Bittersweet Chocolate Cointreau Cupcakes

Bittersweet Chocolate Cupcakes Brownie Box

I had many requests to post a chocolate cupcake recipe– so here it is! After trying three or four recipes this year, this one instantly became my favorite chocolate treat and I didn’t look up another recipe again.

cupcakes 4

The cupcakes are moist, light, and moderately sweet with a refined taste and texture. Typical chocolate buttercream frostings are heavy with butter and sickly sweet, but this whipped ganache frosting is a winner. It’s actually THE reason why these cupcakes are so successful: it’s almost mousse-like and flavored with orange liqueur which enhances the intense chocolate flavor (hey–a little booze won’t hurt!). You can also substitute it with rum, brandy, vanilla extract, or omit it completely.

halved

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bain marie
ganache

Start with melting the butter and dark chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan with simmering water. Add sugar, eggs, and water and mix until homogeneous.

dry ingredients

Sift the cocoa powder and the flour in a bowl, and pour in the chocolate mixture.

paper liners

Divide the mixture evenly among cupcake liners, about 3/4 full.

cupcakes baked

Bake until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the center of a cake.

ganache cooled

Make the chocolate ganache and refrigerate for an hour or until it reaches a “spoonable” consistency.

whipped ganache

Whip it with a whisk or a stand mixer. Note: Make sure the ganache is chilled well before whipping.

cupcake 2

And finally pipe ganache onto cupcakes!

Makes ≈ 22 cupcakes.
Preparation time: An hour and a half (with ganache frosting). Baking Time: 20-25 minutes.

Ingredients:
(Adapted from Cupcakes, a fine selection of sweet treats)
Cakes

150 g (5½ oz, 2/3 cups) unsalted butter, chopped
200g (7 oz, 1½ cup) dark chocolate chips
285 g (10 oz, 1¼ cup) caster sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
185 ml (6 fl oz, 3/4 cup) water, room temperature
185 g (6½ oz, 1½ cup) self-raising flour (check substitute here)
30 g (1 oz, 1/4 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder

Frosting (Whipped Ganache)
200 ml (6½ fl oz, 3/4 cup) cream
250 g (9 oz) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
Optional: 1½ tablespoons Cointreau (orange-flavored liqueur) – Or Rum, Brandy, Vanilla extract.

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 160°C (315°F/Gas 2-3)
2. Line standard muffin holes with paper cases.
3. Place the butter and chocolate chips in a small heatproof bowl. Sit the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water.
4. Stir the chocolate constantly until it is melted.
5. Add sugar, eggs, and water to the melted chocolate mixture. Mix well.
5. Sift the flour and cocoa into a large bowl.
7. Pour in chocolate mixture and stir until well combined.
8. Divide the mixture evenly among the case (3/4 full).
9. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the center of a cake.
10. Cool for 5 minutes, then transfer onto a wire rack to cool.

Making the Whipped Ganache:
1. Finely chop the chocolate. Place in a large mixing bowl.
2. Heat the heavy cream in a saucepan until it comes to a boil.
3. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let it sit for 30 seconds. Then slowly whisk until smooth and shiny.
4. Add Cointreau (or optional flavoring) and mix until fully incorporated.
5. Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour– or until the mixture is at a “spoonable” consistency.
6. Whip mixture with a whisk or the beater attachment of your mixer for 1-2 minutes on medium speed until stiff peaks form.
8. Pipe chocolate ganache onto cupcakes.

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Moist Orange and Lemon Syrup Cupcakes

orange and lemon syrup cupcakes_4

This is my favorite Orange and Lemon Syrup Cupcake recipe. It’s light, fluffy, incredibly moist, and bursting with citrus taste. It’s not topped with frosting, so it’s very light and not too sweet. The zest is a very important ingredient because it gives a wonderful flavor: using a grater, just scrape the outer colored skin of the orange and lemon (don’t grate the white part because it has a bitter taste).

orange and lemon syrup cupcakes_1

It is a very easy recipe, it took me less than an hour to do these cupcakes. Seriously, you just need to mix all the ingredients together, fill the cupcake liners with the mixture, then make simple syrup for the baked cupcakes. So if you’re too lazy to work in the kitchen or simply don’t have time to whip up something yummy and homemade, this is the perfect recipe.

orange and lemon syrup cupcakes_3

I was really surprised at how moist and fluffy they are. At first I was skeptical about pouring a lot of syrup on the cupcakes because I was afraid that they will turn out too sweet. But it actually enhanced the orange lemon flavor and gave the cakes a super tender and light texture.

