one bowl cupcakes

Making cupcakes is usually on my agenda each Valentine’s Day.  I make them for my husband, kids and now my grandchildren.  Looking for a new recipe was on my “to do” list this year.  My daughter recently shared a cookbook with me…Martha Stewart’s Cooking School:  Lessons and Recipes for the Home Cook.  This is a “how-to-cookbook” for beginners and experts and everyone in between.  Looking through the maze of techniques and more than 200 recipes in Martha’s cookbook made me aware that I’m definitely an “in-between.”  I’ve always found Martha Stewart fascinating, but a little too deep for me.  But guess what?  I made her…what seemed to be difficult…cupcakes and had much success!  Maybe I’m an inch or two over “in-between.” 

There are two things I love about these chocolate cupcakes…(1)  They are a “one-bowl” recipe. (2)  The Swiss Meringue Buttercream is terrific!  One warning…the frosting contains 4 sticks of butter …Paula Deen would be so happy!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Swiss Meringue Buttercream
1 1/4 cups unsweetened Dutch-Process Cocoa Powder
2 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/4 baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons table salt
2 large whole eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
1 1/4 cups warm water
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter (melted and cooled)
1 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Swiss Meringue Buttercream (recipe follows)

PREPARE OVEN AND TINS  Heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line two standard muffin tins with paper cupcake liners.

COMBINE INGREDIENTS In a large bowl, whisk together cocoa, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Whisk in eggs, yolk, water, buttermilk, butter, and vanilla until smooth and combined, about 3 minutes.

BAKE Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each about halfway.  Bake cupcakes, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted into the centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes.

COOL AND FROST Transfer to a wire rack; cool 10 minutes, then turn out cupcakes onto rack.  Let cool completely before frosting.  Unfrosted cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container, up to 3 days at room temperature or frozen up to 1 month.

1 1/2 cups sugar
6 large egg whites
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Begin by combining eggs whites and sugar in a mixing bowl.

Whisk this mixture over a pan of simmering water.  Because the heat is more gentle, you won’t have to use a candy thermometer. Whisk mixture until whites are warm to the touch and sugar is dissolved, 2 to 3 minutes.  Test by rubbing between your fingers; the mixture should feel smooth.

Once the sugar has melted, and the egg whites are warm, the bowl is transferred to an electric-mixer stand and and the mixture is whipped (with whisk attachment) to stiff peaks on low speed (until foamy and then 10 minutes on medium-high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form and mixture is cooled completely). 

When the mixture is completely cool, softened butter is beaten in piece (on medium-low), to crate a silky smooth icing. At the beginning the buttercream will appear curdled.  It will become perfectly smooth with continued beating.  After all the butter has been incorporated, beat in vanilla.  Switch to the paddle attachment.  Beat on the lowest speed to reduce air bubbles, 3 to 5 minutes.  Let stand, covered with plastic wrap until ready to use. 

SOURCE:  Stewart, Martha. “Chocolate Cupcakes with Swiss Meringue Buttercream.” Recipe. Martha Stewart’s Cooking School:  Lessons and Recipes for the Home Cook. New York: Clarkson Potter, 2008. 453-456.