Thursday, February 5, 2009

Sour Cream Chocolate Cupcakes and Chocolate Buttercream

One of my baking goals for the year is to be learn the patience and skills of cake decorating. I'm not sure what my issue is, but I just cannot, for the life of me decorate a cake or cupcake. They always look like I've mauled the cupcake instead of decorated it.

I originally made these cupcakes for the Vanderbilt tailgate of the Music City Bowl. I made all mini-ones (having just gotten a mini cupcake baking pan for Christmas) and had delusions of grandeur of decorating them with pretty little V's and U's, etc. In my head, they looked really cute and perfect... but in reality, they turned out pretty ugly. I topped the cupcakes with my favorite dark chocolate buttercream (to fit with the 'dores black color scheme) and then used a store bought tube of yellow icing to decorate with. EVEN store bought icing with a built in tip couldn't save me. Ugh. I suck.

Luckily, I had to schlep these cupcakes all over downtown Nashville and to two tailgates, etc... and they were pretty jacked up by the time they finally arrived at their finally resting place. So, I was able to blame the fact that I was carrying the cupcakes, a full bottle of baileys, two tailgating chairs, and a cup of coffee... "They were really pretty, until they got all jumbled up" Riiiiigggghhhtttt. No one was believing me, but luckily, enough beer had flowed that no one cared what they looked like.

Sadly for you (because it would be hilarious) I don't have any pictures of the decorated cupcakes. But... I do have pictures of some of the full sized cupcakes I made from the leftover batter, so that I could post the recipe.

This was the first time I'd made this cake recipe and it's a keeper. It's moist and light, and full of chocolate flavor. I always love cakes made with oil instead of butter. They turn out way better for me.

Also... a side note, Elyse from Elyse's Confectionary Creations gave my blog an award this week. And since I'm too lazy and rebellious to follow the actual rules for the award, I'm just giving her a shout out, cause her blog has some very tasty treats on there that you should check out! Thanks Elyse!

Sour Cream-Chocolate Cake

I found this recipe on Smitten Kitchen, and that recipe has peanut butter frosting and a chocolate peanut butter glaze (how amazing does that sound?). But I skipped all that and just used the cake recipe with the buttercream recipe that follows. This cake is a breeze to make, but be sure to heed Deb's advice before frosting and stick the cake or cupcakes in the freezer before you frost them. The recipe is so moist and tender that the crumb just falls completely apart when you try to frost.

Deb cites this recipe from being from Sky High: Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes (a book I definitely need to buy).

Makes an 8-inch triple layer cake that serves 12-16.

2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey Special Dark, as always)
2 tsps baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup neutral vegetable oil, such as canola, soybean, or vegetable blend
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups water
2 tbsp distilled white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch round cakepans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Whisk to combine well. Add the oil and sour cream and whisk to blend. Gradually beat in the water. Blend in the vinegar and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs and beat until well blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and be sure batter is well mixed. Divide among three prepared cake pans.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Let cool in the pans for about 20 minutes. Invert onto wire racks, carefully peeling off the paper liners, and let cool completely. (Deb Note: These cakes are very, very soft. I found them a lot easier to work with after firming them up in the freezer for 30 minutes. They'll defrost quickly once assembled. You'll be glad you did this, trust me). YES. TRUST HER.

Hershey's One Bowl Buttercream Frosting

About 2 cups of frosting. (If you're making a 3 tiered cake... my guess is you'll want to double or triple this frosting recipe. If you wind up with too much, you can always freeze it. That's what I always do with leftovers and it works really well!).

6 tbsp of butter, softened
2 2/3 cups of powdered sugar
1/2 cup Hershey's cocoa (again, I used special dark)
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Beat Butter in medium bowl. Add powdered sugar and cocoa alternately with milk; beat to spreading consistency (additional milk may be needed). Stir in vanilla.


Elyse said...

Oh no. It's dangerous for you to show me pictures this yummy so early in the morning. Now I'm going to want sour cream chocolate cupcakes for the rest of my day, and I don't think I'll be content until I have them. They look INCREDIBLE--so moist and uber-chocolatey. I can't wait to try these!

Anonymous said...

Looks amazing! How delicious!!

Sara said...

These look SO chocolaty! You can never go wrong with cupcakes, especially when they look like this.

Anonymous said...

Rich and tasty! I think it's so neat the affect that vinegar has on chocolatey foods, it really does make a difference :).

Unknown said...

Those cupcakes look so moist and chocolaty and good!

CM said...

Man, why does everyone except me have chocolate cake/cupcakes? I mean, you had these and your Paula Dean B-day cake... that's two chocolatey and delicious cake-ish items, and none for me.
(happiest wishes, btw.)

Anonymous said...

Not sure where to post this but I wanted to ask if anyone has heard of National Clicks?

Can someone help me find it?

Overheard some co-workers talking about it all week but didn't have time to ask so I thought I would post it here to see if someone could help me out.

Seems to be getting alot of buzz right now.