Thursday, January 7, 2010

Obscenely Good Cupcakes

Well, if you didn't put on as much extra weight as you were fearing over the holidays, I recommend these cupcakes as the perfect solution. They are, as the title of this post asserts, obscenely good. These have a light texture but buttery mouthfeel and the almond adds a subtle but addictive flavor. I've adapted this from the "Barefoot Contessa Cookbook"

Homemade Yellow Cupcakes w/Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
(makes 24 cupcakes)

Ingredients (cupcakes)
3/4 lb salted butter at room temperature
2 cups sugar
5 extra large eggs at room temperature
1 1/2 tsp of pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp of pure almond extract
3 cups sifted flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk at room temperature

Instructions (cupcakes)
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees

Cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy (about five minutes - don't skimp on time here, this step is important). Before you begin creaming, make certain the butter is at room temperature! After five minutes, set the mixer on low and add each egg, one at a time. Beat at least 30 seconds after each addition to incorporate each egg fully and create a light, airy mixture. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and beat to combine.

In another bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Add the salt. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture in three separate additions, alternating with the buttermilk (beginning and ending with the dry). Incorporate until *just* blended (you don't want to overbeat the flour, it will toughen the batter).

Line a muffin tin with liners and fill each cup to the top with batter. Bake for about 30 minutes (begin checking at 25 minutes). The cupcakes should be a light golden brown on top (you may need to bake as long as 35 minutes). Take them from the oven and let them cool 15 minutes in the tin. Then remove from the tin and cool completely on a rack.

Ingredients (for the icing)
16 ounces cream cheese (I like Philadelphia brand) at room temperature
3/4 stick of butter at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
About 1 cup confectioners sugar (to taste)
4 oz bittersweet baking chocolate, melted (I like Ghiradelli)

Instructions (for the icing)
While the cupcakes are baking, remove the cream cheese and butter from the fridge and bring to room temperature.
Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter together until fluffy and well-incorporate (about 2 minutes). Add the vanilla and almond. Beat in the confectioners sugar 1/2 cup at a time. Taste after each addition, adding more if you want the frosting sweeter. Add the melted chocolate with the beaters on low, fully incorporating. Taste and adjust sweetness as needed. Chill icing in the fridge until the cupcakes are ready to be frosted.

Assemble the cooled cupcakes by piping or spreading the icing on. Store the cupcakes in the fridge (though I recommend bringing them to room temperature before eating)

I dare you to eat just one cupcake at a time!

Bon Appetit!