The wager I had with Sam was who would win the inter-league series between Sam's Baltimore Orioles and my Washington Nationals. Sam is a 2010 graduate of Clemson University, who works with me. With our beloved ACC teams - Sam, the Clemson Tigers, and me, VT Hokies, along with our baseball teams, we became quick, friendly rivals with one another. We've bet all kinds of things over the past couple years when our teams played one another, but this time, cupcakes were at stake! If he won, I had to make him cupcakes of his choosing, and if I won, he had to pay me two times the cost of the cupcakes I chose to make for the blog! Somehow, I think Sam had a win-win, because he would have gotten cupcakes either way, since he's my favorite taste-tester for a cup of mascarpone! Anyway, I lost, the birds won the series, and Sam received his box of freshly baked cupcakes, at my expense, and to his enjoyment! :)
I decided on a decadent, dark chocolate cupcake using Hershey's Chocolate - yep, the recipe right off the cocoa can! This was my first time trying the Hershey's "Special Dark" blend, and can I just say, it will satisfy any chocolate lover's craving with the richness and perfectly moist crumb it produced! Unless I find something better along my journey, this will be my go to chocolate cupcake from now on, and I've tried many! The deep, dark chocolate flavor and color was enriched by the addition of a cup of hot, freshly brewed coffee, in place of the called for cup of boiling water. This was the only recipe change I made - a favorite baking tip that intensifies the dark chocolate flavor!
An incredible, light and creamy chocolate mascarpone buttercream completes the decadent cupcake! Again, I used the "Special Dark" Hershey's Cocoa, that superbly enriched the chocolate flavor and sophistication of the mascarpone buttercream, without making it heavy or overly sweet. I fell in love with this frosting, and I'm confident that you will too! I can't wait to make a cake using it!
Did I mention how uncomplicated this recipe is to make? It's created in just one bowl, so in addition to the simplicity, you won't have a lot of dishes to clean up afterwards! The batter will be very thin, almost watery - but don't panic! It will rise and bake up beautifully!
Until next time…mangia! xox
Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Mascarpone Buttercream
Makes approximately 30 cupcakes
for the cupcakes:
2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Hershey's "Special Dark" Cocoa
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water or 1 cup hot brewed coffee
for the mascarpone buttercream:
4 ounces (1/2 of an 8 ounce tub) mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup Hershey's "Special Dark" Cocoa
2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 16 ounce box powdered sugar, sifted
Create the cupcakes and buttercream:
make the cupcakes:
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin pans (2-1/2" in diameter) with paper baking cups. Set aside.
Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of hand mixer for 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water or hot coffee (batter will be thin).
Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 - 25 minutes. Place on wire racks and remove from the pans as soon as they're able to be touched without burning yourself. Cool completely on wire racks before frosting. (I only bake one pan at a time and turn the pan half way through the baking cycle.)
make the mascarpone buttercream:
In a large mixing bowl, beat the mascarpone cheese, butter, cocoa powder, milk and vanilla with an electric stand mixer on medium to high speed until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating until smooth. Beat in enough additional milk (only if needed), 1 teaspoon at a time, to reach consistency needed for cupcakes. Makes 3 cups. (Midwest Living was the inspiration for this delicious frosting.)