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To celebrate the end of my godforsaken juice cleanse, I’m sharing THE GREATEST CUPCAKE RECIPE IN THE HISTORY OF CUPCAKES. I’m not just saying that just because I’ve eaten nothing but pureed plants for the past three days, although I will admit I was so hungry when I woke up this morning anything sounded delicious (I already wrote about dog food.) I’m saying that because these are truly the yummiest cupcakes I’ve ever baked, which Tony and the kids of School of Rock will back me up on… I made them last Friday when we had the kids over for a pizza party and screening of Austin Powers (they’d never seen it! We introduced them to both Austin and Elizabeth Hurley. I don’t think their worlds will ever be the same.) The kids all said the frosting tastes like ice cream and Tony (who doesn’t even like chocolate that much) ate three of them. Throwing the last two away mid-cleanse broke my heart.

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Once I’ve come out of the detox fog, I’ll write a more cohesive meditation on the dark journey of a juice cleanse, but for now all I can think or talk about is food. I came across this recipe on Pinterest a while back and had been looking for an excuse to try it out. It was easy, not too time consuming and such a crowd pleaser. I didn’t think I could find a frosting I like better than cream cheese frosting, but this one trumps it… I plan to use this sea salt buttercream recipe for pretty much any dessert from here on out. So, enjoy this magic, courtesy of Lady and Pups:

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Ingredients:

  • Triple chocolate cupcake:  adaped from Cook’s Illustrated via Brown Eye Baker
    • 3 oz (85 grams) of bittersweet chocolate
    • 1/3 cup (31 grams) of natural cocoa powder (not dutch processed)
    • 3/4 cup (163 grams) of hot coffee
    • 3/4 cup (125 grams) of light brown sugar
    • 6 tbsp (84 grams) of vegetable oil (or peanut oil for a nuttier flavour)
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 tsp of white vinegar
    • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
    • 3/4 cup (96 grams) of all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 tsp of salt
    • 1 tsp of baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp of baking soda
    • 2 tsp of milk chocolate chips (or nutella works, too)  for each cupcake
  • Sea salt buttercream:
    • 2 sticks (230 grams) of unsalted butter, soften
    • 1/2 + 1/8 tsp of fine sea salt
    • 1 1/4 tsp of vanilla extract
    • 4 cups (480 grams) of powdered sugar
    • 4 tbsp of heavy cream or whole milk

To make the triple chocolate cupcake:  Preheat the oven on 350ºF/175ºC.

Add bittersweet chocolate and cocoa powder in a large bowl, then pour in the hot coffee.  Whisk until the chocolate has completely melted and refrigerate for 10 min to cool.  Then add the light brown sugar, vegetable oil (or peanut oil for a nuttier flavour), large eggs, white vinegar and vanilla extract.  Whisk until smooth and velvety.  Sift the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda directly into the bowl through a large sieve.  Whisk just until evenly incorporated.

Divide the batter into 10 to 12 cupcake-holder, filling each up to about 80% full.  Drop 2 tsp of milk chocolate chips (or nutell) into the center of each cupcakes, then bake in the oven for 17~19 min until a wooden skewers comes out clean from the side.  Let cool completely on a baking rack before applying buttercream.

To make the sea salt buttercream:  Saltiness of sea salt may differ, so add 1/2 + 1/8 tsp first, then a pinch more if needed.  Make sure that you use extra fine sea salt (not the flaky/coarse kind) so it dissolves nicely into the buttercream.  If you can only find flaky/coarse sea salt, you can either pulverize it in spice-grinder, or melt it into the heavy cream first over gentle heat, let cool completely, then add it in the last step.

In a stand-mixer with pedal-attachment, or in a food-processor, add the unsalted butter and fine sea salt then whip until light and fluffy (takes a bit longer in a stand-mixer).  Add the vanilla extract and 1 cup of powdered sugar at a time, whip until smooth before the next addition of powdered sugar.  Then finally, whip in the heavy cream to loosen the texture (you  may need more if you prefer softer buttercream).

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{I tried substituting Trader Joe’s sea salt caramels in place of the milk chocolate chips. I thought they would be melty molten goodness in the middle of the cupcake, but instead they sank to the bottom of the batter, hardened and stuck to the wrapper. I don’t recommend it. Just stick to the recipe.}

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{Post pizza cupcake binge family photo – I’m the one on the right with the demon eyes}


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