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SEASONAL RECIPE

Recipe: It’s not too late to bake frosted chocolate cupcakes for the special Gal/Val in your life

Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese FrostingKaroline Boehm Goodnick for the Boston Globe

Makes 12

Chocolate cupcakes are always a treat, even more so topped with frosting and sprinkles. It's not too late to bake them for the special Gal/Val in your life. The icing here, tangy with cream cheese, is a nice contrast to the rich little cakes. Use full-fat (block-style) cream cheese, not whipped, and have both the cream cheese and butter at room temperature. Don't beat the frosting too much or it may turn clumpy or gluey. Whatever way you add the frosting (experienced bakers can use a pastry bag and tip to make professional flourishes), the colorful sprinkles will make anyone smile.

    CUPCAKES

    • 1

      cup flour

    • cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)

    • ½

      teaspoon baking soda

    • ¼

      teaspoon salt

    • 6

      tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

    • 1

      scant cup granulated sugar (remove 2 tablespoons from 1 cup)

    • 2

      eggs

    • ½

      teaspoon vanilla extract

    • ½

      cup well-shaken buttermilk

  • 1. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.

  • 2. In a bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt until there are no lumps of cocoa remaining.

  • 3. In an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter for 2 minutes, or until soft and light. Add the sugar and beat for 2 minutes, or until creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well to blend. Beat in the vanilla.

  • 4. With the mixer set on its lowest speed, beat in half of the flour mixture, then the buttermilk, then the remaining flour mixture, just until thoroughly blended.

  • 5. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups (they'll be about 2/3 full). Bake the cupcakes in the center of the oven for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the centers comes out clean.

  • 6. Set the pan on a wire rack and let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove them from the pan and place on the rack to cool completely.

  • FROSTING

    • 8

      ounces full-fat cream cheese, at room temperature

    • ½

      cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

    • 2

      teaspoons vanilla extract

    • 2

      cups confectioners' sugar, or more if needed

    • Colored sprinkles (for decorating)

  • 1. In an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the cream cheese until soft. Add the butter and beat until blended. Add the vanilla and 1 cup confectioners' sugar. Beat until smooth and creamy. Taste the mixture for sugar. If you like, add more sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it's sweet enough for you.

  • 2. Use an offset metal spatula to spread frosting on each cupcake, swirling it decoratively. Or, spoon the frosting into a piping bag fitted with a decorative tip to pipe the frosting. Add sprinkles. You can make these ahead and refrigerate the frosted cupcakes. Remove them from the fridge at least half an hour before serving.

Lisa Zwirn

Makes 12

Chocolate cupcakes are always a treat, even more so topped with frosting and sprinkles. It's not too late to bake them for the special Gal/Val in your life. The icing here, tangy with cream cheese, is a nice contrast to the rich little cakes. Use full-fat (block-style) cream cheese, not whipped, and have both the cream cheese and butter at room temperature. Don't beat the frosting too much or it may turn clumpy or gluey. Whatever way you add the frosting (experienced bakers can use a pastry bag and tip to make professional flourishes), the colorful sprinkles will make anyone smile.

CUPCAKES

1cup flour
cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
½teaspoon baking soda
¼teaspoon salt
6tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1scant cup granulated sugar (remove 2 tablespoons from 1 cup)
2 eggs
½teaspoon vanilla extract
½cup well-shaken buttermilk

1. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.

2. In a bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt until there are no lumps of cocoa remaining.

3. In an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter for 2 minutes, or until soft and light. Add the sugar and beat for 2 minutes, or until creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well to blend. Beat in the vanilla.

4. With the mixer set on its lowest speed, beat in half of the flour mixture, then the buttermilk, then the remaining flour mixture, just until thoroughly blended.

5. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups (they'll be about 2/3 full). Bake the cupcakes in the center of the oven for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the centers comes out clean.

6. Set the pan on a wire rack and let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove them from the pan and place on the rack to cool completely.

FROSTING

8ounces full-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
½cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2teaspoons vanilla extract
2cups confectioners' sugar, or more if needed
Colored sprinkles (for decorating)

1. In an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the cream cheese until soft. Add the butter and beat until blended. Add the vanilla and 1 cup confectioners' sugar. Beat until smooth and creamy. Taste the mixture for sugar. If you like, add more sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it's sweet enough for you.

2. Use an offset metal spatula to spread frosting on each cupcake, swirling it decoratively. Or, spoon the frosting into a piping bag fitted with a decorative tip to pipe the frosting. Add sprinkles. You can make these ahead and refrigerate the frosted cupcakes. Remove them from the fridge at least half an hour before serving.Lisa Zwirn


Lisa Zwirn can be reached at lzwirn9093@gmail.com.