dark chocolate cupcakesWhen I was a kid, I had a dream that one of those cookie shops in the mall exploded and filled the mall with chocolate chip cookie. Big ponds of gooey chocolate chip and 1/4 mile pillows of cookie. To get out, I had to swim through the chip lakes and munch and climb through the cookie parts. I was probably nine or ten when I had this dream, one of those perfect-world kid dreams that for some reason I still remember. ¬†Now that I’ve made these cupcakes, I wish I had dreams about them like that one.

Yet another never-lets-me-down recipe from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook (seriously, I’m starting to wonder if I’ll ever need another cookbook again), these cupcakes¬†were so fudgy and awesome that Adam and I just stared at each other through mouthfuls of perfection. The batter was more like fudge than batter, giving these cupcake tops a texture almost like a great chewy cookie. And I made frosting from 2 recipes in this book, too. They each make 3 cups of frosting, and 24 cupcakes need 3 cups. I halved the recipes and still had frosting leftover. Fantastic stuff, Adam thought this was the best chocolate frosting ever. I made them last weekend, and now I feel like I want to make them again already.

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

Makes: 24 cupcakes (I halved it and actually made 11 big ones)
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes plus cooling time

16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used Nestle chocolate chips because it’s all I had on hand)
1 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1.5 cups flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
4 large eggs at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
1.5 cups sugar
1 cup sour cream

1. Microwave the butter, chocolate, and cocoa powder together, whisking often, until melted and smooth, 1-3 minutes. Set aside to cool until just warm to the touch.

chocolate mix

melty chocolate

2. Meanwhile, adjust an oven rack ot the middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two muffin pans with cupcake liners.

3. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl and set aside.

4. Whisk the eggs and vanilla together in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in the sugar until combined. Whisk in the cooled chocolate mixture.

5. Sift 1/3 of the flour mixture over the batter, then whisk it in. Whisk in the sour cream. Sift the remaining flour mixture over the batter and whisk until completelt incorporated (the batter will be thick). **I did all the mixing in my stand mixer, but you don’t need to do this.

6. Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 full. Bake until a wooden skewer insterted into the center of a cupcake comes out with a few crumbs attached, 18-22 minutes. Rotate the pans halfway through baking.

mmm...batter

7. Let the cupcakes cool in the pans on wire racks for 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool completely on the racks before frosting, about 1 hour.

cooling

Quick and Rich Vanilla Frosting

Makes: 3 cups
Start to finish: 10 minutes

2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
2.5 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2.5 cups confectioners’ (powdered) sugar

Stir the cream, vanilla, and salt together in a small bowl until the salt dissolves. Beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until smooth, 30-60 seconds. Reduce the speed to medium-low, slowly add the confectioners’ sugar, and beat until smooth, 2-5 minutes. Beat in the cream mixture. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, 4 to 8 minutes.

Dark Chocolate Frosting

Substitute 8 ounces melted semisweet or bittersweet chocolate for the heavy cream and reduce the confectioners’ sugar to cups. Beat 2 tablespoons cocoa powder into the butter and sugar mixture.