Two things have converged that make this post extremely difficult to write: National Cupcake Day and National No-Cuss Week. Why anyone would put those two things together is beyond the realm of my own comprehension. And yet, I feel I must abide. My sister’s boyfriend let me know I slid my last cuss-laden missive in just under the wire, and I’m sliding this post in just under the National Cupcake Day wire, so I’m going to TRY to be GOOD.
Which means I can’t use expletives to express the degree of greatness of these cupcakes. I understand that there are a whole host of fake cuss words (see: title of this post) that folks like to use instead of the real deal. To me that is like drinking nonalcoholic beer–can it ever really be satisfying? And, what exactly is the point? There is something so primal about the utterance of a cuss. It comes from deep in your belly and it carries about 3 pounds of stress with it as it escapes from your lips, in the bathroom stall at work after a frustrating meeting, during the last 3 miles of a half marathon, after you watch those 2 scoops of ice cream fall unceremoniously from your sugar cone, following a really terrific ____ (mom, dad, really, i’m so sorry. although, technically i could be referring to the s word here. wait, is that what you all thought in the first place? i suppose either way you go with it, you’re a dirty bird. or i am. for writing it.).
Or, as an qualifier for these cupcakes. These CUPCAKES. These really _____ fantastic cupcakes. Sweet spicy sausages. Sweet merciful god above. Fine fancy moses. Dear lord. Lordy lordy. Lawsy lawsy. Humina humina. Aaooooga. Ham sandwiches. Great googly moogly. Good golly miss molly. THESE CUPCAKES.
Since simple prose doesn’t seem to be hitting the mark, let’s try poetry.
Chocolate of a bitter sweet
Kindly lend your density
Eggs of both halves roundly beat
To varying intensity
Deep dark oven do be kind
And beseech only to rise
High above the rims and mind
Ever eager and prying eyes
Cream so cold and pure and white
Peppermint’s delicate kiss
Dolloped in the center might
Result in only this:
A treat devoured in moments mere
No thoughts to how we’ll weigh
Seconds are no question here
It’s National Cupcake Day
Don’t walk. Run. NOW.
Chocolate Souffle Cupcakes with White Chocolate Peppermint Cream
from Smitten Kitchen who adapted from several sources [Deb’s words below]
Be ye not intimidated by all of the fancy words floating around here: this recipe is approachable stuff: melted chocolate, separated eggs, things folded together and whipped again. Your hand mixer does all of the work. You, however, may have all of the glory when you surprise your lady- or ladfriend with these this weekend.
[Updated to note: Many people who have made this say they’re getting 12! cupcakes. So you might have more chocolate awesomeness than you’d intended. If you end up with more cupcakes, go ahead and double the whipped cream recipe. To be safe. You will not regret it.]
Makes 9* cupcakes (see Note above)
Chocolate Soufflé Cupcakes
6 ounces (170 grams) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped (I preferred this with bittersweet)
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) (86 grams) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Heaping 1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) espresso or instant coffee powder
3 large eggs, separated
6 tablespoons (97 grams) sugar, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
White Chocolate Mint Cream
2 ounces (56 grams) white chocolate, finely chopped
3 ounces heavy whipping cream
1/8 teaspoon peppermint extract
Get the white chocolate mint cream ready for later: Place the white chocolate in a small bowl. Bring the cream to a simmer, pour it over the chocolate and let it sit for a minute to melt the chocolate. Whisk well. Add the peppermint extract and whisk again. Lay a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the cream. Chill until very cold, about two hours.
Make cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 9 standard-size (3-ounce) muffin cups with paper liners. Stir chocolate, butter and espresso powder together in heavy medium saucepan over low heat mostly melted, then remove from the heat and whisk until it is fully melted and smooth. (I like to put the butter underneath the chocolate in the pan, so that it protects the chocolate from the direct heat.) Cool to lukewarm, stirring occasionally.
Using electric mixer (a hand mixer, rather than a stand mixer, actually works best here because the volumes are so small) beat egg yolks and 3 tablespoons sugar in medium bowl until mixture is very thick and pale, about 2 minutes. Briefly beat lukewarm chocolate mixture, then vanilla extract, into yolk mixture. Using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites in another medium bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 3 tablespoons sugar and all of the salt, beating until medium-firm peaks form. Fold whites into chocolate mixture in 3 additions. Divide batter among prepared cups, filling each three-fourths of the way. (You might find, as I did, that you had enough leftover for a extra half-cake. That’s your “taste tester”. It’s a, uh, very important part of the process.)
Bake cakes until tops are puffed and dry to the touch (some may crack, embrace it) and a tester inserted into the centers comes out with some moist crumbs attached, about 15 to 20 minutes. Cool in pan on a cooling rack, where the cupcakes will almost immediately start to fall. It will be all the better to put your mint cream on them.
Finish your masterpiece: Beat mint white chocolate cream with electric beaters until soft peaks form. Remove cupcakes from pan, arrange on a platter. Fill each sunken top with a healthy dollop of white chocolate mint cream. Top with shaved dark chocolate, if you’re feeling fancy. I’d say “eat at once” but I suspect that you already have.