Thursday, November 17, 2011

life is a piece of (cup)cake

The world has gone crazy over cupcakes . Tiny stores and specialty shops pop up everywhere selling these mouthwatering delights. It has become a multimillion dollar business because it doesn't come cheap. At $3 a piece ,not everyone can afford it but everyone can bake it. In New York, there is a mile long line for cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery( thank you Carrie and the Sex & the City gang)It's ridiculous, so why not put on your aprons and start whisking?

Makes 40 cupcakes

* 2 3/4 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 2 1/2 cups sugar
* 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
* 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled to room temperature
* 4 extra-large eggs
* 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* 1 cup sour cream
* Vanilla French Buttercream (see below)


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 40 standard muffin cups with cupcake liners and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together sugar and butter until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add chocolate and beat on medium speed until well combined, 1 to 2 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add sour cream and vanilla and mix until well combined, 1 to 2 minutes.
4. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in three parts, alternating with 1 cup water and beginning and ending with flour; beat until just combined, 1 to 3 minutes.
5. Fill prepared muffin cups three-quarters full with batter. Transfer to oven and bake for 10 minutes. Rotate muffin pans and continue baking until a cake tester inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, about 10 minutes more. Let cool completely before frosting.

Vanilla French Buttercream


Makes about 1 quart

* 7 extra-large egg whites
* 2 1/2 cups sugar
* 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
* 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* 2 vanilla beans, halved lengthwise


1. In a large heatproof bowl set over (but not touching) simmering water, whisk together egg whites and sugar until sugar is melted and mixture reaches 140 degrees on a candy thermometer, 7 to 10 minutes.
2. Transfer mixture to the bowl of an electric mixture fitted with the whisk attachment; beat on high until stiff peaks form, 12 to 15 minutes. Add cream of tartar and beat for one minute more.
3. Reduce speed to medium and add butter, a few pieces at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla extract and scrape vanilla bean seeds into mixture; beat until well combined, about 2 minutes. Transfer to refrigerator; chill for 15 minutes before using.

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