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Chocolate Cupcake Favors

May 18, 2010

Quite honored to be asked godparents again for my littlest nephew, Landon. This is the 2nd time we’ve been asked to be godparents… it’s a flattering and proud feeling to be considered “godparent-worthy.” For Landon’s baptism, I made cupcakes as party favors for the family. I made Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Frosting (for the kids) and Chocolate Cupcakes with Mocha Butterceram (for the adults).


My go-to chocolate cupcake recipe is using the classic Devil’s Food Cake recipe, with baking time adjusted to account for the cupcake size (I will post a copy of the Devil’s Food Cake recipe I use eventually here on the blog). However, this time, I attempted to use Martha Stewart’s One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcake recipe. It turned out really moist and it had a full chocolate punch. I like chocolate cakes that are dark in color and this recipe had that darker than brown, almost black hue. Making this cake was a breeze, as hinted by its name. All the ingredients were dumped in a bowl and mixed together until combined. The recipe states using an electric mixer, however, I don’t think that’s necessary. Measuring all the ingredients aside, the steps in making this cake’s batter is Betty-Crocker easy.

Topped With Fluffy Vanilla Goodness

I prepared two frosting flavors to go with the cupcakes. The kid-friendly topper was a Vanilla Bean Frosting. The frosting consisted of egg whites and sugar warmed over a double boiler until the sugar has dissolved. This method is referred to as the Swiss Meringue method. The egg whites are then whipped until fluffy and cooled; vanilla bean seeds are immediately added. The mixture is whipped until full volume. Do not overmix or the mixture will be dry. You want if fluffy and glossy.

Mocha Goodness

To please the palettes of the adults, I also made a batch of Mocha Buttercream. When I make buttercreams, I usually go with the French Buttercream method, uses egg yolks cooked with sugar syrup or the Swiss Buttercream method, egg whites and sugar cooked over double boiler as described above. I use the Italian Buttercream sometimes (if I need a real stable buttercream) but this is my least favorite method. That’s just me.

The Mocha Buttercream was made Swiss style. I added room temperature butter to the cooled meringue and added melted chocolate as well as espresso powder dissolved in a bit of water. Everyone in the room went crazy for this frosting. Just picture coffee + chocolate + chocolate sprinkles + chocolate cake dancing in your mouth in a beautiful afternoon. Priceless cupcake moment.

Party Favors

The kids on the other hand were sporting white, “Got Milk” looking goatees because of the marshmallowy Vanilla Bean frosting. It was a lovely day to be godparents again… and chow down three cupcakes to celebrate.

Lil Landon

Erik and I with our nephew/godson

Frosting Goatee

My other nephew/godson sporting the vanilla frosting goatee

P.S. I will have a follow-up post to this one to share with you the Browned Butter Cupcakes with Mascarpone-Cream Cheese Frosting we also devoured that afternoon. I made them as the “cupcakes-for-eating-now-and-not-for-take-home cupcakes” for when people wanted to have their cupcake fix at the baptism party while ensuring they still get a box of cupcake to enjoy at home.

One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes

This recipe is from Martha Stewart. The version they have online uses buttermilk, this one uses whole milk. As stated above, this can be made using a hand-held mixer. Makes 26 to 28 standard-sized cupcakes.


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/4 cups cocoa powder, Dutch-process

2 1/2 cups sugar

2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt

2 large eggs + 1 large egg yolk

1 1/4 cups whole milk

1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups warm water


1. Preheat the oven at 350°F. Prepare your standard-sized muffin pans by lining them with cupcake liners. Sift all the dry ingredients over a large bowl or directly over the bowl of an electric mixer (I always sift my dry ingredients over parchment – again, that’s just me).

2. Directly add the wet ingredients into the dry. Attach the bowl to the mixer and combine ingredients together on low-speed. Beat until smooth, about 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape the bowl down to make sure that the batter is properly mixed.

3. Divide batter evenly into the muffin tin, filling only about two-thirds full. Do not overfill. Bake them for about 20 to 22 minutes. Its done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean-ish. A few crumbs stuck to the toothpick is okay, as long as it’s not wet, you don’t want to overbake the cupcakes or it will be dry.

4. Cool the cupcakes slightly in the muffin pan and then transfer them to a wire rack to cool.  Once completely cooled, they can be frosted and decorated.

Vanilla Bean Frosting

Adapted from Nick Malgieri’s Fluffy White Icing on The Modern Baker.


4 large egg whites

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1 vanilla bean


1. Prepare a saucepan half-filled with water and place over medium heat to boil. Meanwhile, place egg whites, salt, sugar, and corn syrup in a bowl of an electric mixer and whisk to combine.

2. Once the water starts to boil, lower the heat to a simmer and place the bowl with egg whites on top of the saucepan. Whisk the egg-white mixture until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is warm to the touch (I go between 130°F to 160°F). Attach the mixing bowl back to the mixer and continue mixing using the whisk attachment until the mixture starts to increase in volume.

3. Scrape off the seeds from one vanilla bean and add it to the egg white mixture. Continue mixing until it has cooled and it has turned glossy white and fluffy, but not dry.Use the frosting to top and decorate the chocolate cupcakes.

Mocha Buttercream

This uses the Swiss Meringue method. If you want a real intense chocolate flavor, Green & Black’s Organic Chocolate (72%) works well in this recipe. Makes about 3 cups.


1/4 cup instant espresso powder dissolved in 1/4 cup hot water

4 large egg whites

1 1/4 cups sugar

12 ounces of unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into small pieces

8 ounces of bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled


1. Dissolve the espresso powder with the hot water in a small bowl and set aside.

2. Using the same method as the Vanilla Bean Frosting, prepare a saucepan half-filled with water and boil over medium heat. Turn the heat down to a simmer as soon as it boils. Meanwhile, combine the egg whites and sugar into a bowl of an electric mixer. Place it on top of the saucepan and whisk until the sugar dissolves and is warm to the touch.

3. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and attach to the mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whisk the egg-white mixture on high-speed until it has cooled slightly and is starting to form stiff and glossy peaks, about 4 to 5 minutes.

4. Add butter pieces one at a time on medium speed, beating well after each addition. Continue beating until all the butter has been added and it looks smooth and fluffy. Then on low-speed, add the melted chocolate and espresso then mix to combine. This frosting can be refrigerated until you are ready to use them to frost the cupcakes.


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