Rich & Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
Yield: 18 standard cupcakes *** (We made 12 and an entire loaf cake since we ran out of the foil wrappers!)
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup strong, hot black coffee *** ( I did not want the coffee flavour so I just used hot water, cooled a bit)
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line muffin/cupcake tin with paper or foil cupcake liners. In bowl of electric mixer, sift all dry ingredients. Add all remaining ingredients to bowl with the dry ingredients and with paddle attachment on mixer, mix for 2 minutes on medium speed (you may need the plastic splash-guard that comes with mixer) and pour into prepared cupcake pan until 2/3 full (or just less). Batter will be liquidy.
Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until toothpick or skewer comes out with a few crumbs. Try not to overbake. Cool on wire racks in pans for 5 minutes then gently turn cupcakes onto racks until completely cool.
Raspberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream
*Essentially, this is vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream with some clean, dry, fresh raspberries into it. It doesn’t require many raspberries to give it a nice flavour, but it’s personal preference. You can also use seedless raspberry-puree for a smooth finish. Add a drop of pink food colouring for a touch more pink.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Because it does take some time to make, I always make in batches of 3 (vanilla), because it freezes so well and saves time. A batch of 3 fits perfectly in a 5QT KitchenAid mixer bowl. You can then thaw, divide, add separate flavours, purees, etc. I have recently decreased the amount of butter I use in my buttercream, because I find it has a lighter, fluffier quality to it. I’ve adjusted the recipe accordingly, but you can add more butter if you prefer. I’ve also recently started heating the egg whites and sugar to 160° F, rather than 140° F, and I find the meringue comes together so quickly this way (just an observation, however 140° F has worked for me for years). Just a note!
Yield: 5 cups
5 large egg whites (30g each–total 150g)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons superfine granulated sugar
3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, cut into cubes
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
*1/2 pint fresh, rinsed & dried raspberries (optional)
Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer with paper towel and vinegar, to remove any trace of grease. Add egg whites and sugar, and simmer over a pot of water (not boiling), whisking constantly, until temperature reaches 160 degrees F, or if you don’t have a candy thermometer, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot.
With whisk attachment of mixer, begin to whip until the mixture is thick, glossy, and cool. Switch over to paddle attachment and, while mixing on medium speed continously, add softened butter in chunks until incorporated, and mix until it has reached a silky smooth texture (if curdles, keep mixing and it will come back to smooth). Add vanilla and salt, mix well. You can also add a wide variety of flavourings, extracts, and more.
Add about a 1/2 pint of fresh washed & dried raspberries if you like the textured effect, or raspberry puree for a smooth finish.
You can also add a drop or 2 of pink gel colour to get a pinker look.
Keep in airtight container in refrigerator for up to one week, leaving out at room temperature when needed, rewhipping in mixer for 5 minutes.
Can freeze for up to 6-8 weeks. To thaw, place on counter overnight, and rewhip for 5 minutes with paddle attachment in an electric mixer.
Makes approximately 5 cups of buttercream.
*Recipe for Swiss Meringue Buttercream adapted from Martha Stewart.
Thanks to Sweetoplita for the recipe, *** I used fresh blackberries with 1 tbsp of four fruit jam (blackberry, strawberry, raspberry and cherry) in my buttercream.