Chocolate Cupcakes with Crispy Magic Frosting - A Recipe from the "Flour" Cookbook

I have never heard of the "Flour" bakery in Boston, but I had a Groupon to burn at Barnes & Noble and this cookbook caught my eye. I am so, so glad that I ordered it. Rarely do I read the Prologue of cookbooks, but I took the time with this book and found it fascinating. Joanne Chang, the author and owner of both the Flour cookbook and Flour bakeries explains her journey from being Harvard educated consultant to leaving the consulting world to pursue a career as a pastry chef in some of the most esteemed restaurants.

I love the recipes that are classics - just better, like these cupcakes and her banana bread, but there are also lots of new ones such as the recipe for Lola cookies and the Milky Way tart.

I am sure I will be spending extra time on the treadmill due to this book, but it will be worth it.

This recipe created a moist delicious cupcake with a wonderfully creamy frosting. In the frosting, I did cut the butter down a bit from the original version which calls for three sticks. I only used two sticks and left the sugar at the same level. I just prefer a sweeter frosting, so if you prefer something more creamy and less sweet, add the extra stick in. I topped mine off with some milk chocolate curls for fun. The cupcakes were moist, fluffy, delicious and had a wonderful depth of chocolate flavor. My family and I loved these, I hope you do as well.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Crispy Magic Frosting
adapted from Joanne Chang's Flour cookbook
Cupcake Ingredients
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/4 c. Dutch processed cocoa powder
1 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. unsalted butter
1/3 c. water
1/2 c. milk
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. kosher salt

Crispy Magic Frosting Ingredients
2/3 c. granulated sugar
2 egg whites
1 c. unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 2-inch chunks
1 2/3 c. confectioners sugar
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
2 T. milk
1 T. vanilla extract

Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a standard 12 cup muffin tin or line with paper liners.

In a small heatproof bowl, combine the chocolate and cocoa powder. In a small saucepan, heat the granulated sugar, butter and water over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the butter is melted and the sugar is dissolved. Pour the hot butter-sugar mixture over the chocolate cocoa mixture and whisk until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is homogenous.
Whisk the milk, egg, egg yolk and vanilla into the chocolate mixture until thoroughly combined.

In a bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt until well mixed. Dump the flour mixture on top of the chocolate mixture. Whisk until the dry ingredients are totally mixed into the chocolate mixture. Let the batter sit for at least 1 hour at room temperature, or transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. (This allows the liquid to be totally absorbed into the batter, so the batter thickens up a bit and isn’t so soupy.)

Spoon the batter into prepared muffin cups, dividing it evenly and filling the cups to the rim. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the tops spring back when pressed with a fingertip. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.

To make the frosting: While the cupcakes are cooling, in a small heatproof bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar and egg whites to make thick slurry. Place the bowl (not touching) above simmering water in a saucepan and heat, whisking occasionally, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the mixture is hot to the touch. It will thin out a bit as the sugar melts.

Remove from the heat and scrape the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whip attachment. Whip on medium-high speed for 6-8 minutes, or until the mixture becomes a light, white meringue and is cool to the touch. Turn down the speed to medium, add the butter a few chunks at a time and beat for 3-4 minutes, or until the butter is thoroughly incorporated. Add the confectioner’s sugar, salt, milk and vanilla and continue to beat on medium speed until the mixture is smooth and satiny. You should have about 3 ½ cups. (Use immediately, or transfer to an airtight container and store at room temperature for up to 3 days, then beat with the stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for a few minutes until smooth before using. Or, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, then bring to room temperature and paddle for a few minutes until smooth before using. )

Remove the cupcakes from the muffin tin and spread or pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes.