Sunday, April 29, 2012

Chocolate Velvet Cupcakes and Ultimate Vanilla Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

I am going to first say that I can't believe I'm blogging again. It's not like I haven't been baking, I bake at least twice a month. No, not as often as my once or twice a week I was up to during the Summer, but hey, at that point I was unemployed and pretty much doing nothing, which was fantastic :). Ugh, jobs and adult responsibilities have kept me from doing what I love!  I currently have 4 recipe posts that are still drafts. And a ton of more pictures of just cookies, cupcakes, and muffins. It's sad because, at this point, I barely remember making them! I'm determined to actually post this. Why? Because these cupcakes are extremely delicious and I have to start making more time for doing the things I love. This might actually be the best vanilla cupcake recipe I've ever tried. (It better be, since it's advertised as such), and this chocolate cupcake, ah so yummy. Well, here is my latest baking extravaganza :) (I was literally in my kitchen for 5 hours, I would call that an extravaganza)

The name of this post alone is a mouth full. I made one frosting and used it on two different, fairly simple batters. 
So the first cupcake I made was the Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake from The Cupcake Project. I've been looking at this recipe for quite some time, and I just had to make it one day. The majority of vanilla cupcakes I've tried have not been that good. Sometimes they'll come out a little more like corn bread. Gross. Unless of course you want to make corn bread, but that clearly was never my intention. Anyway, I tried the batter (because that's probably one of my favorite parts of baking) and yea, it was easily the best vanilla batter I've ever had. Ever. I could probably eat it by the spoonful if I was allowed. It uses a full vanilla bean! My first time baking with those, and let me tell you, one vanilla bean can cost between $4 and $6! My advice is to go to Home Goods and pick them up there. Overall, delicious cupcake, Go try it.

Cutting the vanilla bean :)

The second cupcake was a variation on this Chocolate Velvet Cupcake recipe. It was a much larger batch, so I made about 2/3 of it. I played around with some of the ingredients and it was a greattttt success. Not something I can always say about my first-time experiments. They are definitely worth a try if you're looking for a light, chocolate cupcake as opposed to a heavy, devil's food cake, type of chocolate cake.

Chocolate Velvet Cupcakes
About 24
1 1/2 cups cake flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp cocoa powder
6 oz. good chocolate
3/4 stick (6 Tbsp) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
 1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs, room temperature
2/3 cup sour cream
2/3 cup hot water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare your muffin tin.
In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave the chocolate until melted. Mix the chocolate every 30 seconds for about  1 1/2 minutes.
In the base of a stand mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar. Add the vanilla, then add the eggs one at a time just until incorporated. Add the melted chocolate and beat just until combined.
Slowly mix in the flour mixture. Alternate this with the sour cream until combined. Lastly, in the hot water, fully dissolve the cocoa powder. Once dissolved, pour into the batter and mix until smooth.
Fill each muffin tin about 2/3 full. Place in the oven for 16-18 minutes. After removing the tin from the oven, remove each cupcake to cool on a wire rack.

Browned Butter Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes 5 cups
1/2 cup butter
2 (8-oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
32 oz. package powdered sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla extract

Cook butter in a small saucepan on medium heat for 5-7 minutes, until butter begins to turn golden brown. Remove from heat. Pour butter into a heat-safe bowl, cover, and place in the refrigerator for an hour, when the butter starts to solidify. 
Beat butter and cream cheese on medium-high speed for about 5 minutes, until creamy. Gradually add the powdered sugar, about one cup at a time. Stir in cinnamon and vanilla. 

These combinations of flavors worked out so well together I was extremelyy happy. 
I used a large star tip to pipe the frosting on to each one. Mmm yummy vanilla.

 I think I'm actually obsessed with how light and fluffy these cupcakes were. These recipes may actually turn into my go-to recipes. I definitely have some other variations I'll make on the chocolate, but the vanilla, being straight from The Cupcake Project, I wouldn't change a thing. 

I also made a massive cupcake to decorate with a "25" made from chocolate as well as a ton of candles. Works well for a mini birthday cake!
Enjoy :)

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