Baking Classics: Chocolate Cupcakes

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The Technique

Chocolate Cupcakes

Cupcakes seem innocent enough but sometimes they can be a bit tricky to pull off from scratch. Many layer cake recipes make the claim that they can easily convert into two dozen magical little cakes by portioning the batter into two paper-lined {12-cup} muffin tins & baking them for less time. You may have success at times, however it’s not always so. When you get down to the last bit of batter in the bowl & twenty-four slots have been portioned properly, you should definitely think twice before overfilling the cupcake liners which often results in the batter rising too much with the overflow baking directly onto the pan. As cake ratios vary, in particular recipes with up to 3 cups of flour, so will the yield sometimes leaving you with a a half dozen or so filled liners & no additional muffin tins or oven space to bake the third pan right away. Cramming too much into the oven at one time can lead to all of the little cakes baking wonky. Flat tops that stick to the muffin tins, soft set centers & overly browned, tough bottoms are just some of the problems that can arise from trying to convert any old cake recipe into a lovely batch of happy cupcakes.

The Cocoa Powder

Blooming the cocoa powder is a method that helps deliver a texture that’s more moist as well as a deeper, intense chocolate flavor. You’ll find this technique used in a variety of ways. Sometimes it’s added to water or even oil & allowed to stand a few minutes. The old-fashioned cake blending technique of adding boiling water at the end of a chocolate cake recipe works to bloom the cocoa powder by hydrating it as it has a tendency to dry out baked goods. This process also helps to smooth out the cocoa before baking to prevent any lumps throughout the final cake. The hot coffee in this recipe simply mimics this notion plus intensifies the chocolate flavor one step further.

When it comes to chemical leaveners, many bakers will often use a combination to address the natural acidity of cocoa powder. When other acidic elements are added to the mix, it’s important to balance the recipe to make certain the batter rises properly & prevent off flavors in the final cake. Using both baking soda & baking powder in chocolate cake recipes & formulas with other acidic ingredients such as sour cream, buttermilk or Greek yogurt work together to deliver the perfect sweet treat. Just the right amount of baking soda acts to neutralize & provide some lift as baking soda needs the acid in order to do its job. The baking powder steps in to finish the leavening of the cake. Baking powder does have a low percentage of acid in the form of monocalcium phosphate so by using both in the correct amount, you’ll get that perfect rise without any off flavors.  

Chocolate-Sour-Cream-Cupcakes-Rebecca-Gordon-Buttermilk-Lipstick-Culinary-Entertaining-Techniques-Southern-Hostess-RebeccaGordon-Pastry-Chef-Publisher-Birmingham-Alabamarebecca gordon buttermilk lipstick Southern Recipes & How To's Easy Tailgate Recipes RebeccaGordon ButtermilkLipstickChocolate-Sour Cream Cupcakes
makes 16

 Filling the paper liners half full produces a cupcake that rises just to the top of the liner with an ever so slight dome.

1 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp table salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup hot coffee

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two muffin tins with 16 paper liners. Cream the butter & the brown sugar in a stand mixer on Medium speed 3 to 4 minutes. Stop the mixer occasionally & scrape down the bowl sides using a rubber spatula. Add the egg & the vanilla. Beat on Low just until the yolk disappears. Whisk together the flour, the cocoa, the baking powder, the baking soda & the salt. Add alternately with the sour cream & blend on Low speed just until combined. Slowly pour the coffee into the batter while the mixer is running on Low speed. Blend the mixture just until combined. Portion the batter between the cupcake liners filling each about half full. Bake both pans on the center oven rack 16 to 18 minutes. The cupcakes should appear slightly puffed & a wooden pick will test clean. Cool completely.

The Recipe Box. Rebecca Gordon Buttermilk Lipstick Southern Hostess Editor In Chief Southern Culinary & Entertaining BrandFROM THE KITCHEN OF BUTTERMILK LIPSTICK
{testing notes}

How To Make Chocolate Cupcakes

Portioning the Chocolate-Sour Cream Cupcake batter in brown paper liners gives the baked goods a more polished appearance. American Buttercream makes a lovely finish to these simple little cakes. Place it in a pastry bag to give them a bakery look if you so choose. 

Chocolate-Sour-Cream-Cupcakes-Rebecca-Gordon-Buttermilk-Lipstick-Culinary-Entertaining-Techniques-Southern-Hostess-RebeccaGordon-Pastry-Chef-Publisher-Birmingham-Alabama rebecca gordon buttermilk lipstick Southern Recipes & How To's Easy Tailgate Recipes RebeccaGordon ButtermilkLipstickThe Technique

A few pieces of equipment will be necessary in order to complete the task. Read through the recipe before beginning. Here’s what you should know.

No. 1

Portion the batter between the cupcake liners filling each about half full. 


No. 2

Bake both pans on the center oven rack 16 to 18 minutes. The cupcakes should appear slightly puffed & a wooden pick will test clean. Cool completely.

The Tune
“String Quintet No. 6 in E-flat major, K. 614” Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

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Be sweet. 

About Rebecca Gordon

* Southern Born * Southern Bred * Tailgate Queen * Football Fanatic * Buttermilk Lipstick Culinary & Entertaining Techniques Instructor * Cooking & Baking Tutorials * Media Personality * Baking & Pastry Artist * Gardener * Runner * Retainer of Useless Pop Culture One Liners * Terrible Dancer * Even Worse Singer * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Rebecca Gordon shares over 20 years of cooking knowledge in the instructional filled original editorial content on Buttermilk Lipstick as well as the cooking class format videos that can be found on her YouTube channel through regular collaboration with numerous media outlets. Gordon draws from an extensive background in corporate publishing spanning over 13 years on both the business and editorial side focusing on women’s southern lifestyle. She is a classically trained pastry chef and draws from fine dining restaurant experience from a James Beard award winning chef as well as her southern roots upbringing to share cooking, entertaining & style content relevant to today’s modern woman.


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