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Baking is sacred. Its methodical measurements are therapeutic. The precision required to ensure that one baked good is as close to perfection as possible is a challenge. A challenge that somehow calms me and makes me appreciate the end result that much more.

 

I rarely bake with chocolate. Honestly, I’m more of a vanilla kind of girl. On this overcast Sunday afternoon, however, I was inspired to use cocoa. Its warmth and immediate soothing qualities were just what I needed. Not to mention, there’s an added layer of decadence when a cupcake is layered with rich, creamy chocolate frosting.

 

I modified this recipe to create the most perfect Buttermilk Chocolate Cupcakes I’ve ever tasted.
First, ingredients.

 

CBC_Ingredients

 

Cupcake:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup baking cocoa (the quality matters, here!)
2 tablespoons ground espresso beans
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup water

 

Frosting:
1/2 cup butter, softened
3-3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar)
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate (unsweetened is very important!)
6-8 tablespoons evaporated milk (you may need to add more in order to get the frosting consistency you like)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
Sprinkles if you’re feeling fancy

 

Making the Magic: 
Preheat oven to 375°. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.

 

CBC_dry ingredients

 

Combine buttermilk and water. Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk and water, beating well after each addition.

 

DSC01368

 

Fill paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full (no, really. 2/3. No one likes a big muffin top).

 

CBC_cups

 

Bake 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool at least 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

 

For frosting, in a small bowl (that I put in the freezer for a few minutes to get nice and cold), beat butter and confectioners’ sugar until it’s all well-blended. It will not be smooth. Beat in melted chocolate, milk, vanilla and salt. 

 

CBC_bowl
After the cupcakes have truly cooled (like, really cool to the touch. Don’t get anxious here!), you may frost.

 

CBC_frost

 

And then you will be left with the most beautiful, perfect chocolate cupcakes.

 

CBC_cupcake

 

DSC01378

After indulging in a couple of these cupcakes (the rest came to work with me!), I’m inspired to keep baking with chocolate.

 

What’s your favorite chocolate dessert?

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