Monday, September 12, 2011

Cinnamon Pear Balsamic Dark Chocolate Cupcake

If ever given a chance to visit an olive oil shop, please do so and try all the wondrous infused olive oils and fruity balsamic vinegar! Who knew you could taste so many flavors in one tiny drop? We had the opportunity several times during a recent beach retreat to San Diego. We came home with Cinnamon Pear Balsamic (but I could have come home with many more...). Sweet, tangy, and an earthy spiciness that's a reminder of Thanksgiving. I whipped up some dark chocolate cupcakes to accompany this treasure! This chocolate cake recipe produces a really moist and fluffy cake that isn't cloyingly sweet. The combination of cinnamon+chocolate+pear+strawberry with an exciting tang is a flavor combination that makes me drool just thinking about it....


Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
(adapted from Chocolate Cake recipe in Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook 75th Anniversary Edition)

Yield: 24 regular cupcakes and ~40 mini cupcakes (only reason I made both sizes is because I only have one tray of each so while one's in the oven, I prep the other one and switch back and forth between batches)

Bake Time: 15 minutes per regular cupcake tray, 10 minutes per mini cupcake tray
Prep Time: 30 minutes, not including the 30 minutes your eggs and butter sit at room temp before you start
Oven: 350 degrees F

Ingredients:
3/4 cup butter, softened
3 eggs, room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened dark chocolate cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups soy milk (can use skim milk if preferred)

  1. Allow butter and eggs to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile line your muffin tins with cupcake liners. In a medium bowl stir together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add sugar, about 1/4 cup at a time, beating on medium speed until well combined and fluffy (3-4 minutes). Scrape sides of bowl and continue beating on medium speed for 2-3 more minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating after each addition for a total of about 1 minute. Beat in vanilla.
  3. Alternately add flour mixture and milk to butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Beat on medium to high speed for 20 seconds more after all are added.
  4. Using a small ice cream trigger scoop (you know, the one that has a little arm thing that moves inside the scooper), evenly fill each cupcake liner with batter. 
  5. Bake at 350 degrees F, 15 minutes for regular sized cupcakes and 10 minutes for mini cupcakes. Cool cupcakes in pan for about 5 minutes and then remove them from the pan to cool on a wire rack. 
  6. Cool cupcakes thoroughly on wire racks. Decorate your delight with attention to the flavor profile. Here's one idea: Sift with powdered sugar and cinnamon. Add sliced strawberries for color (or pears would be appropriate but I didn't have any). Drizzle over some balsamic (make sure you use high quality balsamic, otherwise instead of adding to the complexity of flavors, everything will likely taste like acid). I didn't reduce our balsamic but feel free to for a more syrupy consistency if desired.

2 comments:

  1. Mmm my favorite is fig vinegar. Stephanie, where do you dream up these fabulous ideas? I love the take with fruit instead of icing. It seems to showcase the best elements of the cupcake. Drool.

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  2. I am also in love with fig balsamic. We gifted that one to my in-laws and enjoyed it together with fresh strawberries!

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