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Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

When all you want is a simple, classic chocolate cupcake, this recipe does the trick. Moist, tender dark chocolate cake topped with smooth, creamy dark chocolate frosting feeds the chocoholic in all of us.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup (2 1/2 oz./75 g) unsweetened natural cocoa powder
  • 2/3 cup (5 fl. oz./160 ml) boiling water
  • 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) buttermilk
  • 1 3/4 cups (9 oz./280 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 12 Tbs. (1 1/2 sticks) (6 oz./185 g) unsalted butter, at room
      temperature
  • 1 cup (8 oz./250 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz./105 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

For the dark chocolate frosting:  

  • 1/2 lb. (250 g) unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 16 Tbs. (8 oz./250 g) unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups (10 oz./315 g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C). Line 18 standard muffin cups with paper liners, or butter and dust with flour.

In a bowl, whisk the cocoa powder into the boiling water. Let cool to lukewarm, then whisk in the buttermilk. In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat together the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar on medium speed until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and adding the vanilla along with the final egg. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the cocoa mixture and beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat just until combined.

Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups, filling each almost full. Bake until the cupcakes are puffed and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let the cupcakes cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the dark chocolate frosting: Place the chocolate in the top of a double boiler set over but not touching barely simmering water. Heat, stirring often, until melted. Remove from over the water and let the chocolate cool to room temperature. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter and confectioners’ sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the speed to low, add the chocolate and beat until incorporated, then increase the speed and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Remove the cupcakes from the pans. Spread a thick layer of frosting on each cupcake and serve. Makes 18 cupcakes.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Dessert of the Day, by Kim Laidlaw (Weldon Owen, 2013).