgot to take pictures of.  Ditto with the cupcakes…  I’ll blame it on baking them at 6:30 in the morning on my birthday….

Devil’s Food Chocolate Cupcakes

Adapted from “Deeply Dark Devil’s Food Cake” from The Cake Book by Tish Boyle

Makes 24 cupcakes

1 3/4 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

11 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups sugar

2/3 cup + 2 Tbsp cocoa powder

2 eggs, at room temperature

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/3 cups low fat milk, warm

Preheat the oven to 350°.  Line two cupcake tins with muffin holders and set aside.

Beat the butter at medium speed until it’s very creamy – about a minute or so.  Add the sugar and mix until it’s well blended, slightly fluffy and a pale yellow colour – about three minutes or so.  Add the cocoa powder and blend well – about one minute or so (the batter should look dark and smooth like melted chocolate).  Beat the eggs in one at a time.

In a small bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda & salt.  Blend 1/3 of the flour mixture into the butter mixture and mix until it is almost combined.  Add 1/2 the milk and mix well.  Repeat with another 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by the rest of the milk and a final addition of flour.  Even though the mixture at this point will be nicely blended, take a spatula and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, just to be sure all of the flour/butter/sugar has been incorporated.

Pour an equal amount into each of the cupcake liners, leaving a space about the thickness of your pinky finger between the top of the liner and the batter.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.  Let them cool completely and top with vanilla bean buttercream.

Vanilla Bean Buttercream

Makes about 2 1/2 cups of icing – more than enough for 24 cupcakes

1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature

3 1/2  – 4 1/2 cups of icing sugar*  The amount will vary depending on how sweet you like your frosting…  I usually go for the full 4 1/2 cups

1 vanilla bean – seeds removed

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 Tbsp heavy cream

Using the paddle attachment of the stand mixer, beat the butter until it is very pale and fluffy – about 2 minutes.  Scrape the butter off of the sides of the bowl and into the centre.  Add the vanilla bean seeds & vanilla extract.  Beat it on low for 15 – 20 seconds to incorporate.  Beat the icing sugar in 1 cup at a time, until you reach your desired sweetness.  Beat the heavy cream in at the end.

Pipe onto the cupcakes and eat the leftover buttercream with a spoon.

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