Posted by: gbdub | January 20, 2010

Hope you didn’t resolve to not eat cake… Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes

My office was half empty for the week leading up to Christmas, so I whipped up a little treat for the intrepid engineers who stayed behind slaving over their computer code. These approach cupcake perfection: the cake is absurdly moist with rich chocolate flavor, yet with a surprisingly light crumb that keeps it from being cloying. And upon that worthy baked foundation, a thick swirl of sweet and pepperminty buttercream. Chocolate and mint is one of my favorite flavor combinations (and it should be one of yours too). Besides that, everyone loves cupcakes (or hates America). So make some of these. Or something else with the cake batter. Or something else with the frosting. Just make some. You deserve it, resolutions be danged.

The cake ingredients.

Melt your chocolate in the microwave. Remove the metal spoon first.

Cream together the brown sugar and butter…

…then beat in the eggs and vanilla.

Stir in the melted chocolate. There is something profound in this picture, what with the harmonious blending of two distinct parts that become a greater whole when they come together…

…but mostly it’s just chocolate.

Toss together the rest of the dry ingredients. Caution: flour should not be inhaled.

Slowly mix in the flour mixture and sour cream. I will take this time to once again reiterate the importance of using real-deal, full-fat sour cream when baking, you calorie counting culinary wimp. If you feel bad about it, remember it’s essential for the chemistry. It’s science.

Mix in the hot water. Note that the batter will look kind of runny. This is normal. The moistness of the resultant cupcakes is not normal. This is a good thing.

Distribute the batter into lined muffin tins and pop in the oven for round about 20 minutes at 350°. A helpful hint: the paper liners they package between the aluminum foil cupcake liners to prevent sticking are exactly the same as paper cupcake liners (seriously, Reynolds’ website says so). So remove them and save to make more cupcakes. Foil cupcake liners can also be used free-standing, with no muffin pan.

Here’s what you need for the peppermint buttercream.

Whip the softened butter until creamy.

Then just mix everything together, adding the powdered sugar a little at a time to avoid a mess.

The cupcakes should be done by now. Don’t they look lovely?

Smash up some peppermint candy. A 16-oz claw hammer seems to work well. For some reason, peppermint candy only comes in ginormous bags. Take some to work.

Swirl frosting on the cupcakes, and then sprinkle on some crushed candy.

CONSUME.

These were awesome. The cake recipe is itself great, and well worth using in other preparations. Kristen and I made Mom a three-layer chocolate birthday cake with Nutella / cream-cheese frosting (this should arrive on Sibling Cutlery in the not-too-distant future).

Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes (batter from myrecipes )

Batter Ingredients:

  1. 1 ½  cups  semisweet chocolate morsels
  2. ½  cup  butter, softened
  3. 2 1/3 cups (1 lb.) brown sugar
  4. 3  large eggs
  5. 2  cups  all-purpose flour
  6. 1  teaspoon  baking soda
  7. ½  teaspoon  salt
  8. 1 cup sour cream
  9. 1  cup  hot water
  10. 2  teaspoons  vanilla extract

Peppermint Buttercream Ingredients (note: you may need about 1.5-2 batches, depending on how much you frost the cupcakes):

  1. ½  cup room temperature butter
  2. 2 Tablespoons milk
  3. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  4. 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  5. 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  6. 1/2 cup crushed peppermint candy or candy canes

Melt the chocolate by microwaving on high in 30 second intervals and stirring until smooth. Or use a double boiler. Or whatever. Beat together the brown sugar and butter until creamy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating until just blended, then add the vanilla and stir in melted chocolate.

Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add slowly, alternating with the sour cream. Beat at low speed until just blended. Slowly pour in the hot water while beating at low speed.

Divide the batter into 30 (yes, I know that’s a weird number, but it works) lined cups in muffin pans. Bake at 350° for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.

To make the frosting, whip butter in electric mixer at high speed until smooth and creamy, ~1 minute. Add milk,  vanilla, and peppermint. Add the powdered sugar a little at a time, beating to incorporate after each addition. Once all sugar is incorporated, whip at high speed for about a minute, until fluffy. If frosting is too soft, add more powdered sugar. If too stiff, add milk, a teaspoon at a time.

When cupcakes are fully cooled, pipe or spread a generous amount of frosting onto each cake. Sprinkle with crushed peppermint candy.

Makes 30 cupcakes.

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