This recipe is a bake-sale winner: a firm vanilla cupcake that's not too sweet, with a chocolate surprise inside.
It's best to practice your frosting-piping techniques on a piece of wax paper before decorating the cupcakes. The fabric bumblebee decorations (on wires) shown here are available online at www.cakedeco.com.
The cupcakes can be covered and stored at room temperature for 3 days.
Servings: 24 cupcakes
- For the cupcakes
- 3 cups cake flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 17 1/2 tablespoons (2 sticks plus 1 1/2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 1/2 cups sugar
- 5 large eggs
- 1 1/4 cups sour cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- For the frosting
- 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable shortening, at room temperature
- 1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted
- 2 1/2 tablespoons whole or low-fat milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- For the chocolate sauce
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- 1 1/3 cups unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Have ready two 12-well cupcake pans lined with paper muffin cups.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt on a sheet of wax paper and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer on low speed, combine the butter and sugar; beat for about 15 minutes, until the mixture is softened and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, then the sour cream and the vanilla extract, mixing well and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Slowly add the sifted dry ingredients, mixing to combine. Divide the batter among the lined muffin cups. Bake for about 30 minutes or until a tester inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. The tops should be lightly browned. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Meanwhile, make the frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter, shortening and sifted confectioners' sugar in increments on low speed; increase the speed to high and beat for about 15 minutes, stopping several times to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Reduce the speed to low; slowly add the milk and vanilla extract, mixing until well incorporated. Set aside; if the kitchen is warm, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
For the chocolate sauce: In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the sugar, water and cream. Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat and add the sifted cocoa powder. Let cool slightly, then strain through a fine-mesh strainer to remove any lumps. Transfer to a resealable plastic food storage bag (not sealed) and place inside a bowl for stability; refrigerate until ready to use.
To assemble: Use a paring knife to carve a small core out of each cooled cupcake, reserving the conical pieces. Use scissors to snip off 1 corner of the chocolate sauce bag and fill the center of each cupcake with the cooled sauce. Replace the cupcake cores. There may be some chocolate sauce left over.
Color small batches of the frosting as desired; transfer each to a resealable plastic food storage bag and snip off a corner to pipe frosting (or use a piping bag with a No. 8 large round tip). To form flower petals, squeeze a round ball and then pull away; repeat to complete a border. Then pipe a larger flat ball in the center. Garnish with a bumblebee decoration, if desired.
Adapted from executive pastry chef Josh Short of Buzz bakery in Alexandria.
Tested by Tracy Dahl.
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