The spiced chocolate German buttercream inspired by cozy fall evenings and Mexican hot chocolate, takes these moist and decadent chocolate cupcakes to new level of indulgence.
Did I mention there will be some spicing up going on here? Here comes another one – for cozy, rainy, chilly or somber days when you feel like cuddling up with a spiced warm chocolate-y beverage but the craving does not stop there and you also need a decadent frosting-y cake but then you are terrified of your uptight self who will judge you for your weakness. Well it happens to the best of us!
I am in one of those moods, not because of the weather – luckily we have been having gorgeous, sunshiny, crisp days here in Toronto, but because I have been thinking about concepts of happiness and reaching for more or reaching within yourself to find more, and transformation and courage and beauty and basically giving life a big hug! No, I am not having a mid-life crisis. And no, I usually don’t sit around with these thoughts for fun. I read this beautiful article on experiencing happiness by my very good friend and sister-in-law and it makes me smile and think at the same time. No, it is not about happiness or how to become happy. It is not about unlocking the secrets to a happy life with cake (although I would love that trick). But it is about knowing that this feeling you are experiencing is happiness and taking a moment to savor it. Like you would with an insanely good dessert. You would stop talking, taking pictures, instagramming and tweeting and simply feel it in every crevice inside your mouth trying to memorize the amazing flavors, reveling in its perfection. A little yummy brain food.
I came across German buttercream on Local Milk – which is one my favorite food blogs ever. I can spend an hour on it and not get bored. Unlike Swiss and Italian meringue buttercream, which are based on meringue, this one is based on pastry cream. Although my most favorite buttercream is Swiss, this is a great option for when you don’t have the patience or energy to hover over a saucepan full of sugar with a thermometer making meringue. If you are thinking of transitioning from American buttercream to something more elegant, make a pit-stop at German Buttercream-land – it is not as daunting as the other European ones and yet it is more than just butter and icing sugar.
Chocolate Cupcakes with Spiced Chocolate German Buttercream
For the Chocolate Cupcakes – 9 – 10 ah-mazing cupcakes
110g all purpose flour
1tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
70g melted butter
55g melted coconut oil (you can use all butter if you prefer)
1 large egg
118ml freshly brewed coffee – cooled
How to –
Preheat oven to 350F. Line muffin trays with liners.
Mix flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, powder and salt together. Whisk till completely mixed, set aside.
Whisk very energetically, the butter, coconut oil (make sure they are almost room temperature), egg and buttermilk till mixed well.
Gently add the dry ingredients and mix a little. Add the coffee and mix just until no dry lumps are visible.
Pour into prepared pan just until barely 3/4th These will rise so make sure to not fill more than 3/4th. Bake in the center of the oven for 15 – 20 mins. Mine were done at 18 mins.
Let cool completely. Chilling in the fridge is even better. Ok, eat one if you like just to taste it!
Spiced Chocolate German Buttercream
For the Pastry Cream
1/2cup sugar- divided into half
1/2 tsp chili powder
1tbsp cinnamon powder
2 large eggs
1/2tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp butter
In a thick bottomed saucepan, gently heat milk, half the sugar, chili and cinnamon till it starts to simmer.
Meanwhile, whisk remaining sugar and cornstarch in a separate heat-proof bowl. Break an egg into the mixture and whisk to combine. Pour the hot milk in a slow and steady stream into the egg mixture, whisking all the while. (Do not dump it all at once or it may end up scrambling the eggs)
Then return this mixture back to the saucepan and cook till it starts to boiling. Keep whisking to avoid lumps. Remove from heat. Transfer to another bowl. Cover with cling wrap. Make sure the cling wrap touches the surface of the pastry cream to avoid skin formation. Let cool completely in the fridge.
For the Final buttercream
1 cup butter – slightly soft
½cup icing sugar
2 ounces semi sweet chocolate – melted and cooled
Once the pastry cream is completely chilled, dump it in a stand mixer and whisk on medium. Add the butter in pieces and keep whisking till creamy and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar. And whisk till thick and creamy. Lastly add the melted and cooled chocolate, give it a final whisk till fully incorporated.
Pipe or spread on cool cupcakes with palette knife, eat as many as you can!
German Buttercream adapted from Food52