Tuesday, January 20, 2015
A Chocolate Velvet Swirl
This month the choices for recipes for the Cake Slice Bakers included Whoopie Pies, a decadent Ambrosia Cake, a classic Italian Cream Cake and my choice, Chocolate Velvet Cupcakes. We are baking from Southern Living's The Southern Cake Book, so all the recipes looked amazing. It was really hard to choose. I finally settled on the Chocolate Velvet Cupcakes because I decided that was the perfect recipe for using the mini-swirl Bundt cake pan that was a Christmas gift. These little cakes aren't cupcakes, but they are not too far off. A tender chocolate cake baked up beautifully as small swirl cakes and looked so pretty with a decoration of melted chocolate mixed with whipping cream.
We were supposed to make a cream cheese based browned butter frosting, but the recipe made 5 cups! That would have been perfect for 36 cupcakes, but I cut the recipe down and made 1/3 or it, so that much frosting was too much.
These little cakes made the perfect treat to celebrate our daughter's birthday. It is really, really early to be celebrating, but she will be gone for work on her actual birthday, so we celebrated over the weekend.
I made the cake batter as described with one small change (other than the portion). I could have sworn that I bought sour cream, but couldn't find it, so I substituted plain yogurt. Worked like a charm.
Do try this recipe if you like chocolate cake. The crumb of the cake is tight and tender, the chocolate flavor is just assertive enough and your kitchen will smell heavenly while you make these treats.
I'm including the full recipe for 36 cupcakes in case you want to go big.
Chocolate Velvet Cupcakes
Makes 36 cupcakes
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. and prepare enough cupcake pans to hold 36 cupcake papers.
Melt 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate morsels in the microwave at HIGH in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for about a minute at a time, stirring well after each, until chocolate is melted and smooth. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat 1/2 cup soft butter and 16 oz. of brown sugar until well blended (about 5 minutes). Take three room temperature eggs and add them, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the melted chocolate. Beat until well blended, scraping beater(s) and bowl as needed.
Sift together 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add this mixture to the batter alternately with 8 oz. sour cream, adding a third of the flour first, then half the sour cream, a third of the flour, the rest of the sour cream and the final third of the flour mixture. Scrape beater(s) and bowl as needed. Blend thoroughly , then gradually add 1 cup hot water in a slow, steady stream at low speed, mixing just until blended. Stir in vanilla.
Fill prepared baking cups 3/4 full. Bake in preheated oven for 18 - 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pans to wire racks and cool completely (about 45 minutes) before frosting.
Pipe frosting on cupcakes. (you will need about 5 cups frosting).
Browned Butter-Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
In a small heavy saucepan over medium heat cook 1/2 cup butter, stirring constantly, for 6-8 minutes or until butter begins to turn golden brown. Butter will start to smell nutty. Immediately remove from heat and pour butter into a heat proof bowl. Chill butter 1 hour, or until butter is cool and begins to solidify. Beat butter and two 8-oz. packages of softened cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add two packages (16 -oz each) powered confectioners; sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Stir in 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Makes 5 cups.