Wednesday, September 8, 2010

cupcake madness

I met a friend down in VA last July and we stopped in at a sweet little bake shop wherein we partook of scrumpteous cupcakes that were golden cake with minty frosting. In a word, nummy. I go bonkers for mint stuff, particularly pepperminty stuff, not like the hard candies though, more like Andes Candies and Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream etc. Although, I have either heard of, or have an idea for (can't remember which at this point), white hot chocolate with crushed peppermint candies. I think there is a great possibility I could like that.

I digress. So my friend asked me if I would ever do my own version of those cupcakes, and I really thought I'd like to, but I can never find peppermint extract. Thankfully The Spice House (see link also at right of blog), carries a staggering array of spices, extracts and flavorings. I was able to order some just in time for my friend's baby shower this month. 

Try as I might though, I could not replicate the same kind of golden moist crumb and flavor that the cupcake at the bake shop had. I suspect it is somewhat because I use King Arthur Flour which is not bleached or bromated to make the texture extra fine and I won't use things like margarine ever - or even shortening if I can help it. After trying several versions, my family and I having to eat the "mistakes" (aww so sad! ;P ) I found an addictively delicious Chocolate mint chocolate chip cupcake. I found it on a blog called Cast Sugar hosted right here on Blogspot and it is from a book apparently named "How To Eat A Cupcake". Apropos, eh?

And thankfully for you dear reader, I will provide it here with my few changes at the end that made it more to my liking. Enjoy, and thank me with your mouth full later. :D


1/4 c. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 c. granulated sugar
1/3 c. (2 oz.) unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped, melted
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp. peppermint extract
1/2 c. chocolate milk
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. (6 oz.) mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Insert liners into a medium cupcake pan.

In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Beat the melted chocolate into the butter mixture. Add the eggs, peppermint extract, and chocolate milk. Beat until creamy.

In a separate medium-sized bowl combine the flour and baking soda.
Add the dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture and beat until well blended (careful not to over-beat the batter). With a spatula, stir in the chocolate chips.
Fill the cupcake liners 2/3-3/4 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in pan.
Mint Buttercream:

3 c. confectioner's sugar + 3 Tbsp.
1 c. unsalted butter
1 Tbsp. milk
Pinch salt
1 tsp. mint extract
Green food coloring
In a small bowl using an electric mixer on low, beat together sugar, butter, milk, and salt until creamy. Increase speed to high and beat until light and fluffy. Add mint extract and a few drops of green food coloring, beating until frosting is smooth.
Spread icing on cooled cupcakes with a knife or transfer to a pastry bag and pipe over cupcakes.
***My Changes***
If you use KAF as I do, then you may consider using their special cake flour for this, for a finer texture. I intend to give that a go next time I make them as it has just recently become available in my local store.
Otherwise, my changes are mainly for the frosting. It was, I thought, insanely thick and kind of buttery - but in a bad way. Nobody wants to really feel like they're eating whipped butter on a cupcake, even though that's what it is. So here's how it went for me.
I did not have any regular white milk, so I used some of the chocolate milk I had left. The fact that the milk was chocolate did not do much to either the color or flavor in my opinion, as it was such a small amount added.
I made a double batch of frosting because I made a double batch of cupcakes, so I will relate the measurements to you for that size. This will allow Ample frosting for all of the cupcakes, and it is the kind of cupcake that needs ample frosting. (Have you ever heard of one that doesn't?? Maybe it's more like we need the ample frosting. Either way, just put some more on!)
1 LB of butter = 2 cups/4 sticks
I used 2 sticks salted and 2 were UNsalted.
I added one "shake" of salt from my shaker even though I had some salted butter in it already. Probably equal to a very small pinch?
4 TBS of milk
3 Tsp of peppermint extract (to help cut the butter's intensity and I liked the mint stronger tasting)
1 tsp of vanilla extract - gave it that lil extra somethin' somethin'
Omit green food coloring as I don't like the thought of adding something that might be unnatural to my food on purpose. I know I can't avoid it all, but I avoid what I can.
To make up for the loss of color, I added a sprinkle of mini chocolate chips on top after piping it out of my powdered sugar bag (store packaging = FREE piping bag, always a good thing). They turned out pretty cute inspite of my lack of a steady hand. That just means I need to practice on some more cupcakes. ::wink wink:: Well, maybe in the not too close future anyway.

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