Monday, March 21, 2011

Hi-Hat Cupcakes. This isn't your usual cupcake!

Who doesn't love a cupcake? I know I do, and I'm sure you do too. When you're in the mood for a decadent taste of cake, cupcakes are easy and small enough to satisfy that sinful craving without having to bake up an entire cake - not like that's a bad thing either! Even my chocolate allergy couldn't keep me from enjoying one of these devilishly delicious creatures!

These unique cupcakes were featured on the new "how-to" show by Martha Stewart called "Martha Bakes" (Mondays, 11:00 AM est, on
Hallmark Channel).

These rich devil's food cupcakes are topped with a creamy snow-white frosting, then dipped in a delicious semi-sweet chocolate coating. You can find the recipe here, "Hi-Hat Cupcakes". This makes 3 dozen cupcakes and you'll need to make that many because they're going to disappear very quickly!!
The recipe can also be found in Martha Stewart's Cupcakes Book

First, you'll make the cake batter. Remember to gather all your ingredients and pre-measure them out. It makes the recipe move along more smoothly! Also, you'll want to use the very best chocolate/cocoa you can find. Don't skimp on this because you'll definitely notice the difference. Go for Valrhona or Ghirardelli, which can be found in most supermarkets and gourmet food shops. Even Meijer now offers a really good dutch-processed baking cocoa, called Rodelle Baking Cocoa.

The cake recipe is quite simple and unique to most cake recipes as it doesn't include milk or buttermilk, like most cake recipes call for. Instead it uses sour cream. Start out by whisking together the cocoa with hot water until it's smooth, then whisk in the sour cream, and let cool. In a separate medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light a fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla.

With the mixer on low speed, add flour mixture, alternating with the cocoa mixture. Beat until combined.

Fill lined cupcake pans, about half full and bake until a tester comes out clean. Let cool completely. Now the key here is to have the cupcakes bake to just come up to the top of the cupcake liner, not bake over. Of course, as usual, I was a tad bit generous with the batter, but that's ok!

Now on to making that creamy frosting! This is very simple and you only need a few ingredients, egg whites (at room temperature), sugar, water, cream of tartar and vanilla.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, whisk together sugar, egg whites, water, and cream of tartar until foamy.

Set the bowl on top of a pan of barely simmering water and whisk until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is warm to the touch.

Move the bowl to your mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat on high speed until frosting forms stiff peaks. Add vanilla and beat until combined.

Transfer the frosting to two large pastry bags fitted with either a large (1/2-inch) plain or open star tip. Leaving a 1/8-inch border on each cupcake, pipe a spiral of frosting into a 2-inch-high cone shape. You want to work fast on this part because if it is warm in the kitchen, the frosting will soften quickly and start to "fall" as you can see on a couple of the cupcakes in the bottom left of the photo. Transfer the cupcakes to a baking sheet, and refrigerate while preparing the chocolate coating.

To make the chocolate coating, simple take 24 ounces of chopped semi-sweet chocolate (again, the very best you can get), and 6 tablespoons of safflower oil, placed in a medium sized heat-proof bowl. This chocolate coating is also excellent for dipping strawberries, pretzels, ice cream cones, or anything else you feel like coating in chocolate!!

Set the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, and stir until melted and smooth.

Transfer the melted chocolate to a small, deep, bowl or container. Let cool for about 15 minutes. Now, again, working quickly, hold each cupcake by its bottom, dip in the chocolate to coat all of the white frosting, allowing excess to drip off. Transfer to a baking sheet. Now the actual recipe states to let the cupcakes stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before refrigerating them, but because of the white frosting softening rather quickly, I skipped this step.

Place the cupcakes on a serving platter, and refrigerate for 30 minutes to let the coating set. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours more and serve cold! Cupcakes can be refrigerated up to 3 days, but I doubt they'll last that long!!