I did complete the DB challenge this month, but I have been too lazy to take it out of the freezer for photos. I will try to do it tomorrow.
Anyway, here are some cupcakes I made while my mom was here. I normally stick to my go-to recipe for chocolate cake, which is a doctored up version of Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Cake. However, once I saw these cupcakes from Cook’s Illustrated on Gonna Want Seconds, I decided to try out another recipe.
This chocolate cake recipe is a bit more involved and more expensive because of the chopped chocolate, ganache, refrigeration time, and bread flour, if you don’t bake bread often (I suppose you could use AP flour instead, but I haven’t tried that). The flavor and texture were amazing, though. I can’t say that it was necessarily better than my go-to recipe; I can only say they are two fantastic variations of basically the same thing.
Not surprisingly, the Cook’s Illustrated recipe is a bit richer and more sophisticated than the go-to recipe. The go-to recipe is easier to do and is not as decadent. So, I would definitely use the go-to recipe for a “just-because” day, a child’s birthday, or around the time “Aunt Flo” comes by (if she ever stops by your place hehe). It tastes like the prototypical chocolate cake but better. The more sophisticated recipe, however, would be perfect for special occasions or whenever you want to indulge a bit more.
I rarely like chocolate on chocolate because it can be so rich, so instead of using chocolate frosting, I used vanilla bean frosting.The frosting was so good and flavorful. If you look closely, you can see a few specks of the vanilla bean. [Speaking of vanilla beans, I bought a 1/4th pound of the stuff over a year ago for only 4-7 dollars on eBay, and I still have a bunch left. I suggest searching on eBay for some good deals on vanilla beans.]
2 oz. bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped fine
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp confectioner’s or powdered sugar
3 oz. bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped fine
1/3 cup cocoa (regular or Dutch-processed)
3/4 cup hot coffee (I used espresso and boiling water)
3/4 cup bread flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp table salt (I used kosher)
1/2 tsp baking soda
6 tbsp vegetable oil
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 stick of unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup of shortening, room temperature (you could also use another stick of butter instead)
1 vanilla bean pod
4-6 cups of powdered sugar (based on how sweet you like your frosting)
2-5 Tbsp of whole milk or half-n-half (based on desired consistency)
Place the butter and shortening in the mixing bowl, and mix for 2-3 minutes. While the butter is mixing, remove the seeds from the vanilla bean pod. Add the seeds to the butter mixture. Next, add 4 cups of the sugar. If you feel it needs more sugar, add more 1/2 cup-1 cup at a time until you reach desired level of sweetness. Lastly, add the milk 1 Tbsp at a time until it reaches a creamy enough consistency to be piped or frosted.