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Cupcakes are about having your own little cake that you do not have to share. These Chocolate Cupcakes are my favorite type of cupcake. The combination of a rich and moist chocolate butter cake topped with a rich and creamy chocolate butter frosting is irresistible. The frosting can be either piped into lovely swirls or, for the kids, all you need is a quick swipe of frosting with a liberal dusting of colored sprinkles.

 

Cupcakes may come in many flavors, but chocolate is still a favorite. This Chocolate Cupcake gets its rich chocolate flavor from unsweetened cocoa powder, and you can use either Dutch-processed or natural unsweetened. I like to first dissolve the cocoa powder in either hot boiling water or hot coffee as this really brings out the cocoa powder's full flavor.

The chocolate butter frosting recipe is adapted from the cookbook Chocolate Bar by Matt Lewis and Alison Nelson who run a chocolate boutique in New York that they call a "candy store for grown-ups". It is the type of chocolate frosting my mother always used to cover cakes. Made with butter, confectioners (icing or powdered) sugar, vanilla extract and unsweetened chocolate, it is perfect for piping. It uses unsweetened chocolate which is also known as baking, plain, or bitter chocolate. This is chocolate in its rawest form. Chocolate liquor that has been refined and contains 50-55% cocoa butter. Since no sugar has been added to the chocolate it has a strong, bitter taste that is used in cooking and baking but is never eaten out of hand. When used in this frosting it imparts a deep chocolate flavor. Ghirardelli and Baker's unsweetened chocolate can normally be found on the baking isle of most grocery stores, or other brands I particularly like that can be found in specialty food stores or else on line are Dagoba, Guittard, or Scharffen Berger. If you can't find unsweetened chocolate, you can use either a bittersweet or semi sweet chocolate, although the frosting will have a sweeter flavor.

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Stephanie Jaworski

 

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