Monday, July 16, 2012

Chocolate Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

Although I consume cupcakes on a regular basis (it's not as much as you may think!), I've never really made my own cupcakes from scratch. I mean, when Betty Crocker's Devil's Food Cake tastes so, so, so, good, why bother?

There are two cupcake places that I visit in Copenhagen, Agnes Cupcakes and Serenity Cupcakes. I like different things about both companies. I guess you could say that Agnes does the box mix cupcake with some fresh fruit and other ingredients mixed into their batter and frostings to create their 30 different cupcakes. I like the simple, clean, and professional look of their cupcakes and to me, they taste wonderful! My favorite is the "Queen" cupcake. A chocolate cupcake with dark chocolate frosting, a coffee cream filling, and powdered raspberry sifted on top. And then there's Serenity. I like going to Serenity because of the environment. The cafe is really cosy and they have a great selection of tea's and drinks to go along with their cupcakes. Although their cupcakes are good, the texture of their cake and their cream cheese frosting is not what I prefer. Serenity makes all their cupcakes from scratch from quality ingredients, however, I've found that their cupcakes are a little dense like muffins and they only do cream cheese frostings. I am not a big cream cheese fan and in small doses it's ok, but there are many different types of frostings that could be used. For myself, I like Agnes for the taste of their cupcakes and for spending time in a cozy environment, I like Serenity.

So, all of this cupcake eating in Copenhagen has led me to making my own cupcakes. I want to create  fluffy and moist cupcakes from scratch and perfect different types of frostings. I have pinned a number of cupcake recipes on my Pinterest and for my first batch of cupcakes, I made Sweetapolita's Classic (One Bowl) Chocolate Cupcakes paired with Best Friend's For Frosting's Fluffy Strawberry Buttercream. For my first attempt and working with a hand mixer only, I must say I am really happy with Sweetapolita's One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes. The texture is exactly what I am looking for and it tastes similar to Devil's Food Cake. The strawberry buttercream I made wasn't as smooth and as fluffy as I was hoping, but that may be because I did not whip it for long enough. However, it is a good recipe and I may try it again, just with a little less sugar perhaps. I am really happy with how my first venture into making cupcakes has gone and am excited to try out other recipes and flavors!

Classic (One Bowl) Chocolate Cupcakes (from Sweetapolita)

3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp corn starch
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup buttermilk (can substitute with milk and a squeeze of lemon juice)
1/4 cup brewed coffee or espresso, hot
3 tbsp vegetable oil (or a similar type of oil)
1 egg at room temperature
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F or about 170C and line a muffin pan with cupcake liners. 

Sift all of the dry ingredients in the bowl that you will be mixing in. Sweetapolita suggests sifting with the electric mixer but I just did it by hand with a fork. 

Add all of the remaining ingredients to the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix for 2 minutes on medium speed and pour batter into the prepared cupcake pan until about 2/3 full (or just less). The batter for these cupcakes are quite liquidy but once they're in the oven they'll come out perfect!  

Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, or until a toothpick or skewer comes out with a few crumbs. Try not to overbake! Immediately take the cupcakes out of the muffin pan and place them on a wire rack to cool completely before frosting. 

Fluffy Strawberry Buttercream (from Best Friends for Frosting)

1 cup butter at room temperature (I used unsalted butter)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup strawberry preserves (I used fresh pureed strawberries, and increased their amount and used 1/2 cup)
2 cups powdered sugar

Beat butter with mixer for 3 minutes until fluffy. Then add the vanilla extract and beat until incorporated. The strawberry preservers/puree go in next, and again, beat until incorporated. Lastly, add powdered sugar one cup at a time and mix until frosting is fluffy with medium peaks. 

Looking to take on a vanilla bean cupcake next and am constantly on the hunt for recipes, do you have a favorite cupcake recipe you'd like to share? 

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