Happy Spring to all! It was such a lovely Monday in St. Paul. The snow is melting and I can actually smell the “earthiness” as everything thaws. Hopefully we’ve seen the last of the weekly snowfall that has blanketed the Upper Midwest for months. (Ha! After I posted this it started snowing and continued through the night. Did I just curse us with another foot of snow?– Ed.)
I’ve had an amazing week– not earth-shattering, but exciting in my little world. I finally committed to a MN Food Bloggers event. It took place at Corner Table in Minneapolis. Forty food bloggers were guests to Chef Scott Pampuch in his beautiful “farm to table” restaurant. Scott is a chef with big ideas. He’s taking things beyond supporting local, sustainable food in the running of his business. Along with offering cooking and teaching classes, he’s also the founder of “tour de farm“. This concept has people travel to local farms to get involved in and enjoy farm-to-table food production and preparation. He recently launched a new “Farm and Table CSK (community-supported kitchen) Box”, as well. It’s similar to a CSA (community-supported agriculture), but contains various meats, sides, mirepoix, and stocks. The idea is basically to help you get local farm raised meat to your table. It’s a nice addition to your CSA box or farmers’ market produce.
I loved being surrounded by so many amazing people who are not only involved in food blogging, but who also share my philosophy on food production and preparation. It really helped validate what I’m trying to do through this site. I’m looking forward to many more get-togethers with these kind, supportive foodies. (I’m also looking forward to more flutes of Brut Cava). A special thanks goes out to Stephanie Meyer for organizing the event.
Now to the topic at hand. Killer Chocolate Cupcakes. Why Killer? Because it sounds better than the ol’ “Devil’s Food”, which is what they originally started as. Then I tweaked them
a little a lot. The result is honestly “killer”. They’re that good. My husband says they might be the best cupcakes he’s ever eaten, and we did a cupcake tour of nearly every bakery in the Twin Cities this past summer. How about that! They combine the ideal amount of chocolate with a rich cream-cheese frosting. They are made with cake flour– rather than all-purpose flour– which gives them a soft, tender texture. That’s not to say that they’re not good, solid cupcakes. These little numbers are still dense enough to compliment the thick, heavenly frosting. Hope you enjoy them!
The Recipe: Killer Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
2 ounces high-quality semi-sweet chocolate (60% cacao works great), chopped
1/2 cup strong, very hot coffee
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup cake flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2/3 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable or corn oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 – 8 ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla
For the Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°. Line 16-18 standard (1/3 cup) muffin cups with paper liners. Spray with non-stick spray. Combine cocoa powder and chocolate in medium bowl. Pour 1/2 cup hot coffee over; whisk until smooth. Whisk in sour cream.
Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in another medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat brown sugar, oil, granulated sugar, eggs, and vanilla in large bowl until light and creamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in flour mixture, alternating with chocolate mixture in 2 additions. Careful not to over-mix. Divide batter among paper liners.
Bake until tester inserted into center comes out with some crumbs attached, about 16-18 minutes. Cool in pans for about 10 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to cooling racks and cool completely.
For the frosting: Combine cream cheese and butter in a bowl for an electric mixer. Beat on high until light and fluffy, a couple of minutes. Add the sifted confectioners’ sugar and vanilla and beat on low at first, then increase to high. When frosting is light and airy — it is ready to put on top of the cupcakes. Of course, sprinkles add a lovely touch!
Source for cupcakes: Adapted from Bon Appetit Desserts Cookbook
One more thought– thank you all for the wonderful and supportive comments last week. I appreciated each and every one of them, and would love to hear if any of you made the tart. Have a fantastic week!