I didn't need much of an excuse to try this chocolate cupcake recipe from Nick Malgieri's The Modern Baker, and Valentine's Day was the perfect time to make them. Also, since I just happened to have 1/2 of a 4 oz bar of Ghirardelli Unsweetened Chocolate in my cupboard, these cupcakes were meant to be.
I don't make cupcakes very often, because it's hard to find a good recipe that will make a moist cupcake. Usually, when you're eating them, you feel like you need a glass of milk just to push the cake down your throat. However, when I saw that sour cream was an ingredient in these cupcakes, I had a feeling this recipe might be a winner. Shirley Corriher, author of Cookwise, includes sour cream in alot of her baked goods to add moistness and I had remembered that when I saw Nick's recipe.
Since it's just my husband and I, I cut the recipe in half, which is why I only needed 2 oz of unsweetened chocolate. This recipe was so simple to make.
First, preheat the oven to 350. Then put your 2 ounces of unsweetened chocolate, cut into 1/4 in. pieces, into a mixing bowl. (For my own secret ingredient I decided to sprinkle 1/4 tsp espresso powder over the chocolate pieces before adding the water.) Next, pour 1/2 cup boiling water over the chocolate and let it stand for 2 minutes. Then whisk until smooth. Whisk in 4 Tbsp of melted, unsalted butter, then whisk in 1 large egg, then 3/4 tsp of vanilla extract and finally 1/4 cup sour cream (not the lowfat kind).
In a separate bowl, stir or whisk together 1 cup of sugar, 3/4 cup of flour, 1/4 +1/8 tsp of baking soda and 1/4 tsp salt. Now take this flour/sugar mixture and add it in 3 additions to the chocolate mixture, whisking until smooth after each addition. Then you divide the batter evenly among 9 cupcake-paper lined cavities of a muffin tin and bake them until they are well risen and feel firm when pressed in the center with a fingertip, about 20 minutes. I baked mine almost exactly 20 minutes, maybe a few seconds less. I also tested mine by putting a toothpick into the center of one to make sure they were done, since they didn't seem very firm to me when I pressed the tops.
Let the cupcakes cool in the pan on a rack for 5 minutes, then unmold, turn right side up, and cool completely on the rack.
For my frosting, I made a simple buttercream with 4 Tbsp softened, unsalted butter, 2 cups of sifted confectioners' sugar, 2 1/2 Tbsp of milk, and 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract. These cupcakes were so good, though, I think they would be wonderful without any frosting at all.
This recipe did indeed make the most moist, chocolate cupcake that I've ever had!!! I think my husband was pleased with them too.