Chinese New Year is barely over and Valentine’s day is just around the corner.
J and I don’t formally celebrate Valentine’s day. There are not grand plans for this day but we would always do something small like have a impromptu dinner date with a bottle of wine and some cheese at home or just whipping up a simple meal for two with whatever ingredients that we find at the supermarket.
We don’t do gift exchanges but I would always find time to bake something sweet for him because he seemed to have developed a sweet tooth after meeting me.
We met while we were in school and I would always seem to be passing him boxes of sweet treats. One of the first thing I baked for him was a Tupperware of vanilla cookies and I remember him finishing about half the box even before he got home.
These chocolate cupcakes are perfect for a loved one this Valentine’s day. They are chocolatey, moist and deeply rich little cakes with a well-balanced chocolate frosting.
The key to making these cupcakes extra special is to make them with the best cocoa powder you can lay your hands on. I like to use Valrhona‘s Dutch-processed cocoa powder (which is very intense and rich) or Callebaut cocoa powder ( cheaper but still very good). The chocolate flavour comes entirely from the cocoa powder used so you can see why it is essential to be a little more selective when it comes to this.
The frosting is chocolatey and smooth yet it does not leave you with a greasy mouth feel that is commonly associated buttercream frosting. I really love this particular frosting- it’s like eating chilled chocolate mousse and I can’t stop myself from licking the remains off the spatula.
These cupcakes are easy to make and would be on the top of any chocolate lover’s list. If you are looking for a quick recipe to make this Valentine’s day, I urge you to consider these pretty little things.
Recipe: Chocolate cupcake with chocolate cream cheese frosting
Makes 13-15 regular cupcakes
Chocolate cupcake recipe adapted from Tish Boyles perfect chocolate cake recipe
These cupcakes are soft, fluffy and moist. They are also richly chocolatey. The chocolate cream cheese frosting is the perfect on the cupcake – rich, luscious and smooth without it being too greasy.
170g unsalted butter, room temperature
240g granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp kahlua/coffee liqueur or rum
2 large eggs, room temperature
115g cake flour
45g cocoa powder (use a good quality cocoa powder)
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
*Substitute 1 cup of buttermilk: 1 cup of regular milk with the addition of 1 tbsp white vinegar or lemon juice. Leave it to stand for 5 mins.
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius and line the muffin trays with cupcake paper liners.
2. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy using a paddle attachment.
2. Add in vanilla and kahlua and mix well to incorporate.
3. Add in eggs, one at a time, give it a good mix.
4. Add in sifted dry ingredients and buttermilk in 2 -3 additions, alternating between the two. Starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix well until well-incorporated at low speed. Do not overmix.
5. Use an ice cream scoop to scoop the cupcake batter into the paper liners (until 3/4 way).
6. Bake at 180 degrees celcius for about 20-25 minutes or until the top springs back to touch or until a cake tester inserted into its centre comes out clean.
Chocolate cream cheese frosting
Enough to frost 13-15 cupcakes
140g cream cheese, room temperature
70g unsalted butter, room temperature
100g icing sugar, sifted
20g cocoa powder, good quality, sifted
+/- 3 tbsp full cream milk
1. Ensure that cream cheese and butter is at room temperature before placing them into a mixer to cream (paddle attachment) until smooth and uniform.
2. Add in the sifted icing sugar and cocoa powder and mix. The mixture may look a little dry at this stage. Add in the milk (only as much as you need) until it is smooth and of pipable consistency.
1. Using a plain piping nozzle, pipe a blob onto each of the cupcakes (only do so when the cupcakes are completely cooled).
2. Decorate with melted chocolate, sprinkles or dragées. Chill the cupcakes in the fridge.
*Cupcakes are best eaten on the first and second day it is made. It is best to allow them to come to room temperature before serving.