Saturday, August 14, 2010

Chocolate Chunk Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Buttercream

Long time no post, eh? Well, we're finally settled into our new place, and I've finally had an opportunity to make cupcakes! My cousin Lauren and aunt Cathy whom I haven't seen in about 4 years came down to visit our family yesterday! So, of course, I needed pull out all the stops and whip up some awesome cupcakes.

These cupcakes are yellow cake with dark chocolate chunks mixed in, with Mexican vanilla bean buttercream and a dark chocolate butterfly on top. I got the recipe for the cupcakes and frosting from Brownies For Dinner, and the recipes for both will be posted at the end of this entry with my additions listed.

I started by making the chocolate butterflies from melted Ghirardelli 60% dark chocolate on Wednesday. I'm not sure I tempered the chocolate correctly, because they never really hardened like they should have, but the fridge/freezer was a quick fix for it.

I drew up the pattern for the wings, drew over it with thick black Sharpie, and just laid it underneath the parchment paper and piped chocolate over it with a squeeze bottle.

I baked the cupcakes on Friday, with these cute ruffled liners from Wilton that I found at Hobby Lobby.

Then, I packed up my frosting, the butterfly wings, and the cupcakes, and headed to my Gram's. I didn't assemble them beforehand because I wasn't sure the butterfly wings would hold up, and it's much easier to travel with unfrosted cupcakes. I assembled them at my Gram's, and they were a total hit!

Chocolate Chunk Cupcakes Recipe
  • 1 box yellow cake mix (I used Duncan Hines, since I had it in my pantry)
  • 4 eggs (I always use brown, cage-free eggs)
  • 3/4 cup oil (I used Smart Balance, which is a blend of canola, soy, and olive oil)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 8 ounces of good dark chocolate, chopped (I used Ghirardelli 60% dark)

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners. 
2. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, oil and water.  Add eggs one at a time.  Mix well (about 2-3 minutes).
3. Stir in chocolate. 
4. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups.
5. Bake for about 15-20 minutes (I think I baked mine for 12, but I only bake one pan at a time. Just take them out when you can really smell them and a knife or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean).  Let them cool completely on a rack before frosting.

Vanilla Bean Buttercream
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened (I actually used I Can't Believe It's Not Butter, in the stick form)
  • 2 – 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted (I used 3 cups)
  • 1/2 vanilla bean (I ended up using two whole beans. The flavor wasn't strong enough for me and there wasn't a high enough concentration of vanilla caviar visible in the frosting with just half)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon milk (I probably only used about half a teaspoon. I like my frosting stiff for piping.)

1. Beat the butter until it gets light and fluffy.  Gradually add powdered sugar.  Add the milk and beat for 2-3 minutes.
2. Split the vanilla bean half in lengthwise and scrape out all of the seeds.  Add the seeds and extract to the bowl.  Beat on high until combined and fluffy.


  1. Your cupcakes are beautiful! I saw your blog from the foodie blog roll and I cant wait to try them!

  2. Thank you so much! Let me know how they turn out!

  3. I just found your blog on the Foodie Blogroll, and I love it ~ I love your detailed photos. I'm your newest follower! :)

  4. Fantastic! Thanks a ton! I love that the blogroll has brought me two visitors already within just a few hours of being verified! =]

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