Chocolate Cupcakes with Crispy Magic Buttercream

I feel like I need to break up with Google Reader and Twitter.  Because without fail, I find something new that I just “have” to make every single day.  Usually, the recipes that elicit this urgent call to action involve butter, sugar, eggs, and flour.  At the rate I’m going, I’m going to regain those 40 pounds plus a few more without much trouble.  Especially when there’s Crispy Magic Buttercream.

Now, I fully stand behind Abby Dodge’s Emergency Cupcakes and Marshmallow Buttercream.  I am confident that those two recipes will get you out of a last minute baking jam each and every time.  But if you find yourself with just a wee bit more time to work with before the (baked) goods are due, I suggest you experiment with these unconventional cupcakes and cooked frosting.

Here’s what grabbed my interest about the recipe, there is no creaming butter and sugar.  Nope, the butter and sugar get melted in a double boiler along with some water.  That gets used to melt the cocoa powder and unsweetened chocolate to make a flavorful pudding base for the cupcakes. Then once you combine the wet and dry ingredients, you let the batter sit for an hour.  It gets big and puffy and it really sets up.  I had never seen that method before. But it worked beautifully.

And I had to know what was so special about the magic frosting.  There may have also been an urgent desire to use the fancy new frosting tips I had bought.  Regardless of the why I made them, I made them.  And I’m here to tell you that you might want to consider working this into your upcoming plans.

The cupcakes are rich and moist and full of chocolate flavor.  And the Crispy Magic Buttercream?  Out of this world.  There’s just a hint of sugary crunch that develops  over time in the final frosting that is an unexpected surprise.  Ok, maybe not so much of a surprise to you now that I’ve gone and told you.  It avoids being overly sweet while it fully embraces buttery richness.  If you never believed in magic before, this frosting may just change your mind.

Chocolate Cupcakes

Adapted from Flour as seen on If You Give A Girl A Cookie

BAH Note: The recipe I worked from didn’t give any information about how many cupcakes the recipe would yield.  I was able to get one dozen full size cupcakes and one dozen mini cupcakes out of a batch of batter.  Perhaps if I had filled my muffin cups more, I wouldn’t have had any leftover batter to begin with.  Mini cupcakes should be done after about 12 to 15 minutes of baking.

  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk (save the white for the frosting)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

In a medium bowl, combine the chocolate and cocoa powder. In a small saucepan, cook the sugar, butter, and water over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally, for 3-4 minutes, until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves completely. Pour the hot mixture over the chocolate-cocoa mixture and whisk until the mixture is smooth and combined.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the milk, egg, egg yolk, and vanilla.  Add this into the chocolate mixture and mix until thoroughly combined.

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until combined.  Stir the dry ingredients into the wet and mix until completely combined.  Let the batter sit at room temperature for one hour.  The liquid will be completely absorbed into the batter and it will thicken up.

When ready to bake, heat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 12-cup muffin tin.  Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the tops spring back when pressed with a fingertip. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before frosting.

{printable recipe}


Crispy Magic Buttercream

Adapted from Flour as seen on If You Give A Girl A Cookie

BAH Note: I halved the frosting recipe below because the idea of having a ton of it leftover conflicted with my enjoyment of wearing my skinnier jeans.  In hindsight, it would have been better to have a little more frosting because the half batch was barely just enough, which may mean that I was sucking frosting out of my piping tips before I dropped them into the dish water.  Try this frosting and then tell me that you wouldn’t have done that too.

  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 egg whites
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, softened, cut into chunks
  • 1 2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

In a small heatproof bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar and egg whites. Place the bowl over simmering water in a saucepan and heat, whisking occasionally, for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the mixture registers 160 degrees. It will thin out and turn white as the sugar melts.

Transfer the cooked liquid to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.  Beat on medium-high speed for 6-8 minutes,  reduce the speed to medium, add the butter a few pieces at a time, and continue to beat for another 5 minutes.  Reduce the speed to low and add the confectioner’s sugar, milk, and vanilla.  Increase the speed to medium and beat until the frosting is completely smooth and holds its shape.

Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes using a round or star tip.  Or simple apply the frosting with a spatula.  Store cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature.

{printable recipe}

22 thoughts on “Chocolate Cupcakes with Crispy Magic Buttercream

    1. Beth, if I keep making things like crispy magic buttercream, drastic action will have to be taken.

      Sucking frosting out of pastry tips is even better than licking the beaters.

  1. Twitter is absolutely brutal that way. It’s a daily onslaught this time of year of butter and sugar. But I kinda like it that way! This frosting sounds interesting – I don’t like frosting that is overly sweet, and I like that you can keep it at room temperature. There’s no room in my bastard side-by-side fridge for large containers or cake plates.

    1. Jennifer, I’m almost salivating over the thought of the “lighter” “healthier” recipes that will be flooding the web in two weeks. I need a break from the butter and sugar. {Did I really just say that?}

  2. oh! they are so pretty! and i don’t blame you for wanting to make use of your new tips.

    in reading the recipe, the waiting for an hour thing is something i’ve never heard of for cakes… what happens if you don’t wait?

    1. Lan, the batter starts out very thin but sets up in the hour that it sits. You could try and bake it off without the rest but I don’t know what kind of results you would get.

      I’m looking for another excuse to bust out those tips before I take a break from the butter and sugar.

    1. Jenna, I hope the reality of Crispy Magic Buttercream doesn’t disappoint. I know it did not disappoint me in the least bit…especially not as I sucked it out of the frosting tips.

  3. Beautiful piping! I suck at using pastry tips. The icing oozes out of the top of my pastry bag every single time. Was the texture of the cupcake different from a regular cupcake because you melted the butter and sugar together?

    1. Jen, I employ the ziplock pastry bag and for this frosting it wasn’t even half way full so I didn’t have any icing escape. I don’t recall thinking that the texture was any different because the batter wasn’t creamed. Of course, to be certain we’d have to do a side by side comparison ; )

  4. Yum! I LOVE (love love love love) Flour! We went there when we were in Boston, and my hubs bought me the cookbook for Christmas. I think I know what I will have to start with… As soon as I get over my holiday sugar coma and can brave some baking again.

    1. Jen, I adored these cupcakes. And my fancy new tips were the perfect size for piping the magic buttercream. But I’m with you, I need a break from the sugar. Can’t wait to see what you do with these when your baking hiatus is over.

    1. It’s been a while since I made these gems but if memory serves me, it’s as though the frosting hardens a little bit on the top. So when you bite into it you are breaking through a bit of crispy frosting. Hard to explain but delicious to shove in your mouth.

      1. Thank you so much for replying to me !

        There is a birthday coming up, can’t wait to make this 🙂

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