Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

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I made these cupcakes for a double baby shower at Bob’s work. One woman was having a girl, and one was having a boy, so I decided to make Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting and use Royal Icing Decorations to give them blue or pink accents. These cupcakes were really, really good. They are definitely more dense than a box chocolate cake mix; my mom compared them to a chocolate muffin texture, but the flavor is amazing. I would eat them plain! Adding the Vanilla Buttercream made them even better. Bob said these went over very well with his coworkers. I was happy to see how cute the Royal Icing decorations turned out – I have since used this technique again and love the results!
Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
Makes 12 cupcakes; Note: this recipe does not double well; it is best to make two separate batches and bake each separately.
Ingredients:
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa (1 1/2 ounces)
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (3 3/4 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar (5 1/4 ounces)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 cup sour cream (4 ounces)
Directions:
1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard-sized muffin pan (cups have 1/2-cup capacity) with baking-cup liners.
2. Combine butter, chocolate, and cocoa in medium heatproof bowl. Set bowl over saucepan containing barely simmering water; heat mixture until butter and chocolate are melted and whisk until smooth and combined. Set aside to cool until just warm to the touch.
3. Whisk flour, baking soda, and baking powder in small bowl to combine.
4. Whisk eggs in second medium bowl to combine; add sugar, vanilla, and salt and whisk until fully incorporated. Add cooled chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Sift about one-third of flour mixture over chocolate mixture and whisk until combined; whisk in sour cream until combined, then sift remaining flour mixture over and whisk until batter is homogenous and thick.
5. Divide batter evenly among muffin pan cups. Bake until toothpick inserted into center of cupcakes comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes.
6. Cool cupcakes in muffin pan on wire rack until cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes. Carefully lift each cupcake from muffin pan and set on wire rack. Cool to room temperature before icing, about 30 minutes.
7. Store leftover cupcakes (frosted or unfrosted) in the refirgerator, but let them come to room temperature before serving.
Source: America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook
I love these cupcake liners by Reynold’s:
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They have aluminum foil on the inside so the grease doesn’t soak through the liner, and the design stays perfect. It also makes it easy to scrape the crumbs off the empty liner, if you like to do that!

Royal Icing Decorations
Note: this isn’t exactly a tutorial on how to make these decorations but rather the steps involved if you are familiar with royal icing.
1. Prepare a batch of Royal Icing.
2. Add very small amounts of warm water to reach a medium consistency.
3. Pipe desired shapes onto waxed paper and immediately add a sugar pearl to the center of the shape, if desired.
4. Allow to try overnight, uncovered.
5. Gently peel off the decorations off the waxed paper and store in an airtight container until ready to use.
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