A few weeks ago, while eating a bran muffin I had just made, my brother said, “You know what you should make, Emma? A bran cake, like these muffins but in cake form. You could use that pan, you know, with the giant hole in the top.” What he was trying to say was that he wanted me to bake bran muffins…in the form of a…Bundt cake. Interesting. In the past I’ve gotten lots of requests from my friends and family for things like chocolate chip cookies, blackberry pie, and pumpkin bread (normal, normal, normal) but this one really took the cake. (No pun intended!) Luckily, before I could reply he came up with a new idea: “Brownies, but in cake form. Like brownie cupcakes!” This brother of mine seems to have a peculiar obsession with converting normal baked goods into “cake form,” but hey, this one I could live with. I made a mental note to add Brownie Cupcakes to my baking agenda.
After scouring the internet for a good brownie recipe, one that could be adapted into cupcake form, I found this recipe for actual Brownie Cupcakes from Joy of Baking. They were originally paired with a chocolate fudge frosting, but as good as it sounded I decided to go with a lighter topping so that the rich chocolatey cupcakes could really shine: whipped cream frosting.
My brother just might be a genius. These were literally brownies in cupcake form: dense, chewy, chocolatey, and fabulous. The whipped cream frosting turned out light, fluffy, and not overly sweet, just as I had hoped, and I finished the cupcakes off with chocolate sprinkles. The combination of brownie-like cake and whipped cream frosting was even better than I thought, and they complimented each other perfectly. These would be a great Valentine’s Day treat, although I have no doubt that they’d be a hit any time of the year! I might have a hard time going back to regular chocolate cupcakes after these…I guess I should listen to my brother more often!
Yield: 12 cupcakes
4 oz (4 squares) unsweetened baking chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
Whipped Cream Frosting
3/4 cup (6 oz) heavy whipping cream, chilled
3 Tbs powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners.
Using a double boiler or a stainless-steel bowl placed over a pan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter, stirring with a wooden spoon. As soon as the mixture is smooth, remove from heat. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then pour into a large bowl (if you used a double boiler) and stir in the sugar. Next, mix in the vanilla until smooth. Add in the eggs one at a time, stirring until incorporated. Add in the flour and salt and stir until well-combined.
Scoop the batter into prepared muffin cups, then bake for 20-25 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out with just a few moist crumbs. Transfer cupcakes to a cooling rack and cool completely before frosting.
For the whipped cream frosting, beat the cream with an electric mixer on medium speed for about 1 1/2 minutes, or until soft peaks form. Add in the powdered sugar while beating, one tablespoon at a time, until stiff peaks form. Fold in the vanilla using a rubber spatula. Slather the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes or pipe it on using a pastry bag. Top with sprinkles if desired.
Store cupcakes in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
(Cupcake recipe from Joy of Baking)