Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Fudge Frosting

Generally speaking, there is usually some logic to what I decide to make and post next on this blog. If I've been on a dessert kick, I try and reign things in with a hit of savory (like this tomato and cheese cobbler or this swordfish); if I've been baking with a lot of chocolate I try and balance the recipes for the month with a touch of citrus; if we're around Thanksgiving or Christmas or Easter, I try and make season recipes to help you in your menu planning.

That being said, I hadn't really planned on baking or posting these cupcakes. They were not on my lengthy "Recipes for Blog" list, and February and March's recipes have already been quite carb/sugar/butter heavy (not that there is anything wrong with this -- the name of the blog is "Pancakes & Biscotti," after all). I'm just saying that I could have very well posted a recipe for soup or a frittata or something, as per my original plan. These cupcakes, for all intents and purposes, go against my usual blog rules.

So why did I make these? Because on Sunday morning all my plans for making something savory, light, or otherwise went out the window when I woke up with an intense cupcake craving. You know that sort of cupcake craving, right? When only a buttery yellow cupcake with swirls of chocolate frosting and a dusting of colorful sprinkles will do, and there is no other solution than to bake up a batch of cupcakes? I had all the ingredients to make these on hand, which I took to be a sign that I really was meant to make cupcakes, relevance to the blog or not. Which is exactly what I did. 

These cupcakes are both fluffy, light, and tender with a rich buttery taste and a sunny yellow color. The frosting is perfectly smooth and deeply chocolate-y, sweet but not overly so, with a lighter consistency than your usual buttercream. As I mentioned above, rainbow sprinkles are a must -- is there anymore more special than a cupcake with rainbow sprinkles?! -- and make these extra pretty. Indeed, as far as cupcakes go, they are pretty much perfect, which is saying a lot for a tiny individual cake -- they most certainly pack a punch.

A couple of notes: this recipe can be doubled to make a two round 9 inch layers if you're more in a layer cake instead of cupcake mood, or you can make a sheet cake with this as well.  Whatever type of pan you decide to make these in, this will become your new favorite cake recipe, guaranteed -- it's superb. Enjoy everyone!


Ingredients for Cupcakes: 
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1/2 cup + 6 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup cake flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons whole milk

Ingredients for Frosting:
1/4 cup butter
2 ounces semisweet chocolate
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Sprinkles to decorate (optional, but not really)

To make the cupcakes: Butter a 12 cup cupcake tin and set aside (alternatively, use cupcake liners). Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Beat in the vanilla. In a medium bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, and salt. Add in to the butter and sugar mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk. Mix everything together until just combined. Fill the cupcake tin or cupcake tin filled with cupcake liners 2/3 of the way full with batter. Bake the cupcakes for 12-15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs attached. Let the cupcakes cool completely.

To make the frosting: Over a double boiler (or in a small sauce pan or skillet) melt the butter and chocolate together. If you're using a sauce pan or skillet be sure o have the heat very low and watch carefully that the chocolate doesn't burn. Set the chocolate and butter mixture aside to cool slightly. In the meantime, stir together the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla. Pour in the chocolate and butter mixture. Using electric beaters, beat the frosting together until light and fluffy. Frost the cooled cupcakes and decorate with sprinkles. Makes 10-12 cupcakes.

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