Saturday, August 23, 2008

Chocolate Cupcakes

I seem to be on a baking binge lately, which is not so much a compulsion but a diversion from the more mundane--yet desperately needing to be done--household tasks such as cleaning. This explains why my house is so incredibly filthy but smells good.

Knowing that I'll need a kick-butt chocolate cake for the State Fair in a couple of weeks, I decided to nose around for a recipe to try. I thought the chocolate peanut butter cake on smitten kitchen looked especially yummy. It's actually a sour cream chocolate cake, which was handy as I had a tub of sour cream in the refrigerator stamped with a sell-by date of 8-24-08.I decided to make cupcakes because they are mobile and easily disposed of. I have to say, this recipe is almost too easy to make, and I honestly thought I had done something horribly wrong because I wasn't prepared for the batter's lack of viscousness. However, it baked just fine.

I would just like to quickly point out that if you choose to use patterned baking cups and actually want the ability to discern the design on your finished product, only bake a light-colored batter in them. Case in point, Spider-Man just barely shows up over the chocolate.

So, what did I do with all those cupcakes? I had some sour cream left, so I made the sour cream chocolate icing recipe from my copy of The Cake Mix Doctor. It came out a bit softer than usual, so I decided to use it as filling for the cupcakes. This is when a Bismark (#230) tip becomes a very useful thing to have around. Here they are with the filling just peeking out from the tops.
Still needing an icing for these cupcakes was a good enough excuse to make a ganache. Well, that and the left over heavy cream in the fridge for which I otherwise had no use for. I love the shine of ganache in the morning. Once the ganache cooled sufficiently and was thick enough to pipe, I iced the cupcakes with a tip #1M.
Here is the finished cupcake sliced in half to show the filling. I love how dark and rich this cake is. The recipe called for Dutch-Process cocoa powder, which for some reason has become very difficult to find. I didn't have any in my pantry, so I just used the regular Hershey's I had on hand, and it seems to have done the job just fine. Yum!

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