Sunday, January 23, 2011

Game Day Cupcakes

For those of you not living in the United States, (i parenti italiani!), and those of you dropping in from the UK, Canada, Russia, China and Slovenia (hopefully not by accident), I'd like to inform you that this is a very important time in America. Not because of the Healthcare Bill, debilitating winter storms, or new episodes of 30 Rock, but because of something more down to earth...or down to turf as it were...AMERICAN FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS.
While the Superbowl may not be as world renowned as the World Cup (which we also enjoy) it's nationally known as a time to pig-out. Surprise surprise. In fact, in between screaming, shouting and the occasional leap in the air for a touchdown or interception, every Sunday all season long you can find football fans lounging on couches dipping chips in dips, inhaling wings, nachos, pizza, chili and washing it all down with copious amounts of beer. Today, Chris and I are heading to his parents house to watch the New York J-E-T-S Jets! Jets! Jets! Jets! beat the Pittsburgh Steelers. (I'm pretty sure I just lost at least 2 readers). Wait! The following recipe is for cupcakes that will brighten your game day table and give you a jolt of chocolate and sugar just when you thought you had too many beers. The cakes is based on a recipe from Food & Wine. It's moist and light with a delicate milk-chocolate flavor. The frosting is sprinkled with toasted coconut (snow!) as a hint to the flavor and an almond football finishes the festive confection.

Change the frosting color if you must, but after dealing with all this snow in the East, I wouldn't want to bite into something that started off as white but is now yellow.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Coconut Buttercream Frosting
Makes 24 frosted cupcakes


1 1/4 cups cake flour

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 sticks unsalted butter
pinch of salt

1/2 cup whole milk
6 large eggs, separated

3/4 cup sugar
3 oz shaved dark and/or milk chocolate

  • Preheat oven to 325 F. Place paper or foil wrappers in muffin tin.
  • In a bowl, whisk flour, cocoa and baking powder. Set aside.
  • In a saucepan, melt the butter in the milk over low heat. Transfer to a bowl and let cool slightly. Whisk in the egg yolks and 1/2 of the sugar.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the butter and egg mixture. Add chocolate shavings. Whisk together until smooth.
  • In large bowl, beat the egg whites with the salt until soft peaks form. You need a large bowl so the air can lift and set the whites. Gradually add the remaining sugar and beat at medium-high speed until stiff and glossy. 
  • Fold the whites into the chocolate batter gently until no streaks or puffs of egg white remain.

starting to mix whites

 Ladle the batter into prepared muffin tins and bake in center of oven until a toothpick comes out clean and tops are springy to the touch. Place on racks to cool completely.

Coconut Buttercream Frosting

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
3 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp coconut extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp milk
1/2 cup coconut chips
24 almonds (optional)

Food coloring of your choice (optional)

In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle, whip butter until creamy and light. Add confectioner's sugar 1 cup at a time and mix slowly, then at medium speed until combined. Scrape down sides of bowl with spatula. When all the sugar is incorporated, add salt, extracts and milk, mixing at low speed. Add food coloring until you reach the desired hue, scraping the sides to ensure a uniform color. Scoop the frosting into a large plastic bag and snip 1 corner to pipe onto cupcakes; or use a butter knife to frost. Preheat oven to 275. Sprinkle coconut onto a small baking sheet and toast in the oven for 5-7 minutes. Let coconut cool, then crush with your fingers and sprinkle over frosted cupcakes. Add an almond to each.


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