dear readers, THIS was one of my most memorable culinary feats. It was delightful to make and turned out beautifully. I made it for Thanksgiving dinner last year with my husband’s family, and beforehand, I hesitated because these flavors weren’t the traditional pumpkin pie, apple pie, spiced, sweet potato, or pecan dessert flavors that often grace that time of year. Nonetheless, I was inspired by a fellow blogger to try something new and unexpected. I am happy to report that it was enjoyed by all along with many other delicious and more thanksgiving-ly dishes. My husband still says that the almond buttercream frosting is THE best frosting he had ever tasted in his life – better than Sweet, Georgetown, and Sprinkles; we had more frosting leftover and he ate it by the spoonful the rest of the week. (Not that I encourage such eating habits…but it must have been that good 🙂 ) Once he reads this, I bet that I’ll receive a call shortly asking me to make it again ;).
I love integrating fresh fruit into desserts (that’s a smidgen of health and freshness for you…), and who doesn’t love a little chocolate cake?
Here we’ll make cake, frosting, and decorations.
I. Cake (adapted from The Cupcakery)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 cup buttermilk (or, mix 1 tablespoon lemon juice or regular vinegar with 1 cup of milk and let sit for 10 minutes until it begins to curdle)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake papers. Set aside. This recipe makes about 16 cupcakes.
3. In a small bowl, sift together the flour and baking soda. Set aside.
4. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
5. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the chocolate, mixing until well incorporated.
6. Add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated, but do not overbeat.
7. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended and the batter is smooth.
8. Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about three-quarters full. Bake for 20–25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
9. VERY IMPORTANT: Cool the cupcakes completely before icing.
10. Using a cupcake corer, make an indent in the surface of each cupcake. Set aside.
while the cake is baking, you can prepare the decorations and the frosting.
II. Prepare the Decorations
- a pint of fresh raspberries
- bittersweet chocolate chips
chocolate fudge sauce (jar), or double-boiler melted chocolate
1. Now we will wash and pat dry some fresh raspberries.
2. Place one raspberry inside each cupcake (cut out earlier with a cupcake corer, or a small coffee scoop if you have one handy!)
III. Almond Buttercream
This is more or less how one makes a standard buttercream.
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 2 tbsp whipping cream
1. Using a hand mixer, mix the unsalted butter with powdered sugar. Add in almond extract and whipping cream until desired consistency is achieved.
2. Using a spatula, scoop into an icing bag, or into a sturdy freezer bag with a corner cut out.
3. Have fun decorating the cupcakes with the icing!
3. Stuff a chocolate chip in another set of raspberries.
4. Place one chocolate-chip stuffed raspberry on top of each frosted cupcake.
5. Heat up chocolate fudge sauce if straight from the fridge. Drizzle over the frosted cupcakes.
6. Plate and serve!
Try it and let me know what you think – is this an awesome cupcake? what did you make it for?