Monday, March 30, 2009

Black and White Cupcakes with Gooey Chocolate Glaze

I received a new cookbook for my birthday, simply titled Cupcakes by Shelly Kaldunski (sold at Williams-Sonoma). As if there aren't enough cupcakes to be had at all of the cupcake bakeries cropping up in D.C., at $3 a pop I've been interested in trying to make my own. Baking has never really been my "thing", in fact just today I learned there was such an ingredient as cake flour. (Which, incidentally, seems to make all the difference.) 

I've always been a big fan of the black bottom cupcakes at Starbucks - a mix of chocolate cake and cheesecake in cupcake form - so I was quite excited to see that my new cookbook has a recipe for Black and White Cupcakes. While the cream cheese did not quite settle in the center of the cake as I had hoped, the cupcakes looked good and had the combination of tangy and sweet flavors that I enjoy.
Black and White Cupcakes
makes 12 cupcakes

8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1 TBS sour cream
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup cake flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
4 TBS unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in middle position. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper or foil liners.

To make the cream cheese filling, in a bowl, using an electric mixer on high speed, beat the cream cheese until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the sour cream and 1/2 cup of sugar and beat until combined.

To make the cupcake batter, sift together the cake flour cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl. In another bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter and remaining 3/4 cup sugar together until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the milk in 2 additions, beating on low speed until just combined; scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, filling each about half full. Spoon the cream cheese filling onto the center of each, dividing it evenly (the filling will sink into the cupcakes as they bake). Bake until the cupcakes are set in the center, around 15 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Transfer the cupcakes to the wire rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour.

Gooey Chocolate Glaze
makes approx. 1 1/2 cups

2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
8 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 TBS unsalted butter, cut into 2 pieces

In a small saucepan, combine the sweetened condensed milk, chocolate, and butter. Warm over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is bubbly, 3-4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let the glaze cool slightly before using. (The cooled glaze can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.)

Spoon the glaze over the cupcakes and top with chocolate curls or other decorations. The finished cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Reheat in a 250 degree oven of 5 minutes before serving.

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