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SHF#17 - Magnolia Chocolate (Buttermilk) Cupcake with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

Yes, I am still out in search of a good cupcake recipe; good not only in terms of taste, which is of course the most fundamental criteria, but also the overall structure that would in turn determine how the frosting would follow, which then determines the all-important frosting-to-cake ratio that would then finally determine the overall asethetics of the cupcake.

I already have found a satisfactory recipe, which gives a nice dome, perfect for a beautiful buttercream spiral-frosting. But I do long to find one that would give me a nice flat top for slathering the frosting on in a messy-yet-artistic manner.

I stumbled upon the recipe for Magnolia's Chocolate Cupcakes, which apparently are made from the same batter as their popular chocolate buttermilk cake. It fits the theme of this month's Sugar High Friday(dairy) perfectly so I took on the challenge of this new recipe, hoping to get the flat-top look I desire and also, a taste of what seems to be quite a reowned cupcake from New York. To these chocolate cupcakes, I found the recipe for Magnolia's vanilla cream cheese frosting, yet keeping in tune with the chosen SHF theme chosen by Andy over at Spittoon.

I halved the recipe and made my own buttermilk by adding 1.5 tsp of white vinegar into the whole milk and letting it sit for a while. I also cut back the amount of white sugar by 2 tbsp, keeping in mind that most Asians prefer desserts to be less-sweet. But personally, I beg to differ. I mean, what's the point of dessert if we are trying to diet or avoid a sugar-high?

In any case, the batter gave me 12 regular cupcakes and 1 larger cupcake, so I would assume they would give 14 regular ones. The cupcakes turned out rather as desired, with a flattish top great for slathering on the frosting. I also bought a new violet-colored food coloring just because I was inspired by Nigella's fairy cakes but the color was marred by the color of the vanilla extract so the frosting took on a slightly darker tinge. Nonetheless, I still think the cupcakes turned out beautiful. It will be emotionally difficult to destroy the prettiness in a few hours' time. Anyway, I hope the birthday girl will like this cupcake surprise; I would be bring these cupcakes to celebrate her birthday. As always, spread the love!

Magnolia's Chocolate Cupcakes
(makes 2 dozen regular muffin-tin-sized cupcakes)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly-packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs, room temp
6 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350F/180C.
2. Line muffin tins with paper liners.
3. In a small bowl, sift together flour and baking soda. Set aside.
4. In a large bowl, on medium speed of your mixer, cream butter until smooth. Add sugars and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add chocolate, mixing until well incorporated.
5. Add dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the buttermilk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat.
6. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter inthe bowl to make sure ingredients are well blended and the batter is smooth.
7. Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about 3/4 fulls.
8. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the tester toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
9. Cool in the tins for 15 minutes before removing them from the tins and cool completely on cooling racks before frosting.

Magnolia's Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting
(makes more than enough for 2 dozen cupcakes)
8 oz cream cheese, softened and cut into small pieces
3 tbsp unsalted butter, soften and cut into small pieces
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
2.5 cups sifted confectioners' sugar

1. In a large bowl, on medium speed of your electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth, about 3 minutes.
2. Add vanilla and beat well. Gradually add the sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating continously until creamy and smooth.
3. Cover and refrigerate icing for 2-3 hours, but no longer, to thicken before using.


penny seow said…
holy guacamole, all your sweets look darn good. ;-)
Christine said…
I agree! Now I need to make these cupcakes! I think I will use this recipe.
Andrew said…
Lovely photo as usual and a great take on the theme for SHF - thanks for taking part.
cin said…
beautiful colours, the chocolate brown and violet. I 'm sure the birthday girl will love them.
M. said…
thanks for all your compliments. everybody enjoyed them :)
yEn said…
The birthday gal can testify that the cupcakes were as good as they looked! Absolutely yummy! The texture was just right & it wasn't too sweet. Her family members thought that they were bought from a bakery... :)
~Birthday gal~
Anonymous said…

May i know how much is 2TBsp of butter in grams? Thanks
M. said…
@Anonymous: 2tbps is roughly 30g.

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