Pipe Dream #139: To Be Smart At Science – Chocolate Sour Cream Cupcakes with Chocolate SMBC

Some bloggers are so cool. They are, like, actually serious bakers/scientists. They know about why we should use unsalted butter. They can tell you why one cake method makes for a denser outcome than another. Or why you should bake things at a different temperature if you live in a high altitude mansion.

They could probably also tell you why every time I try this chocolate cupcakes recipe, I fail it. I think it is because I overfill the liners, but I can’t be sure because I’m not one of those really smart scientist bloggers. In fact, I had to rename the first attempt something like “Hot Lava Marshmallow Epic Fail.” It was an “epic” fail because I made these back in 2008, and that’s what all the cool kids said all the time.

Don’t get me wrong. Hot Lava Marshmallow Epic Fail was delicious. It was a giant mess of exploded chocolate cake and marshmallow frosting that absolutely would not stiffen up. Probably for a number of reasons. But I wanted to get it right this time.

Of course, I still overfilled the liners. But not so much that they exploded, so I guess we’re working in baby steps here. This chocolate cake recipe has sour cream in it (fun!), which makes for a slightly tangy cake. It’s not bad at all; very light and not so chocolate-y that you feel like you are eating ganache. Martha uses the flat tops of these cupcakes to make huge peaks of a marshmallow frosting that is subsequently dipped in chocolate. They look fab, but given my track record with these, I figured that going for massive dip cone swirls was a little ambitious.

Instead, I paired these with a little SMBC recipe I made up. Basically, it is just SMBC with liquid chocolate mixed in. Light cupcake, light frosting, light heart. I used the famous Wilton 1M tip to make the rose piping.

Will someone please try Martha Stewart’s original recipe with the dip cone swirls? Maybe you will do this a lot better than me. I’d love to know your tricks.

Until the next rainy day,

L

Sour Cream Chocolate Cupcakes

from the book “Cupcakes!” via Martha Stewart — and heaven knows I am leaving it exactly as she wrote it because I have no insights on how to make it better…

makes 12 cupcakes

3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in center. Prepare the batter: Place chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl, and set it over a medium saucepan of barely simmering water; stir chocolate until melted and smooth. Remove bowl from heat, and set aside to cool slightly.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on medium speed, scraping sides of bowl as needed, until light and fluffy. On low speed, mix in melted chocolate. Increase speed to medium, and add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla, and beat until mixture is creamy and color has lightened slightly, about 1 minute. Mix in sour cream. On low speed, add half of reserved flour mixture, beating until just incorporated. Mix in 1/2 cup water. Add remaining flour mixture, and mix until just incorporated.
  4. Line a cupcake pan with paper liners. Fill each liner with enough batter to come 1/8 inch from top, about 1/3 cup. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until tops are firm and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack to cool in pan for 10 minutes.
  5. Use a small knife to loosen any tops stuck to the pan. Carefully invert cupcakes onto the wire rack. Turn cupcakes right side up, and let cool completely.

For the chocolate SMBC:

1 cup sugar
4 large egg whites
26 tablespoons butter, softened
a pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ounces liquid baking chocolate*
*I am going to call this “liquid baking chocolate.” It was Hershey’s, but I forgot the exact product name. If you don’t have this on hand, I believe you could melt some chocolate and whisk it in, too. Careful not to burn it, though. Microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring after each one, or melt in a double boiler.
Combine the sugar and egg whites in a double boiler. Heat, whisking occasionally, until the mixture is warm and you can no longer feel sugar granules when you rub the mixture between your fingers. This should be about 160 degrees F.
Transfer the mixture to a stand mixer and beat on medium high until white, doubled in size and completely cool. Add the salt and vanilla. Chunk up the butter, and add a few tablespoons at a time. Then just whip it good. It might look like it has split, but fear not, you just need to whip it until it comes together.
When the mixture is smooth, turn your mixer to low and whisk in the chocolate until well incorporated. Voila!
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3 Responses to “Pipe Dream #139: To Be Smart At Science – Chocolate Sour Cream Cupcakes with Chocolate SMBC”


  1. 1 frugalfeeding September 24, 2012 at 11:51 am

    Those look like the most beautifully iced cupcakes I’ve ever seen… I shit you not. :D

  2. 2 Lauren September 25, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    You are too kind. :]

  3. 3 thedrivencook September 25, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    Very stunning cupcakes. I like the icing how it is- no need to dip it!


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