Well you might have noticed that I’ve been a little cupcake crazy lately. I didn’t plan on jumping on a trendy bandwagon here, but single serving sized cakes are just so convenient and useful for portion control (if you have any self-control). This recipe is an evolution of a recipe that has been bouncing our my family for a really long time. We call it Tommy cake, but most people know it as a buttermilk chocolate cake.

In my family it’s baked in a half-sheet pan and topped with a fudgy chocolate frosting. But for this incarnation I upped the cocoa content, replaced the water with coffee and decided to top it with a chocolate buttercream frosting. The cake called for 3 eggs, but the frosting called for 6 egg whites. Normally, I’d just make ice cream to use up the leftover egg yolks, but I didn’t have time to fuss with another project, so instead I used 6 egg yolks in place of 3 whole eggs. I also upped the buttermilk slightly.┬áThe resulting cakes were very rich and were just a little softer than the standard recipe.

If you’re paying attention you might notice the plate that the cupcake is sitting on. It’s actually a birthday gift that I love mostly because the literary reference touched my funny bone.

[donotprint][/donotprint]

Moist Chocolate Cupcakes

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 sticks butter
1 cup hot coffee
4 tbs cocoa
2/3 cup buttermilk
6 egg yolks
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
pinch salt

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

In the bowl of a mixer combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and cocoa. Beat to mix well. Brew a fresh cup of hot, strong coffee and melt the butter. In another bowl combine the egg yolks, vanilla, and butter milk. With the mixer running add the hot coffee and butter to the flour mixture and beat until just combined. Add the egg mixture gradually while beating on low.

Prepare two muffin tins with liners. Fill each cup about 3/4 full of batter, which should give you about 24 cupcakes. Slide the pans into the oven and bake for about 16-18 minutes. You’ll want to rotate the pans midway through to ensure even baking. Remove the cupcakes to cooling racks and allow to cool to room temperature. Frost and serve.

Dark Chocolate Buttercream

2 cups sugar
6 egg whites
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into tbs pieces
8 ounces dark chocolate*, chopped
8 tbs cocoa

In a double boiler (you can use a metal bowl set over a small pan of simmering water) melt the chocolate with 1/2 stick of butter. Stir occasionally until smooth and then sift the cocoa over the top and stir it in thoroughly. Set aside while you prep the egg whites.

Place sugar and egg whites in the metal bowl of an electric mixer and set over a pan of simmering water (do not let the pan touch the water). Whisk until mixture is hot and the sugar dissolves. It will increase in volume as you do this. Move the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk on high until cooled and stiff peaks have formed, about 7 minutes.

With the mixer running, add the remaining butter, one piece at a time, until completely incorporated. Continue whisking until a light, fluffy cream has formed. Stir in chocolate/butter mixture until well combined. You can use this to frost freeform or transfer the frosting into a pastry bag to pipe onto the cake.

*Do not use chocolate chips for this – they have stabilizers added that prevent them from melting smoothly. Use a high quality bar or bulk chocolate, such as Callebaut.