20 August 2008

Bittersweet Cupcakes with Cocoa Cream Cheese Frosting

When I was a little girl, all I wanted was a pet. A bunny, to be exact. Only, my mother had 11 kids and 5 fish in a tank so that was more than enough to care for, thank you very much. I wanted more, though.

Then when I was 10 years old, I discovered a family a few blocks down had bunnies. I stopped every day to visit these bunny rabbits, all fluffy and white and A TON of them all living in the same pen. One day, the lady of the house came outside to talk to me while I was stooped down in their front yard, admiring the bunnies. She told me I could have one if I wanted (and now I look back and laugh; she probably started with 2 cute rabbits who quickly multiplied). It was at that moment that I decided come hell or high water: I was getting a pet bunny. So I devised a plan to make a rabbit hutch myself, using some odd pieces of wood and chicken wire I found in our garage, then secretly keep a pet bunny, all my own.

It took my mom One Measly Day to discover the raggedy hutch I built behind the garage. She was very angry with me, oh definitely, but she couldn't turn the sweet defenseless rabbit away. And so Patty the Rabbit became a member of the family and lived in our house. She was the best pet ever, would hop around and willingly let me dress her up; she loved fresh parsley, and would sit on our feet, to keep our tootsies warm. Even my mom loved that bunny to bits.

The sad thing about rabbits is that they get nervous easily. When we moved to Kansas, the change was too much for my dear little rabbit, and one day she was gone. To this day, even though my family has had several more cats (even a dog!) as pets, my mom and I still have a deep love for those darn bunnies. Of course I have tons of bunny things, including these cute chocolate transfers that I used to make small bittersweet squares.

Er, where were we again? Oh, yeah. The food blog. So. The cupcakes were really good, not sweet but nice and rich. The frosting is plenty sweet, and added just what was needed (thanks Natalie for the cupcake recipe!). The bunny chocolates made the cupcakes spectacular though, obviously.

And Hubs said I can totally get a pet rabbit now that we have a house. Only on one condition, that I name him Stuart (that would be Stu for short, or rabbit stu/stew, to be exact). Smart ass.

Bittersweet Cupcakes
(adapted from Food & Wine)

4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1/4 c. water
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. granulated sugar
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
1 large egg
1/4 c. buttermilk
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper or foil liners.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter with the vegetable oil, water, and bittersweet chocolate over low heat.

In a large bowl, sift the flour with the sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add the melted butter mixture and beat with a handheld mixer at low speed until smooth. Add the egg and beat until incorporated, then add the buttermilk and vanilla and beat until smooth, scraping the bottom and side of the bowl. Pour the batter into the lined muffin tins, filling them about three-fourths full.

Bake the cupcakes in the center of the oven for about 25 minutes, until springy and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool slightly, then transfer them to a rack to cool completely. Frost and top the cupcakes as desired.

Cocoa Cream Cheese Frosting
(adapted from Ina Garten)

16 oz. cream cheese (room temperature)
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (room temperature)
2/3 lb. confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/3 c. cocoa powder (unsweetened, not Dutch processed)
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Combine the butter, cream cheese, sugar, cocoa, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mixing just until smooth.


Cate said...

That bunny chocolate is adorable. Nothing sounds better to me right now than bittersweet cupcakes!

Meryl said...

Wow, those cupcakes look amazing! I remember having bunnies growing up as well. Such sweeties, but sadly I don't think one would last long with a terrier in the house....

Anonymous said...

Stuart, eh.

Cute bunny transfers!

Plus it is my favorite story that you tell about your youth! I love to hear that story.

Sara said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Libertas Alata said...

Where oh where did you purchase bunny transfers? They're wonderful!

Nemmie said...

Thanks guys!

libertas alata - I bought the transfers from fancyflours.com - they have TONS of designs, it was hard to choose!

Stacey said...

Wow! These look and sound fahhhbulous!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I see you answer to the comments so I hope you will help me.
I'm from Poland so i don't speak English very well. I want to try some of your recipes but I don't know what some of the shortcuts and ingredients-words mean. I can't find it in dictionaries.
I will be very grateful if you help me with this not-translatable words ;):
- c.
- stick
- oz.
- pkgs.

Your cupcakes look awesome.
Sorry for my English ;)

Anonymous said...

Oh I forgot about "lb.".
Please help me if you can ;)

Nemmie said...


Here you go. I hope it helps!

- 1 c. = 1 cup (230 g)
- 1 stick = 8 Tablespoons (114 g)
- 1 oz. = 1 ounce (28 g)
- pkgs. packages, 8 ounces (228 g)
- 1 lb. = 1 pound (455 g)

Anonymous said...

Thank you ;*

Megan said...

I love the bunny story! And I actually like the name Stuart. Makes me think of Stuart Little but he was a mouse. Stew, I mean Stu is cute! LOL

Megan said...

I love the bunny story! And I actually like the name Stuart. Makes me think of Stuart Little but he was a mouse. Stew, I mean Stu is cute! LOL

jackanderson said...

Bittersweet Cupcakes is really looking very delicious.. Thanks for sharing this blog..