Valentine’s Day is next weekend and while I admit I am not a huge Hallmark-holiday fan, because of my kids I have come to really love this holiday. Candy hearts, cupcakes, designing silly cards, chocolates, and did I mention cupcakes? Cupcakes are a staple in our household, and they should be in yours too. Really, they’re good for you: they release happy vibes and smiles like no other confection.
Here’s my favorite recipe for Chocolate Chiffon Cupcakes with my all-time favorite frosting recipe for Vanilla Buttercream Frosting. Both are so incredibly simple, you’ll wonder why you’ve been buying the boxed mixes all these years (yes, I am talking to you). This recipe makes about 16-18 regular cupcakes or about 25-28 mini cupcakes.
CHOCOLATE CHIFFON CUPCAKES
1-1/2 cups cake flour (although regular flour will do)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs – separate the yolks from the whites and place in separate bowls
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup sugar plus 2 tablespoons sugar
Steps to Yummy Goodness
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
1. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
2. In a different bowl, whisk egg yolks, vegetable oil, and 1/3 cup water until well blended. Whisk in 3/4 cup sugar. Add this mixture to the flour mixture until well blended.
3. In a new large bowl with mixer, beat egg whites until frothy. Gradually add remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and beat until soft peaks form. This usually takes a few minutes. Add this egg-white mixture to the other batter and fold in gently with a spatula until nicely blended.
4. Fill cupcake liners or your DeMarle muffin cups about 3/4 full
5. Bake at 325 for about 20-25 minutes. Use a toothpick to test one of the cupcakes in the middle; poke the middle of a cupcake with a toothpick and if it comes back clean, it’s done. If there is still chocolate batter on the toothpick, it’s not quite ready yet. You can also usually tell by touching the top of a cupcake: if it springs back up slightly, it’s ready; if it stays imprinted down a bit then it needs to bake a little longer.
6. Bake on a cooling rack until completely cooled. Then ice with the awesomeness that is the frosting recipe below.
VANILLA BUTTERCREAM FROSTING
1 16-oz package powdered sugar
1/2 pound (1 cup) butter softened at room temperature
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons milk
Steps to Yummy Goodness
1. In a bowl with a mixer on low speed, beat butter, 2 cups powdered sugar and salt until blended.
2. Add milk & vanilla and beat until blended.
3. Add remaining powdered sugar 1 cup at a time until it’s all well blended. Then turn up the speed to medium-high and beat until it’s beautifully smooth & fluffy.
4. Frost the cooled cupcakes and enjoy!