There’s a lot to like in a little cupcake. There’s the joy of having a cake all to yourself. The pleasure of getting creamy frosting and tender cake in every bite. And the fun of decorating, or not: Plain is good, too. This cupcake has two more things going for it: It’s easy enough to make with kids or to have kids make themselves, and it’s both childishly appealing and sophisticated — the cake is not very sweet and the chocolate frosting is deep and rich. There’s enough frosting for each cupcake to be finished with a few thick swirls. If you have turret-type topknots in mind, multiply the recipe. Whatever you do, keep mixing the frosting after the cold butter goes in so that it thickens enough to spread.
- Serves: 18 persons
- 1 ¾cups (238 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2teaspoons baking powder
- ¼teaspoon baking soda
- ¼teaspoon fine sea salt
- 10tablespoons (133 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1cup (200 grams) sugar
- 3large eggs
- 1large yolk
- 2teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ¾cup (180 milliliters) buttermilk, shaken
- 1cup (170 grams) mini chocolate chips
- 9ounces (255 grams) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 3tablespoons confectioner’s sugar, sifted
- 6tablespoons (85 grams) cold unsalted butter
- Sprinkles, optional
Step 1Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds, and heat to 350 degrees. Line 18 muffin cups with cupcake papers, or grease the tins.
Step 2Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Step 3Working with a mixer, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Add the whole eggs and the yolk one at a time, mixing well after each goes in. Beat in the vanilla.
Step 4On low speed, mix in the dry ingredients in three additions and the buttermilk in two, scraping the bowl, as needed, and beating until the batter is smooth. Mix in the chips.
Step 5Divide the batter among the muffin cups. Bake for 20-22 minutes — rotating the pans top to bottom and front to back after 10 minutes — or until the tops feel springy to the touch (they won’t color much) and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool to room temperature. Frost, and cover with sprinkles, if you’d like, before the frosting dries.
Step 6Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl, and fit it into a saucepan of simmering water — don’t let the bottom of the bowl touch the water. Melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally. Remove the bowl from the heat, whisk in the sugar and let rest on the counter for 3 minutes. Bit by bit, whisk in the cold butter, mixing until smooth and thickened just enough to spread. Use immediately.