Have you ever heard the song by Ben Folds Five called “Steven’s Last Night in Town?” Have a quick listen before you read on…
I thoroughly represent Steven in this song. I had my last day of work, two goodbye parties the next week, went to work one more time to say “GOODBYE goodbye” and then Irene decided to ruin my plans of heading to school last weekend, so I really am still here. Don’t worry though, I am 120% sure that I am leaving tomorrow morning. I swear this time.
For my last day of work, however, I decided to go out with a bang and made what I found to be the best cupcakes I have EVER made for my co-workers (aka new family): chocolate cupcakes with a raspberry (and cherry liquor) buttercream. This cake recipe was the most moist, rich, and delicious chocolate recipe I have ever had. Here it is! (from SmittenKitten)
Cupcakes (makes 36)
3 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1-1/2 cups hot brewed coffee
3 cups sugar
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
2 t. baking soda
3/4 t. baking powder
1-1/4 t. salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup oil (canola)
1-1/2 cups buttermilk
3/4 t. vanilla extract
When you are making something classic, such as chocolate or vanilla, it is so important to use the best possible ingredients you can find so that it really pops from the normal, “average” flavor. I vouched for Ghirardelli semisweet:
I took the chocolate and cut it up as thin as I could with a chef’s knife (is it weird that I love the sound of cutting chocolate?):
Then…the magic happens. I threw the chocolate in a bowl and poured HOT coffee on top to melt it.
I’m sure you have heard this before but coffee brings out the flavors of chocolate the way water and sunlight brings flower buds into bloom. Don’t worry, it isn’t going to taste anything like coffee. Only an eye-popping, mouthwatering, full, bold chocolate flavor.
After I mixed the coffee and chocolate together, I set it aside and began sifting all of my dry ingredients together. It’s never a bad idea to sift your dry ingredients, but whenever you are working with Cocoa powder, it is an absolutely MUST. There are so many lumps that are impossible to get out of your batter unless you do so!
In a third bowl I combined the oil, buttermilk, and vanilla:
And then in one final bowl I basically whisked the living daylights out of the eggs until they got pale yellow and super frothy:
Once I got all of my ingredients ready, I (slowly) combined both the chocolate mixture and the buttermilk mixture with the eggs. It is important to do it slowly just incase the chocolate is still warm so you don’t end up with chocolate and scrambled eggs cupcakes! Yuck. After they all got along, I added the wet to the dry mixture and mixed until just combined. Trust me, seeing those little lumps and air pockets is a great thing. When the cupcakes bake, the air pockets will turn into steam and will only add even more moisture to the cake, and overworked batter prevents your teeth from sinking in when you take a bite :).
I began to bake off the cupcakes and got started on my buttercream:
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
6 cups powdered sugar
1 T. raspberry liqueur (optional)
The recipe asked for Chambord, or raspberry liquor, but since i did not have any, my mother got the brilliant idea of using a cherry liquor instead. BY THE WAY: before you get as frustrated as I did, make sure you double the icing recipe because I had to make a second batch…unless you decide against piping..but, I’ll get to that in a bit…
Okay, cupcakes are baked off and cooled, I have my buttercream, now it’s time to frost. Taking just a little extra time to pipe the icing as opposed to using a butter knife, I guarantee, will take the cupcakes from “holy” to “HOLY %^&#”. Just be aware, as I mentioned before, piping requires much more icing than a thin spread with a knife across the top. Worth it? You tell me 😀 :
Tons or grocery stores now carry these adorably fashionable cupcake liners that don’t fade in the oven after baking! Adorable. I think the best part of this entire day was using the leftover batter to make mini’s for my family to be able to have a little sample.