Serves: Makes 12 cupcakes
- 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
- ¾ cup heavy whipping cream
- 1½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- ¾ cup sugar
- ½ cup buttermilk
- Sprinkles, confetti candy, coarse sugar, or any edible decorations
- Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.
- Make the frosting by putting the chocolate pieces into a medium bowl. Pour the cream into a small saucepan and place over medium heat, just until it begins to boil. Turn off the heat. Immediately pour the cream over the chocolate. Let it sit for 2 minutes, then whisk gently until blended and smooth. Set aside to cool, whisking gently every 15 to 20 minutes, until the chocolate has the consistency of a creamy frosting. You can even do this the night before, cover it with plastic wrap, and leave it on the counter.
- Make the cupcake batter by sifting the flour, baking soda, and salt together into a medium bowl. Crack the eggs into a small bowl and add the vanilla. Beat the eggs lightly with a fork, just until evenly mixed.
- Place the softened butter and sugar in a large bowl. Using a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar for 6 to 7 minutes, until the mixture is very light, almost white, in color. Turn off the mixer. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the mixer running on medium speed, add the beaten eggs slowly, about a tablespoon at a time. Let each addition blend into the butter mixture completely (it will only take about 5 seconds) before adding the next. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add half the dry ingredients to the bowl. Turn the mixer on low speed and beat just until the dry ingredients are just blended, then repeat with the remaining flour and the buttermilk. Mix only until you don't see any more dry patches. Scrape down the bowl one last time, and make sure there aren't any dry bits of butter clumps hiding in the bottom of the bowl.
- Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups. They should be no more than half full. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the tops of the cupcakes are firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let the cupcakes cool completely (at least 40 minutes) before topping with frosting.
- Place the cupcakes on a work surface or a piece of parchment paper. Divide the frosting evenly among the cupcake tops. There is enough frosting for about 2 level tablespoons on each cupcake. Spread the icing close to the edges. Decorate the top with sprinkles or whatever you like. Keep the cupcakes at room temperature for 2 days, and then store any leftovers in the refrigerator.