Chocolate Cupcakes (with variations)

Source: Velez Delights

Chocolate Cupcakes (with variations)

*makes 12 cupcakes*

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder, sifted
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1) Preheat oven to 350F.
2) Line muffin pan with paper liners.
3) In a small bowl, mix together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
4) In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, oil, egg, and vanilla until smooth. Alternately whisk in flour mixture and buttermilk, making three additions of flour mixture and two of buttermilk, beating until batter is smooth. Stir in chocolate chips.
5) Scoop batter into prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 22 to 27 minutes or until tops of cupcakes spring back when lightly touched. Let cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool completely on rack. Top cooled cupcakes with frosting.

Chocolate Fudge Frosting
*makes enough to frost 12 to 18 cupcakes*

Ingredients :
1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder, sifted
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tbsp chooclate cream liqueur
1 tbsp strong brewed coffee or milk
pinch salt

Directions :
1) In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, process confectioner's sugar, cocoa powder, butter, chocolate liqueur, coffee, and salt until smooth, scraping down sides as necessary.
2) Spread frosting on cooled cupcakes.

Coconut Pecan Frosting
*makes enough to frost 16 or more cupcakes*

Ingredients :
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
pinch salt
1 cup evaporated milk
1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup loosely packed sweetened flaked coconut
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans
1/3 cup semisweet chocoalte chips (optional)

Directions :
1) In a heavy saucepan, whisk together brown sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Slowly whisk in evaporated milk until cornstarch is dissolved. Add butter. Butter will be lumpy, but don't worry, it will melt from the heat.
2) Place saucepan over medium heat. Cook, whisking until butter is melted and mixture is smooth. Whisk continuously until mixture is very thick. Remove from heat. Stir in coconut and vanilla. Transfer to a bowl and let cool to room temperature.
3) Cover coconut mixture with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or until chilled and thick. When cold and thick, stir in pecans and chocolate chips, if using. Spread frosting over cooled cupcakes. If not serving cupcakes right away, keep cupcakes refrigerated until ready to serve or for up to 1 day.

Cookies and Cream Buttercream
*makes enough to frost 12 or more cupcakes*

Ingredients :
1 1/3 cups confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
pinch salt
1/3 cup whipping cream
1/2 tsp vanilla
4 chocolate sandwich cookies, broken into pieces

Directions :
1) In a small bowl, using an electric mixer on low speed, beat together sugar, butter, and salt until well combined. Increase speed to high, beating until light and fluffy. Add cream and vanilla, beating until frosting is smooth. Add broken cookies, beating until mixed.
2) Spread icing on cooled cupcakes with a knife.