This recipe taught me the value of patience and perseverance. I first tried to make this recipe as it was originally intended, a chocolate cake recipe. It’s adapted from Hummingbird High’s Chocolate Crème Fraiche Cake. Alas, my baking skills have not reached the point where I can bake a decent cake.
Taking this photo was to me, like taking a photo of a person who only had one good side.
I had many problems, mostly of the impatient, imprecise kind. The first time, I didn’t let the cakes cool enough so the cake just fell apart. One time, I put too much baking soda or baking powder because it just died in the middle. Yes, I said one time, because I tried this recipe many times over the course of a few months. However, I was determined to make this work, so I decided to bake them as cupcakes and mini cupcakes.
Special Equipment – muffin pan / mini-muffin pan, hand mixer, a deep mixing bowl, ice cream scoop (optional)
Total Time – 2 hours – 24 hours (if you make your own crème fraiche)
Yield – I made two batches of the mini cupcakes and one batch of the regular.
Ingredients for the Cupcakes
2 cups cake flour
2 cups granulated sugar
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
½ cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs at room temperature
1 cup strongly brewed coffee
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
Ingredients for the Frosting
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips (1 bag)
½ cup butter (1 stick), cutting them into cubes helps but not necessary
½ cup crème fraiche at room temperature
¼ cup half and half at room temperature
Preparation #1 – Make the Crème Fraiche (optional)
See crème fraiche recipe.
Preparation #2 – Prepare the Cupcake Batter Ingredients
1) Turn the oven to 350 degrees, place cupcake cups in the muffin pan or mini muffin pan.
2) In a large, deep bowl add the dry ingredients – the flour, sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
3) Mix well using a rubber spatula
4) In a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla extract. Mix well.
Preparation #3 – Brew Coffee
You want strong coffee so I make the coffee in a Moka Pot.
Preparation #4 – Combine the Ingredients in Preparation #2
Combine the wet and dry ingredients from Preparation #2. At this point you should bust out the hand mixer.
Preparation #5 – Add the coffee.
This is why I said use a deep bowl because if the bowl is shallow and even on the lowest setting, the mix is so thin, that it could just start going all over the place.
Preparation #6 – Prepare the cupcake mix for baking.
Use a table spoon (for the mini cupcakes), or an ice cream scoop if you have one for the regular size cupcakes and pour into the papered cupcake tins. Fill only to about 3/4 full at maximum. You’re going to get a bunch of drops on your tins, but that’s okay!
Baking #1 – Bake the Cupcakes
Bake the cupcakes in about the center part of the oven. For the mini cupcakes, it takes about 15 minutes. For the regular cupcakes, it takes 18-20 minutes. My oven is new so it runs hot but you probably know your oven pretty well.
Let the cupcakes cool, give them at least 30 minutes.
Preparation #7 – Make the Frosting
The original recipe calls for using a double boiler. If you’re using semi-sweet chocolate chips you don’t need to do that. As a side note, if you try to adapt this recipe and use vanilla chips, it’s not going to work – the melting point is different.
1) In a medium sauce pan, add a bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips and a stick of butter. If you cut the butter into cubes it will be easier, but not necessary.
2) Turn the burner on something like 4 on your range. As the chocolate and butter start to melt, make sure you start breaking up the butter with your mixing spoon. Continually mix the chocolate and butter together until everything melts and you have a nice smooth liquid chocolate.
3) Turn off the heat and mix it up some more to allow the heat to escape. Add the half and half and creme fraiche. Mix it up some more to allow more heat to escape. Let it cool for 15 minutes. Don’t wait longer than that otherwise the frosting will begin to harden.
4) Take one of the cupcakes and dip it in the ganache, using a kind of circular motion with your hand to cover the top of the cupcake thoroughly. You can do this for both the mini cupcakes and the regular cupcakes. Repeat until you’ve done all of the cupcakes.
5) Tada! Enjoy!