Yellow Butter Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream

Baking makes me so happy. I sometimes daydream of what it would be like if I could throw caution to the wind, travel the world, learn how to bake from the most talented bakers on the planet, and turn baking into a career. But then I drift back to reality and make peace with the fact that I am where I am supposed to be.

Hobbies are hobbies because they are a mental vacation from the everyday stress of life. I heard a segment on NPR a few months ago about people who turned their favorite pastimes into a career. Unfortunately, the theme of the story seemed to be that when a hobby turns into work, it…well… becomes work. The enjoyment of it often lessens. I would be so sad if I could not longer take comfort in the fact that, even after the most draining days, my battle-tested Kitchen Aid is always waiting for me on our kitchen counter, with no consequences or strings attached.

When I bake, things don’t always turn out as I’d hoped or imagined. But the satisfaction from creating something from scratch with my own hands is worth every second of time I spend. I bake for myself, I bake to show my love for family and friends, and I bake because it’s just plain fun. And that’s what a hobby should always be about. :)

Yellow Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream

Yield: 24 cupcakes

Ingredients

For the cupcakes:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups milk

For the frosting:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3-3.5 cups powdered sugar
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons brewed coffee

Directions

For the cupcakes:

Preheat the oven to 35o degrees. Line two standard muffin tins with cupcake liners.

Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment until light and fluffy, about five minutes. Add in the eggs, one at a time until well incorporated. Add in the vanilla. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure proper mixing.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. With the mixer on low, alternately add in the flour and milk. Mix just until combined.

Scoop the batter into the cupcake tins evenly (I prefer to use a 2 inch ice cream scoop).

Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool completely on a cooling rack.

For the frosting:

Place the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer with a whisk attachment. Whip the butter on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add in the vanilla and mix well.

Gradually add in the cocoa powder and powdered sugar until combined. The mixture will be dry. Add in the milk and coffee. Mix well until smooth and shiny.

Pipe the frosting on cooled cupcakes (I used a 1M Wilton tip).

Store in an airtight container for 3-4 days or freeze for 2 weeks.

Source: Cupcakes- Martha Stewart, Frosting- Lolly’s Sweet & Savory Treats

Mini Twinkie Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting


I saw a box of Twinkies in the grocery store a few weeks ago and I couldn’t remember the last time I had tried one (I think I may have been 8 years old).  Then an idea popped in my head to make my own Twinkies. After I got home that evening, I did a little research online and it turned out there are several homemade variations. I decided to make my own version and added a little spin by adding chocolate buttercream to the sweet treat.  The end result was quite tasty and they got the seal of approval from my official taste-tester, Robert, and the therapists at the clinic seemed to really like them as well. My only complaint is that the chocolate buttercream  overshadowed the fluffy filling, but that could easily be fixed by not icing these bad boys; perhaps dusting the cupcakes lightly with powdered sugar instead. Either way, I don’t think you can go wrong!

Mini Twinkie Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

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Yield: 2 1/2 dozen

Ingredients:

For the Cupcakes:

  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 large egg plus 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

For the Filling:

  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
  • ¾ cup Marshmallow Fluff
  • 1 ½ tbsp. plus 1 tsp. heavy cream

For the Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup unsweeted cocoa powder (my favorite is Ghiradelli)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp brewed coffee
  • 2-3 Tbsp heavy cream
  • Pinch of salt

Directions:

For the Cupcakes:

1. Adjust your oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line mini muffin tins with mini cupcake liners.

2. In a bowl of a standing mixer, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

3. Add the butter, sour cream, egg yolks, and vanilla and beat until the the mixture is just combined (don’t over mix). Scrape down the sides with a spatula and hand mix to ensure the ingredients are fully incorporated.

4. Divide the batter evenly into the tins- I used about a 2/3 full scoop from my 2 oz ice cream scooper.

5. Bake until the cupcake tops are pale gold and a toothpick comes out clean, about 12-14 minutes.  Allow the cupcakes to cool for a few minutes and then transfer them to a wire baking rack to cool completely

For the Filling:

1. Place the butter and marshmallow creme in a bowl with a standing mixer. Mix with a whisk attachment on medium-high until light and fluffy.

2. Slow the mixer down to low speed and add the cream. Mix until incorporated

3. Gradually add the powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time until combined. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides.

4. Transfer the filling to a pastry bag with a medium-sized round tip or a squeeze bottle.

5. Press the tip into the cooled cupcakes and squeeze a small amount of the filling into the cake.

For the Buttercream:

1. Place the butter in a bowl with a standing mixer. Whip on high speed until fluffy (about 2 minutes).

2. Slow the mixer down and add the cream, vanilla, and coffee. Mix well.

3. Add in the salt and mix. Gradually add the powdered sugar and cocoa powder, about 1/2 cup at a time and mix until well incorporated. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides.

4. Transfer the icing to a pastry bag fitted with your icing tip of choice and decorate the cupcakes as desired.

5. Store the cupcakes in an airtight container.

Source: Cupcakes- Baking Illustrated; Filling- Annie’s Eats, Food and Wine; Frosting- Lolly’s Sweet Treats