There are some days when you just need a triple chocolate cupcake.
You know you are in need of a triple chocolate cupcake when a cold front in mid-May kills all the peppers and melons in the field. Or, when a 2-minute hail storm pelts holes into your tender collard greens, swiss chard and zucchini plants. On days like this, I close the curtains to hide from sight the impending storms just over the hills. I get the urge to bake, most likely as a way to distract myself from worrying so much. The smell of something chocolatey baking in the oven comforts me. The quick 30 seconds it takes to make this delicious whipped cream frosting brings a much-needed smile to my face.
I’m lucky that I have time to replant (using the help of a warm greenhouse), and I’m also lucky that these cupcakes are so easy and quick to make. I hope they brighten your day as much as they did mine!
Triple Chocolate Cupcakes (with Nutella)
Yields: 4 cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
1/3 cup flour
4 teaspoons cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon instant espresso powder
4 teaspoons canola oil
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup buttermilk (at room temperature)
For the filling and frosting:
2 tablespoons Nutella
1 tablespoon sour cream
1/4 cup cold heavy whipping cream
1/8 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 (or 2) tablespoons powdered sugar
Preheat the oven to 350° and line a muffin tin with 4 paper liners.
In a small bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and espresso powder.
In a medium bowl, whisk together vigorously the oil, vanilla, and brown sugar.
Using a spatula, add the dry ingredients to the wet in two batches, alternating with the buttermilk.
Divide the batter between the muffin cups and bake 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Let cool completely on a wire rack before proceeding.
Stir together the Nutella and sour cream and set aside.
Snip off the corner of a plastic bag or pastry bag and place it in a tall glass. Put a metal round tip in the corner. Add the Nutella-sour cream mixture and squeeze it down to the tip.
Gently poke a hole in the top of each cupcake and pipe in the mixture. If you don't want to take the time to pipe the filling in, simply spread the mixture on top of each cupcake evenly. Let it firm up for a few minutes in the fridge before frosting.
Next, beat the heavy whipping cream and espresso powder until soft peaks form. Add the cocoa powder and powdered sugar (start with 1 tablespoon, add more to taste).
Frost the cupcakes with the whipped cream mixture using a knife or another pastry bag fitted with a tip for a decorative look.
Christina Lane is the author of 3 cookbooks all about cooking and baking for two. She has scaled down hundreds of recipes into smaller servings so you can enjoy your favorite dishes without the leftovers! Valentine's Day is her favorite holiday.