Happy Saturday, friends!
A short while back, we celebrated one of our sprinkle squadlette's (Grace), birthdays at the office. For celebrations at work, we try to squeeze as much party and fun into our lunch hour, and I wanted to make something that morning before work. So...layer cakes were out of the question (for days I have my cakelets, getting all three of us girls ready and out the door by 8:30 takes, um, some time hehe). I thought it would be a perfect choice to make some big ole' jumbo dark chocolate cupcakes (like a regular cupcake but, well, jumbo--twice the fun, but all in one!) topped with billowy marshmallow frosting.
First off, if you've made any variation of my favourite one-bowl chocolate cupcake batter, you'll know that they are so quick and easy! And always incredibly versatile, flavourful and moist for days. So I went for the same batter I used back in these "My Favourite Chocolate Party Cupcakes
" post, but doubled the recipe to yield 12 jumbo cupcakes (the standard recipe from that post makes one dozen standard cupcakes). The batter is whipped up in about 5 minutes, which is likely as fast as a boxed cake mix, so it's hard to argue its merit in all the ways.
Fresh out of the oven, these cupcakes are everything. Because my cakelets aren't always around for the full frosting and decorating process, they love to taste test with just a sprinkling confectioners' sugar on top--I love this too! The cupcakes aren't super-sweet, but are balanced and have a real depth of flavour, so they can stand on their own. That is, of course, if you use a good quality cocoa powder. The cocoa powder is everything, really! It really is. You guys have probably caught on by now that I have a love affair with Cacao Barry Extra Brute Cocoa Powder
, and as far as using that brand, it's really just my preference, but as long as you use a good quality cocoa powder, I think you'll have a superior cupcake/cake. It's robust and dark, but not bitter or overpowering, in my opinion.
You will need a jumbo muffin/cupcake pan, which has 6 cells versus the standard 12 (see notes). Basically, each cell is two standard cupcakes, so this recipe will make either 24 standard cupcakes or 12 jumbo. These are neat to have, because it makes your everyday cupcake a little more special and noteworthy.
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And don't worry about the batter being on the thin side--that's how it should be! (See video snippet above). You literally just pour everything in the bowl and stir, or you can use the electric mixer and beat for about a minute or two.
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Because the cupcakes are jumbo, and they demand twice the frosting a regular cupcake would, I love to use marshmallow frosting (see video snippet above). This recipe is from The Sweetapolita Bakebook
, but I have adjusted it to yield the perfect quantity for these babies. It's one of my favourite frostings of all time, because you can create the towering effect and swirly appeal of a soft serve ice cream, without subjecting the recipient to an unreasonable amount of butter and confectioners' sugar (we want to bring elation to the taster, not kill them hehe).
Marshmallow frosting is essential like making meringue (lots of egg whites and sugar), but with an initial double-boiler heating of the ingredients before whipping (like Swiss Meringue) and the use of white corn syrup (corn syrup that is clear) for that stable, marshmallowy finish.
Making marshmallow frosting can intimidate some people, I think, because it involves a candy/kitchen thermometer (I still recall when that would terrify me, haha), but I pinky swear it is just to check that it's hot enough (and that it doesn't surpass the ideal temp of 130℃). If you ensure that your bowl and beaters (or any other item that comes in contact with the egg white mixture) are grease-free and squeaky clean, it's very quick and simple to make. And so rewarding. There really is nothing like freshly made billowy marshmallow frosting with tiny vanilla bean flecks. So smooth and angelic. And the candy/kitchen thermometer? Friend, not foe.
Two create swirls (and also "poofs" atop my layer cakes, such as this) of frosting, I like to use a large plain round piping tip (Ateco #809)--the bigger the better, really. I topped the "Cloud 9" cupcakes with, well, our Cloud 9 Twinkle Sprinkle Medley
, because it just seemed like the perfect fit (not just the name, of course). I actually named that sprinkle medley Cloud 9 because I could see it atop swirls of marshmallow frosting ☁.
