Chocolate and vanilla are best friends and good cake companions. They’re reliable, tasty and familiar. Comfort food. These days with the election craziness and weather getting colder (and someone getting a little bit of pneumonia) a little cupcake is quite the beacon of cheer.
No fancy footwork is necessary to make this marble cupcake. You don’t have to swirl the batter or buttercream into any fancy design. The trickiest part is placing the buttercream in the piping bag without dropping it on your slippers like some people I might know (me).
For a few weeks while I was recuperating I’d stare off into space day dreaming about what to bake when I could hold a spatula without complaining that it was too heavy. I finally improved enough to jot down a few recipes in between staring and staring some more. And now I’m enough on the mend that I’m back to spending a little bit of time in the kitchen and the first thing I am baking is another cupcake. Or two. And once again I’m the boss of the spatulas.
But let’s take a break for a little public service announcement. I was a wise-acre and skipped my flu shot last year thinking I didn’t need it. Turns out I didn’t. But what I got for my wise-acre behavior was pneumonia instead. In a month or so when I can actually breath again I will march myself over to the nearest place where they offer flu shots and get one of those and a side order of the pneumonia shot as well. If you haven’t gotten yours yet, please go do that. Otherwise you might find yourself facing weeks of staring into space wondering where you misplaced your brain and actually searching to see if Amazon sells replacement lungs. Not fun.
And back to our regularly scheduled program called cupcake. To make sure you get a nice little cake dome on top be sure to fill the liner 2/3 full with batter. Bake according to the directions and remove them from the oven the second a toothpick comes out with dry crumbs or no crumbs. Any longer and you’ll have well-done crumbly cake. Let them cool completely before icing. And you can pipe or slather on the icing with a spoon.
I keep Guittard Bittersweet and Semisweet Baking Disks in the cupboard which is what you see on top of the cupcake. But any flat piece of chocolate will work just fine. In fact, a duo of White and Dark chocolate shards would look great on these.
The Orange extract is not something you can taste but it sure pops the chocolate flavor. It is one of those ingredients that’s great to have on hand.
It’s been a long month. And a nice marble cupcake is exactly what I need. I might even have one with a little coffee. That’s how you know you’re better. Coffee. Chocolate and cupcakes. Instead of chicken soup.
|Marble Cupcakes, Gluten Free||
- 200 grams AP GF flour (100 grams superfine brown rice flour plus 50 grams each superfine white rice flour and tapioca flour/starch) (1½ cups)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 175 grams superfine (baker’s) sugar (3/4 cup)
- 143 grams unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly (10 tablespoons)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ teaspoon orange extract
- 1 extra-large egg plus 2 extra-large egg whites
- 100 grams milk (1/2 cup)
- 30 grams unsweetened cocoa (1/3 cup)
- 70 grams hot coffee or water (1/3 cup)
- 230 grams unsalted butter, room temperature (2 sticks)
- 625 grams powdered sugar, sifted (5 cups)
- 2-4 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ vanilla buttercream frosting recipe (above)
- 3-4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa, sifted
- 1-2 teaspoons milk
- ¼ teaspoon orange extract
- Preheat oven to 325. Place liners in muffin tin (12-14). Set aside.
- In a large bowl place flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Whisk to combine. In a microwave safe bowl melt butter and cool slightly. Add vanilla, orange extract, egg, egg whites and milk. Whisk to combine. Add to dry ingredients and whisk or use a hand held mixer and mix until smooth and fluffy.
- Place half the batter by weight into another bowl. Mix the unsweetened cocoa with the hot coffee or water and whisk until smooth – it might look like a thick paste. Add to one bowl and whisk or using a hand held mixer, mix until smooth and fully incorporated.
- Scoop spoonfuls of each batter alternately into liners until about ⅔ full. Don’t mix or try to marble – just leave them layered. Bake about 18-20 minutes or just until a toothpick comes out with few chocolate crumbs – the vanilla cake will leave no crumbs on a toothpick. Remove and cool for a few minutes. Place cupcakes on a rack to cool completely before frosting.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer using the whisk attachment, cream the butter slightly. Add the sifted powdered sugar and whisk on low until it is just about combined. Start adding the milk one tablespoon at a time and whisk on medium – wait for a moment to see what the buttercream will do before adding more milk. Less is more in this case. Add the vanilla last and whisk until you begin to hear the mixture thump thump thud against the bowl. Then turn it up nearly high and wait for it to fluff up. Once that is done, split the buttercream and place half in another bowl.
- In the bowl with half the vanilla buttercream, sift the unsweetened cocoa over the mixture. Add the extracts and mix until incorporated. The buttercream will be pretty thick so add a tiny bit of milk until it seems the same consistency as the vanilla buttercream.
- Place the chocolate buttercream in a piping bag pressed against one half of the bag. Slide the vanilla in the bag on the other side. They will get a little messy, but should remain somewhat separate. Pipe into a bowl until the mixture looks marbled as it comes out. Pipe onto cupcakes in any design you wish. Top with a disk of chocolate or use another decoration, or none.
- Alternatively, you can spoon on the icing using half chocolate, half vanilla in any pattern you want.