Saturday, March 30, 2013

Black Jack Cocoa Cupcakes

Blackjack CupcakesI'm a dark, bitter, strong and simple girl... at least when it comes to chocolate. In fact, I like my chocolate with characteristics almost directly opposite to mine! I'd most definitely take a square of high quality, bittersweet chocolate (like my favourite Amedei "Bar 9") over anything laced with fruit, nuts, caramel or "bits". Likewise, when it comes to chocolate desserts, I'll go for the plain chocolate cheesecake, molten lava cake or fudge brownie before the meringues, creme brulees and mousse fabrications.

Chocolate cupcakes are no different - by far, the best ones I remember having were made with the oh-so-easy Black Magic batter, which baked up moist, rich and pure. When it came around to making a batch of treats for one of my relatives' birthday parties, I immediately turned to that recipe for inspiration knowing that the vanilla side of things was already being taken care of (sadly, by a box mix... sigh!). Because it was, after all, a birthday, I tweaked the recipe just enough to bump up the "wow" factor and really let the rich chocolate shine. A touch of dark brown sugar and barley flour added depth, melted butter added a great "luxury" mouthfeel, and the merest hint of heat from black and ancho peppers broke up any possibility of cavity-inducing sugary taste. While they were perfect to look at (and eat) naked out of the oven, a dainty swirl of rich chocolate fudge frosting and a few silver baubles took them up to casino-party worthy status. Their name came from the fact that I got precisely 21 of these cakes from the batch, and with their elegant look and coffee content you can keep them passing around your next card-shark event until well into the wee hours of the morning!
Blackjack Cupcakes
Black Jack Cocoa Cupcakes
Makes 21
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup barley flour (or more AP)
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
pinch ancho chili pepper
pinch black pepper
2 tbsp dried whole egg powder (or 1 egg + 1 egg yolk - add with the other whole egg if using)
2/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup strong black coffee, cooled
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup melted, salted butter
1/4 cup canola oil
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line 21 cupcake wells.
  2. In a bowl whisk together the flours, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ancho pepper, black pepper and egg powder.
  3. Stir in the sugars, coffee, buttermilk, butter, oil, egg and vanilla, beating well.
  4. Spoon into tins and bake 25 to 30 minutes.
  5. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then unmould onto a rack and cool completely.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 148.2
Total Fat: 6.0 g
Cholesterol: 24.0 mg
Sodium: 43.6 mg
Total Carbs: 24.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.7 g
Protein: 3.0 g