It’s Tuesday, which means it’s time for another baking recipe from Emily! Featuring no long blog post you have to wade through about life lessons we got from making cupcakes. Just the facts for the snacks! Enjoy!

Chocolate Cupcakes (makes 18)

  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup Dutch processed cocoa powder, the highest quality possible
  • ½ teaspoon espresso powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1 ½ cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup sour cream, room temperature (not low fat…they’re cupcakes not muffins)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream (add an additional ½ of each ingredient. Recipe was originally to frost 12 cupcakes and now we have 18!)

  • 1 cup (28g) freeze dried strawberries**, ground into powder to make roughly 1/2 cup
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups (330g) unsalted butter, room temp and cut into small cubes
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Chocolate Shell

  • 2 cups (12oz) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil

Baking Instructions

To make the Cupcakes:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line 18 muffin tins with cupcake liners (I double up).
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the butter and sugar together on high for 1 minute then let stand for 2 minutes; scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue beating for 2 minutes or until the mixture is light in color. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla with the last egg. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  4. Reduce mixer speed to low and alternately add flour mixture and sour cream beginning and ending with flour, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. I did three additions. You want to stop mixing as soon as the last of the flour has been incorporated.
  5. Mix in the chocolate chips on low speed just until distributed. You can do this with a spatula or spoon if you wish.
  6. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tins. The batter should almost reach the top of the liner. I use an ice cream scoop to make this process easier. Bake in preheated oven 12 to 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few clinging crumbs.
  7. After 2 minutes, remove to a wire rack and let cool completely before filling or frosting.

Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  1. Measure out 1 cup of freeze-dried strawberries and run them through a food processor to make about 1/2 cup of powder. Set aside.
  2. Fill a pot about 1/3 full of water and bring it to a simmer. Place a heat safe bowl on top of the pot, ensuring it doesn’t touch the water.
  3. In that bowl, whisk together the egg whites and sugar. Keep whisking occasionally and heat until it reaches 160F. This should take 15-20 minutes. If you don’t have a thermometer, you can also test it by rubbing some of the mixture between your fingers (careful not to burn your fingers). If you can’t feel any sugar granules, it’s ready.
  4. Pour the mixture into a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Run the mixer on high to cool down the mixture and create that meringue texture. After about 15-20 minutes, you should be left with a silky and marshmallowy white meringue with stiff peaks.
  5. Turn the mixer down to medium speed. Drop in your room temperature butter, one cube at a time, only adding the next when the cube prior is mixed in.
  6. At this point, you should have a creamy and silky buttercream. If yours is too thin or too clumpy, see the post on how to fix it – section titled “troubleshooting your Swiss meringue buttercream”.
  7. Mix in the freeze-dried strawberry powder, vanilla, and salt.
  8. Transfer the buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip. Make tall swirls that are larger at the bottom and smaller at the top by applying even pressure to the piping bag.
  9. Once all the cupcakes are frosted, transfer them to the freezer for 20 minutes. Don’t skip this step!

Chocolate Shell

  1. Right before you’re ready to pull the cupcakes out of the freezer, mix together the chocolate and oil.
  2. Pop it in the microwave in 30 second increments until it’s completely smooth (about 60-90 seconds total).
  3. From here, it’s best to work with a container like a 2 cup measuring glass. This makes it easy to dunk the cupcakes into the chocolate while preventing the frosting from hitting the bottom of the container and ruining its shape. If you melted the chocolate in a shallow dish, pour it into a tall glass for dunking.
  4. Now dunk! Invert your cupcakes upside down and dunk the frosting swirls right into the chocolate. Allow some of the chocolate to drip off by holding it over the chocolate for a couple seconds, then quickly flip it back over and move on to the next cupcake. You want to move fairly fast so that the chocolate doesn’t thicken and the frosting doesn’t soften.
  5. Transfer the cupcakes to the fridge for about 20 minutes for the shells to harden, then dig in. Enjoy!

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