Let's make these sky-high delights!
Cloud 9 Cupcakes
Dark, chocolatey moist cupcakes topped with fluffy, billowy vanilla marshmallow frosting and topped with sprinkles.
For the Chocolate Cupcakes:
- 1 1/2 cups (190g) all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups (300g) superfine sugar
- 1 cup (120g) dark Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoons salt
- 1 cup (240ml) buttermilk, room temperature
- 2/3 cup (160ml) coffee, hot
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (90ml) vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 whole eggs, room temperature
For the Marshmallow Frosting
- 6 egg whites
- 1 1/2 cups (300g) superfine sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons (30g) light corn syrup
- 1 pinch cream of tartar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste of pure vanilla extract
For the Chocolate Cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350° F. Line two standard cupcake pans with your favourite cupcake liners OR use a jumbo cupcake pan (you can use 1 and bake them in two batches of 6).
In the bowl of electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, sift flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
In a medium bowl or measuring cup, combine the buttermilk, coffee, oil, eggs and vanilla.
Add liquid mixture to dry ingredients and whisk until smooth, about 1 minute. Divide batter among the liners (about 3/4 full).
Bake until a wooden pick inserted into the centre of the cupcake comes out with a only a few crumbs, about 18-20 minutes for standard cupcakes and about 22-24 minutes for jumbo (this can vary greatly, depending on your oven). Try not to over-bake. Let cupcakes cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, and then turn onto rack to cool completely.
For the Marshmallow Frosting:
Wipe the stainless steel bowl and whisk of an electric mixer with a paper towel dampened with lemon juice to eliminate any trace of grease. Put the egg whites, sugar, corn syrup, cream of tartar in the bowl and put it over a saucepan of barely simmering water (be sure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water). Whisk constantly but gently until the mixture reaches 130°F (54°C), about 7 minutes depending on the temperature your egg whites were to begin with.
Transfer the bowl to the mixer. Beat the mixture on low speed for 2 minutes, then increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 more minutes. Increase the speed to hight and beat until very thick and glossy, about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla bean (or extract) and beat well.
This frosting is best used right away, but it will keep covered at room temperature for up to an hour (once it's piped into the cookies it's fine, but just for ideal spreading/piping consistency).
Decorating the Cloud 9 Cupcakes:
Fill a large pastry bag fitted with a large plain round tip (see notes) with the prepared Marshmallow Frosting and pipe a big swirl on top.
Top each cupcakes with small amount of your favourite sprinkles (I used our Sweetapolita Cloud 9 sprinkles--see notes).
Cupcakes will keep at room temperature for up to 2 days (these cupcakes on their will keep for up to 3 days, but the marshmallow frosting is best enjoyed day 1, as it can get a little spongey).
- For the cocoa powder for the cupcakes, I used Cacao Barry Extra Brute cacao powder . You can use any dark cocoa powder you like, but remember that with a chocolate baked good, the cocoa powder is everything!
- For the jumbo cupcake/muffin pan (6 cells, twice the capacity of a standard cupcake pan) I use this version. For the jumbo cupcake liners, I like to use dark brown or black liners like these with chocolate cupcakes, so they just sort of blend in with the dark cupcake.
- For the white corn syrup (corn syrup with no colour), being in Canada I use Crown Lily White Corn Syrup, but a popular and comparable American brand is Karo.
- For the the vanilla extract in the cupcakes themselves, I always use Nielsen Massey Pure Vanilla Extract and for the vanilla bean paste I used Nielsen Massey Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Bean Paste.
- Don't forget your kitchen/candy thermometer! One such as this, is affordable, and perfect for everything from meat to candy.
For the piping of the frosting, I used the Ateco 18" piping bag and the Ateco #809 large, round tip.
- For the sprinkles, I used Cloud 9 Twinkle Sprinkle Medley from Sweetapolita (hey--that's me! hehe), but you can use any sprinkles you love!
See you soon with more!