May's Cupcake Hero theme is cocoa powder. I'm not saying in my post which kind I used, but Laurie at Quirky Cupcake highly suggests Askinosie cocoa powder. Askinosie chocolate is a cool chocolate company started by a guy who was formerly a criminal defense attorney. If you go to his website here, you can check out all about the company and how they give back to the community (which is way cool). I would have liked to have ordered his cocoa powder, but my budget was stretched a little bit tight this month. We got the hospital bill for my surgery and saw just exactly how not fantastic our insurance is. Ouch.
I found cocoa powder to be a difficult ingredient this month. Because I usually try to capture the essence, if you will, of the Cupcake Hero theme of the month, cocoa powder had me stumped. How do you bring out the chocolaty-ness of cocoa powder without having it somehow make you think of some other form of chocolate. Really I have no idea. So I started thinking of things traditionally made with cocoa powder and the best I could come up with was hot cocoa. Hmmmmm with marshmallows.
So that's what I did. But then I started thinking that just a plain chocolate cupcake, albeit one made with cocoa powder, might be considered just a bit boring. And one thing of learned from the judging styles of Laurie, Tempered Woman, Joy, and Lemon Tartlet is that they don't really appreciate boring. So I made mine have a subtle little zing. I added ginger and black pepper. Blame it on a care package that arrived while I was stuck on the couch that had a multitude of chocolate bars in it, but I was feeling frisky with chocolate flavorings. Then I baked one in one of my coffee mugs (to make sure the cup was oven safe). I would have baked all of them in coffee mugs except then this recipe would only make about 3 cupcakes and it was almost too much to eat the one cup of cocoa cake with marshmallow frosting. Almost. So I baked the rest in the cool party cups that Clara sent me from I heart Cuppycakes because of these cupcakes and this contest. See I have won other cupcake contests. Clara has some fantastic looking cupcakes on her blog. Go check them out too.
I thought they were totally delicious. Yeah, they're all gone. And the marshmallow frosting is the first frosting in a long time that I licked the bowl. I was downright sticky when they were done. Now if I could only remember where I put my brace (that I'm supposed to wear all the time) so that I can go to the gym. It's not lost. I just don't remember where I put it. I'll find it. Or I'm really in trouble.
Cocoa Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting
original recipe by me
makes regular cupcakes
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder (preferably Askinosie cocoa powder)
3/8 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, ginger and black pepper in a small bowl and set aside.
Cream butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add sugar and continue beating for about 3 minutes. Add vanilla and egg and continue beating until smooth and incorporated. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and beat until incorporated. Then add half the milk beating until smooth. Scrape down sides of the bowl. Add another 1/3 of the flour mixture followed by the remainder of the milk. Again scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the remaining flour mixture and beat for 30 seconds. Distribute the batter between 8 prepared cupcake cups. Bake for 22 minutes.
1 cup marshmallow fluff
4 Tbsp softened unsalted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp milk
pinch of salt
Mix together fluff, butter, extract, sugar, and salt. Add milk to create the right consistency frosting. You may need more or less depending on how thick you prefer your frosting. Do not leave out the salt in the frosting. I think it really makes the frosting go from good to great!
Once cupcakes are cooled, pipe marshmallow frosting on top of cupcakes. Remember a little goes a long way with this particular frosting. Then dust lightly with cocoa powder (preferably Askinosie brand.)