For the Cupcakes:
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick/3 oz./84g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
For the Filling:
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Frosting:
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter
For the Icing:
1 tablespoon egg white, at room temperature
1 pinch of cream of tartar
1/2 cup plus 2 to 3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
TO MAKE THE CUPCAKES:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F/180 degrees C. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners. In a medium mixing bowl, resift the flour with the baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until they're light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla. Then, with a wooden spoon, beat in half the buttermilk and half the flour and cocoa mixture, stirring well to combine. Add the remaining buttermilk, and remaining flour mixture and beat until thoroughly mixed. Evenly divide the batter among the muffin tins (about 1/4 cup of batter per tin) and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the cupcakes are springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the middle of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool the cupcake tin on a cake rack. When completely cool, remove the cupcakes from their paper liners.
TO MAKE THE FILLING:
In a chilled bowl, whip the heavy cream with the sugar and vanilla until the mixture is stiff. With a small paring knife, cut out a small cone shape from the bottom of each cupcake and reserve them for later. With a knife or small spoon, remove about a teaspoon full of cake from inside each cupcake to create a hollow.
Fill a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4 -inch round tip with the whipped cream, and pipe it into the hollow (if you don't have a pastry bag, then just spoon the cream inside the cakes as best as you can). Plug up the bottoms of the filled cupcakes with the reserved cake cones and set the cupcakes, bottom side down, on a baking sheet and refrigerate.
TO FROST THE CUPCAKES:
In a small saucepan, combine the chocolate, water, and sugar and bring to a boil. When the ingredients are at a boil, lower the heat and simmer very gently, stirring on occasion, for 5 minutes exactly. Transfer the icing bowl, which in the butter, and cool until the icing has set up a bit. Remove the cupcakes from the fridge, then pour the icing on each cupcake. With a rubber spatula, spread the icing out to the edges and refrigerate until ready to eat.
TO MAKE THE ICING:
In a medium bowl, whisk the egg white until frothy. Stir in the cream of tartar. Gradually mix in enough of the confectioner's sugar to make a fairly stiff and smooth icing. Fill a small paper cone with the icing and cut a 1/16-inch opening at the tip. Remove the cupcakes from the refrigerator. Pipe a design (a squiggle, spiral, etc.) on the top of each cupcake. Let the design harden and then cover and refrigerate the cupcakes. Serve at room temperature.
Note: The cupcakes can be made and refrigerated up to 2 days in advance, or frozen up to 2 weeks.
Makes 12 cupcakes.
Date: September 10, 2002