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Bon Appetit 🙂

Ingredients: (adapted from the book Cupcakes, a fine selection of sweet treats)
125 g (4 1/2 oz) unsalted butter, chilled and chopped
230 g (8 1/2 oz , 1 cup) caster sugar, superfine
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest (1 big lemon)
2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest (1 big orange)
3 large eggs, room temperature
125 ml (4 fl oz, 1/2 cup) milk
185 g (6 1/2 oz, 1+1/2 cups) self-raising flour, sifted (or check this substitute)

Lemon Syrup
100 ml (a little less than 1/2 cup) water
115 g (4 1/4 oz, 1/2 cup) caster sugar, superfine
Zest of 1 lemon, thinly sliced (or grated)
Zest of 1 orange, thinly sliced (or grated)

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F / Gas 4)
2. Line 18 muffin holes with paper cases.
3. Place the butter, sugar, and lemon and orange zests in a saucepan
4. Stir over low heat until the sugar has dissolved
5. Transfer to a large bowl
6. Add the eggs, milk and flour and beat with electric beaters until just combined (I used a wooden spoon instead)
7. Divide the mixture evenly among the case.
8. Bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake
9. Transfer onto a wire rack to cool
10. To make the lemon syrup, place the water and sugar in a saucepan over a low heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved
11. Add the lemon and orange zests, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionnally or until golden and syrupy.
12. Strain the syrup, pour over a little of the syrup on each cake (You can also decorate with some reserved strips of zest).

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

red vevet 2
I had a red velvet craze a few months ago when they got uber trendy (everywhere). I used to read blogs and gawk at pictures of red vevet cupcakes trying to imagine what these insanely red colored cakes would taste like. I decided to bake a batch for my friend’s birthday because I was falling in love with a cake that I’ve never tasted before!

I really wanted these cupcakes to taste delicious so I looked up recipes and read many reviews online. I am not a fan of food coloring in general, so I tried to reduce the amount as much as possible (that’s why the cupcakes turned out to be burgundy in color rather than a bright red). The cupcakes were extra moist and light. Just perfect with the super rich cream cheese frosting!

My frosting recipe is not very thick because I don’t like overly sweet icing, but you can always add more sugar if you prefer a stiffer consistency. The frosting can be either piped or smeared on the cupcakes with a spatula.

I would definitely bake these cupcakes again 🙂

redv

Ingredients: (Adapted from Martha Stewart)

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour, sifted
4 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted
2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder, sifted
1 teaspoon salt
1+1/4 cups sugar
1+1/2 cups vegetable oil
2 large eggs, room temperature
3 teaspoons liquid red food color
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk*
1+1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
*You can substitute buttermilk by placing 1 Tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice in a 1 cup measuring cup. Then add enough milk to bring the liquid up to one cup. Wait for 5 minutes before using it.

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.
  • Whisk together cake flour, cocoa, and salt.
  • With an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk together sugar and oil until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Mix in food color and vanilla.
  • Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and whisking well after each. Stir together the baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl (it will foam); add mixture to the batter, and mix on medium speed 10 seconds.
  • Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake for 25 minutes, until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

1/2 cup (110g) butter, almost room temperature
8 oz. (225g) cream cheese, cold
1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
3 cups powdered confectioners sugar, sifted
2 Tablespoons heavy cream

  • Blend butter and cream cheese in large mixing bowl, about 30 seconds.
  • Add vanilla extract and powdered sugar and blend on low speed until combined. Increase to medium speed and beat until it begins to get fluffy.
  • Slowly add the heavy cream.
  • Beat until fluffy, about 1 minute.
  • Use at once or keep refrigerated for a few days.

red velvet3 Red Velvet Cupcakes

For the Lebanese Independence Day!