Thursday, May 22, 2008

Cocoa Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting

It's that time. Yes, I am trying again to win that T-shirt. No, my beautiful wormy cupcakes didn't get picked for the April Cupcake Hero. Although thanks to that post I did learn a whole lot about how Nalgene bottles can kill you, Brita filters are not recyclable in the US (sign the petition here), and about saving the earth in general, so it wasn't a total waste. Well and my nephew thinks I'm awesome. As you can see by the round up the better cupcake won. So because I'm nothing if not tenacious, I'm trying again. For those of you who may be somehow unaware of what Cupcake Hero is, it's a monthly contest where several bloggers, including Steph of A Whisk and A Spoon, who's always turning in fantastic cupcakes, (in fact if you found someone who's taking bets, she'd be the one to put your money on) turn in a cupcake recipe based on the theme of the month. Cupcake Hero is the brainchild of Laurie at Quirky Cupcakes. She's been joined by the Cupcake Hero staff which includes the always lovely Tempered Woman, the talented Joy the Baker, and the fabulous Leigh of Lemon Tartlet. These beautiful women bake up a select few cupcakes and pick the winner. They're really great ladies and please check out their blogs. (note, I'm not above sending multiple links their way in hopes of swaying their judgment. I figure it's better than jumping up and down shouting "pick me! pick me! They wouldn't be able to see that.)
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
large egg
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!

To Assemble:
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.)


Peter M said...

Nice presentation Mary and a departure from the usual cupcake.

glamah16 said...

Brilliant. Your a shoe in!

CB said...

oooohhhh cocoa with marshies cupcakes! YUM! btw I love all the linkage a$$ kissing and my shoutouts! Glad you had fun with the PNC liners. Your entry was so... FIERCE! HAHA!

slush said...

Mary, they look amazing. And your post totally cracked me up. I thank you, I had a wickedly bad day, and your humor was just what I needed. xo

Mary said...

Peter- Thanks, I was trying for a twist on the standard.

Courtney- Thank you, they were delicious!

Clara- I was trying to see how many links I could fit in one swoop! I really liked baking with the PNC liners, but my husband found them harder to eat from!

Laurie- I'm glad it cheered you up! (Did you see how many links I sent you?) :)

Anonymous said...

You had me at the first photo. Yummy.

Bellini Valli said...

I love the concept of these cupcakes Mary...who wouldn't love a hot cocoa with marshmallows:D

Deborah said...

I've never had a marshmallow frosting like that one - I totally want some of that! I'm sure I could eat it by the spoonful!

Anonymous said...

Just looking at your cupcakes is killing me. How about moving to California? Me LOVE cupcakes!



Lunch Buckets said...

The marshmallow frosting sounds really good and I LOVE the one in the cup :)

steph- whisk/spoon said...

thanks for the mention! these sound good, and i have been wondering if marshmallow frosting could be made from fluff, so know it can!

Cakelaw said...

Phwoar - I thought I'd died and gone to heaven when I saw the pic at the top of this post. I think you should win!

Mary said...

Marti- thanks! They were totally yummy!

Val- that's what I was thinking!

Deborah- I had a couple spoonfulls and it was FABULOUS!

Beth- I don't think it's in the plans for me to move to CA, but if that changes I'll let you know!

Lunch- Thanks! I highly recommend the frosting!

Steph- You're welcome! Your cupcakes always look so great!

Cake- Thanks! I hope I win too!

LisaRene said...

Another great adaptation to the theme! Baking it in a mug was genius :)

Miss. Von Schtoop said...

Ok, you know, I have been avoiding all your lovely lovely posts about your fantastic cooking because I am really trying to lose some weight and train myself to run a 5k and when I read about your cooking my stomach, growls like a bear.

But I broke down, caught up on your blog, and of course now all I want is fluff frosting. Did you know that Fluff is made in MA and that there is an annual Fluff Festival?

Do I sound a little delirious? Yeah, it's because I REALLY want a cupcake right now.


Tempered Woman said...

I love the ginger and black pepper addition~ that is a great idea! You are so wise young cupcake hero... I do lurves me some clever cupcakes...

Mara said...

those look yummy!!! i love cocoa and marshmallows...this was my idea originally too but with you and Honeyed Hashette doing it, i had to come up with PLAN B! you guys are fabulously SMART to have such a great idea! :D

Anonymous said...

These look really yummy! I love the one you baked in the mug. I've been looking for a good hot cocoa cupcake. I'll have to give these a whirl.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your cupcake recipe. I'll definitely try it. By the way, can I prepare the marshmallow frosting in advance?