These are wonderful. And fairly easy. And incredibly messy.
Don’t let the “one-bowl” descriptor fool you though, you’re going to dirty some dishes when you make these. But it’s worth it.
Go ahead and measure all your wet ingredients in the same cup, if you have one big enough, because the cupcake batter itself really is a matter of sifting all your dry ingredients together into the mixing bowl (including the sugar) and then just pouring all the wet ingredients on top and turning the mixer on.
What follows is a little more involved. The batter itself is incredibly runny, as it’s more than a third water along with all the other wet ingredients. I don’t know why I didn’t just pour it into the measuring cup to then pour into the cupcake liners, but I’m so accustomed to thick, muffin-like cupcake batter and I think using a big Ziplock bag with a hole cut in a bottom corner is a tidy and efficient way to fill cupcake cups.
But that was a real dumb move. There was lots of spillage, not to mention I had little control over how full the cups got, resulting in overfilling all but one of them.
I soldiered on, however. The recipe yields 24 standard cupcakes; I made 12 standard and 6 jumbo cupcakes.
I am going to get a placard for my kitchen that reads, “House of the Falling Cake” because just like my Lemon Pound Cakes from last week, my One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes collapsed upon baking. I reduced the leavening considerably, but alas it did not ensure cute, domed cupcakes.
Unlike muffins, cupcakes are a little forgiving with things like this because you eventually cover the tops with frosting. So once cooled, I used some kitchen shears to trim the “muffin top”overhang and used those scrap pieces to sort-of fill in the divots in the center of each cupcake. A little cupcake plastic surgery, if you will – taking undesirable excess from one area and strategically placing it in another. Frosting will hide any evidence.
So, on to the frosting then. These are incredibly rich, deep chocolate cupcakes and could probably accomodate a number of frostings. The MSBH suggests Swiss Meringue Buttercream, for which there is a recipe in the back of the book in the “Basic Recipes” section.
You begin by cooking sugar and egg whites over a double broiler, whisking constantly until they reach the specified temperature. This took me about 6 to 8 minutes.
The sugar/egg white mixture is then mixed on high speed with an electric mixer until peaks form. Then, you add a bunch of butter and vanilla. Lately I’ve been using vanilla bean paste instead of extract in things like frostings, ice cream, and custard as I think it adds a much deeper vanilla flavor. It does leave little black specks of vanilla bean, however, so is probably not ideal for things that have to be pure white.
The frosting curdled a bit after adding the vanilla bean paste but beating it on medium high-speed for about a minute longer took care of this.
This frosting is so good! Unlike any I’ve tasted before – kind of like what vanilla custard ice cream would taste like if it stayed un-melted at room temperature. It’s light and soft and smooth and silky and not very sweet at all.
I frosted the standard-sized cupcakes and garnished with chocolate curls as the MSBH instructs.
The jumbo cupcakes were heading to my friend for his birthday and I opted to top them with some of the great berries I got at various road-side stands over my vacation a week ago. I become a bit of a fruit-hoarder in summer, especially if I’m traveling to places with road-side farm stands. It’s a little ridiculous and I’m glad I could part with some of these berries before they go bad. I’ll never eat them all on my own.
All-around a great recipe. Here are some recommendations from me to you, if you decide to make these:
- Use a spouted bowl with a handle or a large measuring cup to portion the batter into the paper cup liners. Don’t try to pour it directly from the mixing bowl and for heaven’s sake don’t put it in a bag and try to squeeze it out like I did.
- Fill the paper liner cups just halfway. These expand a lot while baking.
- The frosting should be kept chilled but let the frosted cupcakes sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving. The frosting just doesn’t taste as good cold and the texture becomes weird. The cupcakes themselves are much better at room temp too.