I’m still cooking for one and it is not any easier than it was a couple months ago. Dave is doing amazingly well; unfortunately his throat is still too swollen to swallow more than a smoothie, or an occasional IPA! The doctors tell us this is not unusual as it takes a long time to heal from intense radiation treatments. Dave being Dave, he has taken to making my dinner. It’s a nice break for me, but I believe it must be torture for him!
Flipping through Food & Wine magazine Friday night, I became intrigued with Mindy Segal’s Chocolate Buttermilk Snack Cakes. The truth is, I really miss baking. I used to bake before Fentons band practice as I knew whatever I came up with, would be gone in a few hours. I actually like “the baking” more than I like “the eating”. I am happy with one or two cookies, or as in this case, one cupcake. I knew our friend Jeff would be thrilled with a “clean” version of that familiar and “toxic” lunch box treat. Jeff and I frequently discuss possible recreations of our childhood favorites! I baked the cakes on Saturday, filled, frosted and delivered them on Sunday. The only resemblance to the elementary school lunch-box version, is the squiggle on top! The rich, moist dark chocolate cupcake is filled with creamy marscapone cheese and sweetened whipped cream and topped with a bittersweet dark chocolate glaze. My adaptation of Mindy’s recipe is below. And yes – that is Dave’s original lunch box!
For the cupcakes
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup strong, brewed coffee, cooled
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup canola oil
1 large egg
Pour the buttermilk and the coffee into a 2-cup measuring cup. Add the vanilla. Set aside.
Place the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Fluff with a whisk to break up any clumps and mix all ingredients together. Set aside.
In a large stand mixer, beat the sugar and the oil until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until fully incorporated.
With the mixer running on low, add 1/3 the flour mixture and 1/3 the milk mixture. Repeat until all ingredients are incorporated.
Heat the oven to 350′. Oil two 12 cup cupcake tins, with coconut or canola oil spray. Place 2-3 Tablespoons of batter in each cupcake cup.
Bake for 6 minutes, rotate pans and bake another 6 minutes. Cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Let cupcakes cool slightly and remove to a rack, placed over a baking sheet. Meanwhile, make the filling.
For the filling
1 cup mascarpone cheese
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of kosher salt
Beat the heavy cream with the powdered sugar for a few minutes to thicken up a bit. Add the vanilla and the mascarpone cheese and continue to whip until smooth and thick.
Two options for filling the cupcakes:
- Slice the cupcake 2/3 of the way through and place filling in the middle of each one with a spoon.
- Remove the center “core” of the cupcake and fill them using a pastry bag fitted with a metal tip. This is what we did. We used a large straw to “core” the cupcake.
Fill all cupcakes, and return to the wire rack placed over a baking pan. Meanwhile, make the glaze.
For the dark chocolate glaze
(inspired by this recipe)
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
pinch of Salt
Place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan, combine the heavy cream with the sugar and bring to a simmer, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Pour the warm cream over the chocolate and let stand until melted, about 5 minutes; whisk until smooth. Whisk in the butter, vanilla and a pinch of salt. Let the dark chocolate glaze cool until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes.
Drizzle a large spoonful of glaze over each cupcake. Please the cupcakes in the refrigerator to cool, at least 30 minutes.
I used Betty Crocker white frosting in the tube, with the tip provided, to make the squiggles on top. You could use homemade Royal icing. I chose not to, as I needed such a small amount.
I hope you enjoy these!
Have a wonderful evening,