I have made a lot of cupcakes recently. A. LOT. Over 130 two weekends ago and 90+ this past weekend. I prefer to make cakes honestly as they have more of a “wow” factor but cupcakes seem to be the in thing these days. Besides Nathan loves that I make them because then he gets to taste test as I frost unlike a cake. Pretty sure no one misses a devoured cupcake but would notice if a slice of cake was missing.
So just putting the word out there- could someone order a cake next time instead of cupcakes? Or order cookies. Or bars. Or brownies. I am cupcaked out.
On to the cake recipe- in my quest for the perfect chocolate cake I have made more than I care to count. None hold a candle to this recipe. It tastes like box cake mix- in a good way. It is light, fluffy, has a good crumb and dirties exactly one bowl. Not to mention a well stocked kitchen should have all the ingredients on hand at all times.
This recipe comes from my Martha Stewart Baking Handbook. I picked it up at a local used bookstore years ago. I love it to pieces. If you want to challenge yourself as a baker pick it up. I have only dared to make some of the recipes but everything comes out perfect on the first try. This cupcake recipe along with her pate brisee and swiss meringue buttercream are some of my go-tos in this book.
And the frosting- well it is ok. I don’t love this frosting but it gets good reviews. It is a bit soft when pipped so keep that in mind. Don’t set these out in hot weather. It takes advance planning since you have to let the base cool completely. Its one redeeming factor is that it looks stunning. Oh and it is easy (although time consuming) to make.
Simple. Tasty. Enjoy!
Chocolate cupcakes (makes about 30)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs and 1 egg yolk
1 1/4 cup warm water
1 1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups milk
2 scraped vanilla beans (or 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract)
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, cut into 24 pieces and softened at room temperature
In a medium sauce pan, combine the sugar, flour, cornstarch and salt. Slowly whisk in the milk until the mixture is smooth. Cook the mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture boils and is thick enough that it starts to become difficult to easily whisk. It should thicken considerably. Cook for 3-7 minutes tasting often (carefully!) to make sure that the flour is completely cooked.
Transfer the mixture to a clean bowl and cool to room temperature. If it is even slightly warm, the frosting won’t beat up properly. I made mine in the morning, left it on the counter, then finished the frosting in the afternoon. You could refrigerate it but let it come to room temp before proceeding.
Once the frosting is completely cooled to room temperature, beat the mixture with the vanilla on low speed until it is well combined, about 30 seconds. Add the butter, one piece at a time, and beat the frosting until all the butter has been incorporated fully. Increase the speed to medium-high. Beat the frosting for five FULL minutes, until it is light and fluffy. Let the frosting sit at room temperature until it is a bit more stiff, about 1 hour. Chill 30-60 minutes before piping.