Dark Chocolate Mint Cupcakes
Well hello, and welcome to my first blog post!
Recently I've been thinking about how I can add more value to my website and add a little positive vibage to the internet, and a little recipe blog seems like the obvious answer. What's more wholesome than a baking blog? So I thought I'd share some of my processes, thoughts, and tips, and take some cute baking photos along the way!
For my first recipe, I made some dark chocolate mint cupcakes. They're super moist and have a really rich dark Oreo flavor because of the type of cocoa I'm using--black cocoa! I use the King Arthur brand which you can order online. You can use any cocoa, though. This is a really delicious chocolate cake recipe that is perfect for any occasion, so easy to make, and honestly took me YEARS to land on (with many failed, dry cakes in the process). What a journey.
I n g r e d i e n t s
F o r t h e C a k e :
224 g Cake Flour
2 C Sugar
3/4 C Black Cocoa
2 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
1 C Hot Water
1 Tbsp Instant Coffee Crystals
1 C Buttermilk (real buttermilk truly does make a difference!)
1/2 C Vegetable Oil
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
F o r t h e F r o s t i n g :
Base Frosting (I used cream cheese frosting, but you can use any vanilla buttercream)
1 generous Tbsp Black Cocoa
Ok, this is a super simple chocolate cake recipe. It's what we in the biz call a "dump cake."
H e r e ' s t h e r u n d o w n :
1. Preheat your oven to 350*F.
You can also prepare your cupcake tin with liners at this point. This recipe makes about 1 1/2 - 2 dozen cupcakes (or about 18-24. Sorry, I think in dozens.)
2. Measure out and combine all of your dry ingredients in the mixing bowl.
You may have noticed that I use grams to measure my flour. I find it's much more consistent than trying to measure out cups, but if you don't have a kitchen scale, it measures out to 1 3/4 Cups.
I always begin by weighing out my flour directly in the mixing bowl, then adding the rest of the dry ingredients over that.
Turn the whisk--I said the whisk attachment, not the paddle--on low speed. You want a nice consistent mixture so nobody ends up with a mouthful of baking powder!
While that's mixing thoroughly I like to use that time to measure out my liquid ingredients.
3. Measure out all your liquid ingredients.
I like to use a 4 cup liquid measuring cup because it fits all the liquid ingredients and allows me to pour everything in at once, creating an overall more consistent...consistency.
Start with the hot water because it needs to be hot for the instant coffee to properly dissolve. Then add the buttermilk and oil because you will need those measuring cup lines!
After those are measured out, you can add your eggs and vanilla. To avoid losing shell bits in your cake, crack your eggs in a separate container, then add them to the rest of the liquids.
4. Combine your liquid and dry ingredients.
With the mixer still on low, slowly pour in your liquid ingredients. You want this mixing on low while you pour if possible because you reeeeeally don't want any clumps.
When it's all thoroughly combined, I usually take the bowl and whisk right off the mixer and give it a final whisk, making sure to get all the good stuff from the bottom and sides of the bowl. If you're not sure it's quite mixed up yet, you can put it back on the mixer, then hand whisk it again, as many times as you think necessary. One is usually enough, though.
This is a very wet recipe. It's what makes the best, most moist cupcakes possible! Don't go crazy and try thickening it up with extra flour, you want that nice runny goop.
5. Fill your cupcake liners!
I usually use a 1/3 measuring cup and scrape it with a rubber spatula to make sure they're all even, and I find it's the perfect size for these liners that I use! However if you're using the shorter cupcake liners that Wilton makes, I find that using a 1/4 measuring cup and filling it a little less than full is just right for those!
Be careful, it's goopy! So use your rubber spatula to give it a quick scrape on the sides and bottom before slopping it over your whole counter.
When the mix gets near the bottom of the bowl, I pour the rest back in the measuring cup so it's easier to scoop, then I can pour the last bit directly in the last liner.
Bake for about 18-20 minutes. If they jiggle when you go to check on them, slide them right back in for a few more minutes. You should be able to give it a gentle little tap tap and it springs back, doesn't sink. If you're really really not sure, you can test it with a toothpick. I just prefer not to poke my cupcakes
The cupcakes must be completely cool before frosting or the frosting will slide right off.
6. Minting and Choco-fying the Frosting!
Start with your base cream cheese (or vanilla) frosting and divide it in half.
I did the mint first so I wouldn't have to wash the mixing bowl between flavors :) I find that 1/2 tsp mint extract is enough for about 3-4 cups of frosting, but this is really a preference thing and you will unfortunately have to taste test (darn). Just be sure to use a clean spoon each time! I also used 1 drop of teal gel food coloring which gave me a really pretty minty green.
Now you can transfer your mint frosting into some saran wrap to make a frosting sausage. Don't worry, we'll get to that in a minute.
Move your other half of frosting into the mixing bowl and add your generous Tbsp of cocoa powder (or however much you decide on. Again, taste testing is really the way to go.)
Make a chocolate frosting sausage.
7. Decorate your cupcakes!
I used a 1M frosting tip, which looks like a big 6-point star and gives you that classic cupcake swirl.
Set up your piping bag with the 1M tip, and insert the frosting sausages vertically side by side. Technically, you can sort of accomplish the half-and-half swirl by scooping your two flavors in by hand, but trust me, the frosting sausages will save you mess and allow you to refill much easier. They also keep the two flavors separated while in the bag so your frosting doesn't start to all turn brown near the end and you get these really clean swirls.
I gave some Andes Candies a coarse chop and sprinkled them on top, but you could use any minty or chocolatey topping you prefer! A nice chocolate ganache drizzle would be adorable and delicious!