Every year, without fail, as soon as we hit the month of September, I always tell myself that I am going to make one of those monster cupcakes for Halloween. But yet, year after year, I just never got around to doing it. Not sure why. Those Halloween-themed cupcakes are so freaking cute; why wouldn’t I want to make them? This year, I even bought black food coloring, and told myself that I would make them. But nope. This year, I had an excuse to make treats around Halloween for several special people in my life and I ended up with these beautiful chocolate cupcakes frosted with gorgeous shiny dark chocolate frosting. I told myself that they look perfect on their own! I didn’t use my black food coloring. And those autumn-colored sprinkles, I had found them earlier this month at the grocery store, and I couldn’t help myself to put some on the top. I think they looked perfect.
Anyhow, this was my first time of making these Devil’s Food Cupcakes. They were dark, dense, and had just enough chocolaty flavor, not too much, not too light. But the frosting. Let me tell you about the frosting. It was the BEST chocolate frosting that I have ever made and eaten. It had the complexity of flavors from three different chocolates (see my note below on the recipe), and it piped beautifully. Make sure that the melted butter and chocolate come to room temperature or it won’t hold up to piping. I had to leave it in the refrigerator to harden a little bit, but it piped beautifully for me. If it gets too soft from the warmth of your hands, put it back in the refrigerator. Happy Halloween my dear readers!
Adapted from Martha Stewart Cupcakes
3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
3/4 cup hot water
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1- 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
1 -1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream, room temperature
Preheat oven to 350° F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners, set aside.
Using a fine-mesh sieve, sift cocoa powder into a small bowl, add hot water and whisk until smooth.
Using a fine-mesh sieve, sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl.
In a saucepan, over medium-low heat, melt butter and sugar, stirring to combine. Remove from heat, and pour into a mixing bowl. With an electric mixer on medium low speed, beat until mixture is cooled, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add vanilla, then cocoa mixture, and beat until combined. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the sour cream, and beating until just combined after each.
Divide batter evenly among cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool for 15 minutes; remove cupcakes from tins and let cool completely. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.
To finish, use a small offset spatula to spread cupcakes with frosting. Refrigerate up to 3 days in airtight containers; bring to room temperature and garnish with chocolate curls just before serving.
Yield: 30 standard-size cupcakes
Dark Chocolate Frosting
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon boiling water
2 1/4 cups (4 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 pounds best-quality semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled (I used 1/2 lb each of bittersweet, unsweetened, and milk chocolate)
Combine cocoa and the boiling water, stirring until cocoa has dissolved. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter, confectioners’ sugar, and salt until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low. Add melted and cooled chocolate, beating until combined and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in the cocoa mixture.
Yield: ~ 5 cups of frosting