Another friend’s birthday so in my way predictable manner: more cupcakes. I like giving cupcakes better than cakes because it makes sharing easier .. no cake cutting and plates and such, just grab a cupcake and eat out of hand. These are summery with the raspberries (local ones are just coming into season) but would be easy enough to make in January too, with the overload of chocolate.
for the chocolate cupcakes
4 1/2 ounces high-quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
9 tablespoons (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
for the white chocolate buttercream frosting
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon white chocolate extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cup confectioners sugar
for the filling and decoration
1/3 cup raspberry jam
fresh raspberries (at least 12, one for each cupcake; more if you like)
fresh mint (optional)
Preheat oven to 400F. Prepare a muffin pan with liners.
In the top part of a double boiler over very hot, but not simmering, water, or in a microwave at medium power, melt the chocolate. Remove from the heat or the oven, and let stand, stirring often, until cool.
Beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle blade on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. On low speed, beat in the confectioners’ sugar. Return the speed to medium-high and beat until light in color and texture, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Beat in the chocolate and vanilla.
Beat the egg whites and granulated sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed just until they form soft, shiny peaks. Do not overbeat. Stir about one fourth of the beaten whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it, then fold in the remaining whites, leaving a few visible wisps of whites. Sift half of the flour over the chocolate mixture, and fold in with a rubber spatula. Repeat with the remaining flour.
Fill the lined muffin cups three-quarters full, being careful not to overfill. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean, about 20-22 minutes. Cool the cupcakes in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Once the cupcakes are completely cooled, make your frosting. Cream together the butter, chocolate extract and salt until light and fluffy. Mix in the confectioners sugar a little bit at a time. The frosting may be a little loose, so add a bit more powdered sugar as necessary. Refrigerate to set for 20-30 minutes.
To assemble and decorate: Insert a small knife at a 45 degree angle about 1/8 inch from the edge of each cupcake and cut all the way around, remove a cone of cake (or use a cupcake corer, if you have one). Cut away all but the top 1/4 inch of the cone; leaving only a small disk of cake which will be used to top the cupcake. With a small spoon, pour in 1-2 tablespoons of the raspberry jam with whole raspberries into the hole and then top with the disk. Pipe a generous amount of frosting on each cupcake. Garnish as you like with fresh raspberries and mint (optional).