Thursday, July 17, 2008

Yellow Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Yesterday, I had an urge for something sweet. Something small. Something...covered in chocolate. So I forced my mother to rush me over to Michael's art supply store and bought a Wilton Dessert Decorator and made Yellow Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting. I got the cupcake recipe from Cooks Illustrated online, and halved the frosting recipe from the Wilton website.

The cupcakes were really delicious and simple - a one bowl recipe. However, the frosting was too thick and needed 2 tsp. corn syrup, and still could have used more. It was hard to use the Decorator with thick frosting, hence the strange looking swirls atop the cupcakes. I had some Betty Crocker Vanilla Frosting sitting in the pantry, so I used some of that once the Chocolate Frosting ran out (that I put on with a knife...I got fed up with the Decorators' difficulty).

Yellow Cupcakes
original from

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp table salt
8 tbs (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp.
1/2 cup sour cream
1 large egg, room temp. (I used extra large because it's what I had in the fridge)
2 large egg yolks, room temp.
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line muffin tin with paper liners or spray with nonstick spray.

Using a hand mixer or a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter, sour cream, egg and egg yolks, and vanilla; beat at medium speed until smooth and satiny, about 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula and mix by hand until smooth- make sure no flour pockets remain.

Divide the batter evenly among the cups using a heaping tablespoon. Bake until cupcake tops are pale gold, 20 - 24 minutes (mine took the whole 24). Let the cupcakes rest for less than a minute and transfer to a wire rack.

Take a walk with your dog, watch your favorite show, read a book...whatever you do, make sure you wait until the cupcakes have cooled to room temperature before frosting them!

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

original from

This frosting was messy, to say the least. Cocoa powder and confectioners' sugar flew all over my counter. I probably should have used a bigger bowl- 1 quart didn't cut it. I thought I could make it fit! But I was sorely mistaken...I also didn't have vegetable shortening, and used margarine instead.

This would have been enough for all 12 cupcakes if I hadn't overloaded them with frosting. I desperately wanted to make the pretty swirls you see in cookbooks, and didn't even accomplish that. I think I'll stick to using a knife with thicker frostings; My boyfriend and I agree that the less frosting, the better.

If you're going to make the frosting ahead, cover it with a damp towel. It also keeps in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup + 2 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Ghirardelli)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
2 tbs milk
light corn syrup, for thinning

Cream shortening and butter together with a hand mixer until light and fluffy. Add cocoa and vanilla, mix well.

Gradually add the sugar, one cup at a time, on medium speed. Icing will appear dry when everything is combined.

Add milk and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add corn syrup 1/2 tsp at a time until its at the consistency you want.

Next time I will try the Chocolate Buttercream recipe found on the back of the Ghirardelli can.

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