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Chocolate, will always be a crowd pleaser. I made a batch of these during the last hectic weeks of semester (yes, baking is incredibly therapeutic) and brought them to school. The perennial favourite, devil’s food cupcake was flavoured with the slightest hint of citrus notes – an ode to the classic chocolate/orange combination.  Since the cake was so deep and chocolaty, I paired it with just a smidgen of orange-ganache frosting which was adapted from Pierre Hermé’s passionfruit milk chocolate ganache. On hindsight, I could have up the blood orange flavour as it was very very faint. Some major tweaking is in order – maybe some grated zest or orange liqueur added to the batter.

Anyway, this basic recipe is definitely a keeper. I’m dreaming of the many chocolate pairings/variations that can be built upon it. Any suggestions?

Devil’s Food Cupcakes
for a moist, tender and chocolaty cake. Play it up by marrying different flavour and textures with fruits, nuts, anything. The possibilities are endless!
200g unbleached flour (or cake flour for a finer crumb)
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
pinch of sea salt
6 T unsalted butter
1 cup unrefined sugar
2 large eggs
140ml buttermilk or sour cream
2 t pure vanilla
To this, I replaced half of the buttermilk with blood orange juice and added a handful of chocolate chips

Sift dry ingredients. Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add in eggs and vanilla. On low speed, combine the dry ingredients alternating with the buttermilk-juice. Lastly, fold in the chocolates. Bake at 175C for 18 minutes. Makes 12 regular cupcakes or 18 mini ones like I did.

Blood-orange Ganache Frosting
inspired and adapted from Pierre Hermé’s Mogador
80ml blood orange juice, freshly squeezed
30g fine sugar
200g dark chocolate, finely chopped (I used 60% cocoa here)
125ml heavy cream
40g unsalted french butter, at room temp

Bring the juice and sugar to a boil, until reduced to a slightly syrupy consistency. Pour over chocolate. Let it rest for 10 minutes before whisking til smooth. Add the cream. When the mixture has partially cooled, pour it into a mixer and whip until cool to the touch. The frosting will start to thicken and lighten in colour. Combine the butter a little at a time. Beat till fluffy and smooth. Chill before use.