Saturday, July 12, 2008

Magnolia Bakery: Chocolate Cupcakes

I decided to splurge and visit the bakery that is hailed as the best place for cupcakes, the Magnolia Bakery in the West Village. I didn't know it had been on Sex and the City.  Yes, I'm the only woman between 15 and 80 that didn't watch it. Yes, I waited in the line that went around the corner to buy a cupcake. Yes, I had to push through the people to fill my little box. Yes, I paid something like $8 for two cupcakes and two cookies.

What I got for my trouble was...stale cupcakes.  And a kinda tasteless vanilla cupcake.  Talk about disappointment.  I've got to think that making these babies at home helps a bit with the whole staleness thing.  And I hope that this was just a freak incident, and normally the cupcakes are magnificent.  Because I'd hate to think that many people just want to be like Carrie, no matter what.

Chocolate Cupcakes
From The Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook by Jennifer Appel and Allysa Torey

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Chocolate Buttercream

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake papers and set aside.

To melt the chocolate, place in a double boiler over simmering water on low heat for about 5-10 minutes. Stir occasionally until completely smooth and no pieces of chocolate remain. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5-15 minutes.

In a small bowl, sift together the flour and baking soda. Set aside.

In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the chocolate, mixing until well incorporated. Add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated, but do not overbeat. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended and the batter is smooth. Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about three-quarters full. Bake for 20–25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean.

Cool the cupcakes in the tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing. Ice the cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream.

Makes 24 cupcakes

Chocolate Buttercream
1½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons milk
9 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2¼ cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

To melt the chocolate, place in a double boiler over simmering water on low heat for about 5-10 minutes. Stir occasionally until completely smooth and no pieces of chocolate remain. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5-15 minutes.

In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the milk carefully and beat until smooth. Add the melted chocolate and beat well, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat for 3 minutes. Gradually add the sugar and beat on low speed until a desired consistency is reached.

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