No, I am not posting about cupcakes that I have misplaced. This season of ABC’s Lost is the sixth and final season, and this is a post that came to be because last Friday, during my weekly progress meeting with my boss, my boss said, “You excited?” I said, “About what?” He said, “About Lost, it starts next Tuesday. You should make Lost cupcakes in honor of the premiere!” He was just kidding, but I suddenly got that faraway look as thoughts of what I could do to decorate such cupcakes came to mind. Immediately I thought to put the logo of The Dharma Initiative onto the cupcakes, only made with fondant and somehow painted on with black frosting. For those who do not follow the show, The Dharma Initiative is a group of scientists who conduct experiments on and study the island that the show is centered around (the show is actually filmed in Hawaii. Sigh. Hawaii.). And their logo looks like what is sitting on the cupcake below:
DARK CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES
(from Cooks Illustrated, “American Classics 2009”)
(makes 12 cupcakes; do not double recipe…make two separate batches if you need more)
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
- 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1/2 cup (1 1/2 oz) Dutch-processed cocoa
- 3/4 cup (3 3/4 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup (5 1/4 oz) sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 1/2 cup (4 oz) sour cream
- Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard-sized muffin pan (1/2 cup capacity) with baking-cup liners.
- Combine butter, chocolate and cocoa in medium heatproof bowl. Set bowl over saucepan containing barely simmering water; heat mixture until butter and chocolate are melted and whisk until smooth and fully combined. Set aside to cool until just warm to touch.
- Whisk flour, baking soda and baking powder in small bowl to combine
- Whisk eggs in second medium bowl to combine; add sugar, vanilla and salt and whisk until fully incorporated. Add cooled chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Sift about one-third of flour mixture over chocolate mixture and whisk until combined; whisk in sour cream until combined; then sift in remaining flour mixture and whisk batter until it is homogenous and thick.
- Divide batter evenly among muffin pan cups. Bake until skewer inserted into center of cupcakes comes out clean, 18-20 minutes.
- Cool cupcakes in muffin pan on wire rack until cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes. Carefully lift each cupcake from muffin pan and set on wire rack. Cool to room temperature before icing, about 30 minutes.
The first time I tried to make cupcakes that used melted chocolate, I used an electric mixer despite being told that I was to “whisk” and not “beat” the ingredients, and it didn’t turn out so well. So I thought maybe there’s a reason they want me to whisk. And whisk I did.
(straight from http://www.underthehighchair.com/2009/04/everyones-friendyellow-butter-cupcakes.html)
24 ounces best-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon boiling water
3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
Pinch of salt
Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over (but not touching) simmering water. Turn off heat; stir occasionally until chocolate has melted completely, about 15 minutes. Set bowl on countertop, and let chocolate cool to room temperature, 25 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine cocoa powder and boiling water in a small bowl; stir until cocoa is dissolved.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, confectioners’ sugar, and salt on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add melted chocolate; beat on low speed until combined, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in cocoa mixture.
To frost a layer cake: Using a serrated knife, trim tops of cakes to make level; brush off crumbs. Place four strips of parchment paper around perimeter of a serving plate or lazy Susan. Place the first layer on the cake plate, and spread top with 3/4 cup of frosting. Place the second layer on top, bottom side up, and spread top with 3/4 cup of frosting; repeat process with the third layer. Place the remaining layer on top of the third layer, bottom-side up; insert a dowel into the center of cakes if necessary. Spread entire cake with remaining frosting.