Saturday, May 3, 2008

Chocolate Chiffon Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

One of my favorite shows on the Food Network is Good Eats. It’s one of the few shows, besides Ina’s, that I can say I have seen every episode of. I had waited so long for Alton to do a show on cupcakes, and I was not disappointed. He chose to make 2 different chiffon cupcakes, the 2nd being chocolate. There was no question in my mind as to which recipe I was tackling..chocolate, my beloved sweet of choice.

This recipe used up lots of bowls and dishes, but it really wasn’t complicated at all. If possible you should use a kitchen scale while making these, since some of the ingredients are measured in ounces. Let me note that I didn’t get 24 cupcakes out of this batter. Mine only produced 20. Don't let these bake more then the suggested 30 minutes. I set the timer for 28 minutes and pulled them out as soon as the timer went off. They were perfectly done.
The smell that was coming out of the oven was unreal. It was like I was baking a rich chocolate cake. The boys tore themselves away from the Wii long enough to come downstairs to ask what that “wicked awesome” smell was. They did make the whole house smell delicious.

The produced a really light and delicate cupcake with a rich chocolate flavor. Warning: they are so light and airy and two of mine tipped over with the weight of the frosting.

Cupcakes before dinner…..I’m such a bad mother.

Chocolate Chiffon Cupcakes
4 ounces cake flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup hot water
1 1/4-ounce cocoa powder
5 large egg yolks
6 ounces sugar, divided
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Place paper liners into 2 (12-cup) muffin tins and set aside. If you prefer, set 12 ovenproof coffee mugs on a half sheet pan and set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.Place the hot water and the cocoa powder into a small bowl and whisk to thoroughly combine. Set aside. Place the egg yolks and 5 ounces of the sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk on high for 2 minutes or until the mixture becomes pale yellow and 'ribbons' when lifted. Add the cocoa mixture, vegetable oil and vanilla and whisk to combine. Add the dry ingredients and whisk just to combine. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl while you whisk the egg whites.

Place the egg whites and cream of tartar into a clean bowl and whisk on high using the whisk attachment, until it becomes foamy. Decrease the speed to low and gradually add the remaining ounce of sugar. Once the sugar has all been added, increase the speed back to high and continue to beat until stiff peaks form, approximately 2 minutes.

Transfer 1/3 of the egg whites to the batter and whisk until well combined. Add the remaining egg whites and fold in gently. Transfer batter into prepared muffin tins or coffee mugs, evenly dividing the batter between the cups. Place both muffin tins on the middle rack of the oven or, if using mugs, place all of them on a half sheet pan and set on the bottom rack of the oven. Bake for 30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean or the cupcakes reach an internal temperature of 205 to 210 degrees F. Remove from the oven to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.

Of course I used the buttercream frosting from the episode. I have made lots of buttercream over the years but haven’t made one with shortening so this was a change for me. It was really nice, not overly sweet and really creamy.

Buttercream Frosting
6 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
2 ounces shortening
1 egg, room temperature
1-pound confectionery sugar
1-teaspoon vanilla extract

In a mixer with a paddle attachment beat the butter and shortening until light and fluffy, about 3 – 4 minutes. Add the egg and beat until combined, about 2 more minutes at high speed. Work in the pound of confectionery sugar a ½ a cup at a time. Turn the machine off when you add each addition, re-starting it slowly each time. Once all the sugar has been added add in the vanilla and beat until frosting is smooth and light, about 3 minutes. If you are not using immediately, store in fridge. Let frosting come to room temp before spreading.
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