Saturday, August 28, 2010

One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes

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I think some of the best gifts I've ever gotten were food. Cocoa powder from Belgium, boxes of golden raisins, freshly baked bread. I love it all. And it's not because I consider myself a "foodie" or a connoisseur of the finer things in life. It's because I'm picky and also practical, and food is something I can always find use for and appreciate. In turn, I love giving food because I've seen people's faces light up at the sight of a chocolate tart or a loaf of cinnamon raisin bread. There is something personal about food, something very primal that speaks to our inner humanity. It's no wonder that the first thing guests are offered in many cultures as soon as they cross the threshold is something to eat. Well, a martini is good too, but you get my point.

Cupcakes

So when I'm asked to create party favors, I immediately think of food because hey, we can all use a cupcake once in a while, right? I was a tad skeptical about making chocolate cupcakes with only cocoa powder, but these turned out just lovely. Valhrona cocoa powder gives them a perfectly dark, indulgently chocolaty flavor, and the soft crumb and flat heads are just waiting to be topped with rich buttercream and devoured on the spot. Which is what we did with a few "test" cupcakes ("Oh, look, this one isn't perfect enough to go in the box - now, we have to eat it! Darn!"). Also, magic words: ONE BOWL. There's really no downside to these cupcakes and the biggest upside is that the guests truly loved them and almost everyone asked to take more than one so they could share with their spouses, kids and grandkids. It's the biggest compliment a cook/baker could get!

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One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes
(from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook)
Yields 24 cupcakes

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups dutch-process cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs, plus 1 large egg yolk
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil, plus 2 tablespoons
1 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups warm water

Preheat oven to 350F and line or spray two standard 12-cup muffin pans.

Sift into the mixer bowl: flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add the eggs, yolk, milk, oil, vanilla and warm water.

Beat with a paddle attachment on low speed until smooth and combined, about 3 minutes; scrape down the sides of the bowl if needed.

Divide batter evenly among the muffin cups (my batter was pretty liquid, so I used a measuring cup to pour it out into the muffin cups).

Bake, rotating pans halfway through the baking time, until a cake tester inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in the pan for a little bit and then transfer onto a wire rack or board to cool completely. Frost with swiss meringue buttercream!

Cupcakes can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days (or frozen for a few months).

*I ordered the cupcake boxes from here.
*Labels: I adapted the sign and the labels from the amazingly creative and talented Amy from the Eat Drink Chic blog. I printed them out on full sheet shipping labels and cut them out. If anyone wants the template, send me an email and I can make it available.

33 comments:

Jennifurla said...

Wonderful favor, I would not mind leaving with one of these.

El said...

Such thoughtful gifts. beautiful cupcakes and gorgeous little boxes. Who wouldn't want that for a gift! Hope your summer is going well!

Les rêves d'une boulangère (Brittany) said...

Oh my gosh! You cupcakes are gorgeous, and the boxes with little notes look adorable and professional. I wish I could create something this beautiful, yet simple. I have always preferred cupcakes just made on rich cocoa because I believe it results in a lighter texture cake compared to chocolate. Well done :)

Irene said...

Yes! I noticed that with these cupcakes. The crumb was very light and I loved it!

olga said...

this is too funny. i literally, not a minute ago, printed martha's one bowl recipe. then clicked on my google reader, and saw your post. on what looks to be same recipe!! :) i'm playing around with cupcake recipes as i'm making 100 for a friend's wedding.

Mary said...

These are such beautiful cupcakes. I imagine they are as tasty as they are beautiful. I found your blog by chance but will be back often. I love your recipes and the food you feature. Ihope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

Romy said...

I use this recipe for both cake and cupcakes at least twice a month. Tastes great, easy to mix up, and no waiting for butter to soften. Your pink buttercream is so pretty!

oneordinaryday said...

So very pretty. I love the color contrast between the frosting and cupcake. The buttercream color looks exactly like the soft ice cream I loved as a kid - black raspberry. Thanks for that memory and for sharing your cupcakes.

LE said...

Wait, that box said "Mama Irene's Kitchen"...

Ash said...

What a great favor!! and how cute it is!! Love those boxes too.. just darling!

Christine said...

I'm with LE. "Our Little Cupcake"? Is there something very exciting you're trying to tell us?!

Katie said...

What a fantastic gift! I bet they went down a storm. I'd love the template for the labels - so professional looking

Reginald@CeramicCanvas said...

Wow! These cupcakes look

absolutely delish! I also

agree with the use of cocoa

vs chocolate and that it makes

for a fluffier texture.

Beautiful work.

Cheers!

Kim said...

Those look so cute! Would you share with us where you got the cute boxes and the sign for the cupcakes?

pickyin @ Life is Great said...

Beautiful, love the soft pink and dark chocolate color combination.

Irene said...

I actually link the boxes at the end of the post. Couldn't figure out how to link a document, though, so if you'd like the template, please email me at sweet (dot) persuasion (at) gmail (dot) com and I'll send it to you!

Janis said...

LOVE the cute boxes! I use this recipe all the time and get rave reviews! :) Super easy...love the "one bowl." Another favorite chocolate cake of mine is the Guinness Chocolate Cake. BEAUTIFUL cupcakes!!!

trang said...

Irene, Are these regular cupcake sizes? or the large? What a great idea for favors. I also made the stravberry rum cake for my family a few weeks ago and they loved it despite it not being a little hard(I didn't put enough rum on). Thank you so much. =)

Irene said...

These are the regular size cupcakes. LOL on the rum. I was conservative on my recommendations so as not to make it *too* boozy! :)

Michele said...

These cupcakes are so beautiful and they look yummy too! Could you share the frosting recipe also? Is it raspberry or strawberry? Thanks so much!

Irene said...

Hi Michele, the buttercream is actually hyperlinked in the recipe. It's the basic Swiss meringue buttercream from Martha Stewart. I just flavored it with a bit of vanilla this time and a little pink food coloring. If you search the archives, though, I've made it with strawberry puree before and it turned out lovely!

Jane said...

Irene--
Oh my. How beautiful!

Are we expecting an Irene Junior??

:)
Jane

The Caked Crusader said...

They look beautiful. Personally, I love baking with cocoa as it doesn't have the bitterness of dark chocolate

sohdalex said...

These are gorgeous! I love all the design and packaging work as well, SO cute. ;)

RamblingTart said...

Oh wow! What deliciously dense, moist and dark cupcakes. :-) I'm swooning. :-)

Brigitte said...

Those cupcakes are perfect! A friend asked me to make 300 for her wedding... but I'm not crazy. At least, I don't think I am.

féenoménale said...

I love your boxes, a very nice gift to offer. It gives me ideas

Mariel said...

These are gorgeous! And so professional-looking, I was surprised to read that you made the labels from scratch. Oh, and cupcakes look yummmy too :) Congrats on your new little bundle!

Helene said...

I've made that recipe and we love these cupcakes. So quick to make and delicious. I love the boxes and labels.

Leslie said...

Just found your blog!!! Love LOVE L-O-V-E IT!!!

Robostir said...

These cupcakes looks gorgeous! Thanks for the recipe.

Ellen said...

Your piping skills are amazing! And your strawberry scone recipe saved my life, it's the only one I've ever tried and the only one I'll ever use!

Savory dumpling said...

This looks so good! I am going to try this recipe for a bridal shower next week!