Devil’s Food Jumbo Cupcakes (emphasis on devil)
March 3, 2010 § 1 Comment
These cupcakes literally had me on the floor laughing. I was almost in tears. Maybe they really are food of the devil? To an onlooker I could have easily passed for possessed. Actually, my Aunt and I just had a bit too much fun decorating these little purple cakes.
I baked these rich chocolate jumbo cupcakes for my cousin Anna’s 20th birthday. She loves purple, hence the lavenderish frosting. When it came time to frost my Aunt and I assembled everything from the pantry that just might make a suitable cupcake topping. Coconut, nuts, chocolate chips, sprinkles of all sorts. We started out simple, then gradually our creations became more complicated, most of them were pretty, some prettier than others. I’ll let you guess from the pictures what drove me to the floor in a fit of laughter. I won’t even tell you the politically incorrect references we made.
I have to say I am proud of myself because I almost followed this recipe to the letter. I never ever do that. I skip, ignore, substitute and add as I please. Maybe I am in a hurry and I don’t really have time to let the butter soften or damn, I’m already half way through this recipe before I realize that I’m out of X. I pretty much just have a direction disorder—in school this showed up on my report card as poor listening skills. Ooops, I guess I never mastered that one.
Well, Martha, I followed your recipe almost to a tee and I have to say I’m very happy with the results. The only adjustments I made were out of necessity or accident. I only had Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder, so I subbed that. Also, Martha is very precise about the temperature of the eggs—room temperature—so I got my eggs out well in advance but unfortunately I grabbed extra large. When it came time to throw my eggs into the mix, I was extremely distraught over the conundrum I was in. Did I add the extra large eggs? Did I use three extra larges instead of four large? What if I added cold large eggs? Or I could be really patient and wait for the large eggs to warm up. After careful examination of the egg sizes in question, I decided to scrap patience and throw all 4 extra large eggs in. Turns out this might have been a life-saver since I yet again forgot to adjust for altitude. Let me say that again: I forgot to adjust for altitude.
I remembered that I am 5,000ft above sea level right before I poured the batter into the muffin tins. You’d think I’d gone senile or something, this being the third time in a row that I didn’t take altitude into consideration until basically finished. In a panic I rushed to the Internet to see what might be the consequences of my oversight. It was too late to adjust leavening, sugar and flour measurements but fortunately I had used those extra large eggs. Apparently, adding additional eggs is one of the suggestions for baking above 3,000ft. I also added a little more water to the final batter, since loss of moisture is one of the biggest concerns for high altitude baking.
Maybe it was those extra large eggs, or maybe the recipe works well at altitude as is, either way the finished product was excellent. Rich, dense, moist chocolate heaven. So sugary indulgent that they gave my family sugar induced crazy dreams. Did I mention there are six sticks of butter in these cupcakes by the time they’re frosted?
Devil’s Food Cupcakes
Hardly adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes
Makes 12 jumbo cupcakes (Martha says it yields 32 standard size)
¾ cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder (I used Special Dark cocoa which, made for a nice dangerously deep chocolate color)
¾ cup hot water
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 ¼ teaspoons coarse salt
1 ½ cups unsalted butter
2 ¼ cups sugar
4 large eggs at room temperature (use extra large at altitude)
1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons water (for altitude only)
1 cup sour cream at room temperature
Preheat oven to 350ºF (375ºF for altitude). Line large or standard muffin tin with paper or aluminum liners. In a small bowl combine cocoa powder and hot water with a whisk until smooth. Using a medium bowl mix flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together.
In a medium saucepan melt butter with sugar over a medium-low heat, stirring to combine. Once melted remove from heat and pour into a large mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat butter and sugar mixture until cool, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating between each addition until fully combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add vanilla and water, then the cocoa mixture, beating until combined. Reducing speed to low add half the flour mixture. Then add half the sour cream, followed by the rest of the flour and sour cream. Beat until just combined between each addition.
Fill muffin cups ¾ full with batter. Martha recommends using an ice cream scoop with a quick release to fill cups. She says it encourages uniformity, but I also found it made my job easier. Bake for about 35 minutes (large muffins) at 375ºF (at altitude) rotating muffin trays 180º halfway through. Martha calls for 20 minutes (standard muffins) at 350ºF (below 3,000ft.) rotating muffin trays 180º halfway through. Before removing from oven insert a toothpick into the center, cupcakes are done when the toothpick comes out clean. Of course these temperatures are based on my oven and Martha’s respectively, so always err on the cautious side, check your muffins early.
Once done let cool in tins on a wire rack for 15 minutes and then remove cupcakes from tin and allow to cool completely on a rack. Once cooled store in an airtight container at room temperature. Mine tasted just as great the next day, but beyond that began to dry out quickly. Mine dry out faster because of altitude, too. Martha says they can me frozen for up to 2 months in airtight containers.
Fluffy Vanilla Frosting
Also hardly adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes
These cupcakes would be great with a variety of frostings or even dare I say it, served bare. They are so rich on their own. I chose this vanilla frosting, Martha recommended her Chocolate Ganache Frosting. I think next time I’d just plop on some peaks of freshly whipped unsweetened cream with some chocolate shavings or toasted coconut like the ones pictured here. Just have fun decorating however you please, see if you too can roll on the floor in fits of hysterics.
Makes about 4 cups (If you make jumbo cupcakes, you will have left over frosting)
1 ½ cups unsalted butter at room temperature
4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
food coloring (if desired)
Using an electric mixer, beat butter on medium-high speed until creamy and color pales. About 2 to 3 minutes.
Reducing speed to medium, begin adding the sugar, just ½ cup at a time. Beat well after each addition and scrape down the sides. To aerate the frosting Martha calls for raising the speed to high after every two additions of sugar and beating for 10 seconds. This really didn’t do much for my frosting. I just tried to aerate my frosting at the end, with a bolt of speed. After all the sugar is added and the frosting aerated, it will appear fluffy and very pale yellow or off-white in color.
Add vanilla and food coloring (if using), adding a few drops at a time of coloring. Beating in between until desired color is reached. The frosting should be smooth when finished. Then get to work frosting those cupcakes. Martha says the frosting can be kept refrigerated for up to 10 days. Make sure to bring frosting back to room temperature and with an electric mixer or by hand beat until smooth before frosting cupcakes.