This recipe for the most delicious of chocolate cupcakes with pink American buttercream — piped into rosettes with an Ateco 867 tip — is from my friend Amanda Faber’s new fab cake book, Cake Portfolio. Amanda is a cake “artist,” in case you did not know, and the book is filled with different cakes, frostings and design ideas that you can mix and match to your heart’s content. In fact, Amanda does not have a recipe in the book that calls for her chocolate cake (in the form of cupcakes) with her American buttercream (in the color pink) piped into rosettes. In other words, I went rogue peeps, and I think Amanda is more than okay with that (she basically insists you do so).
I met Amanda, like I have so many of my food peeps, via Instagram, a few months before my second book, The Vintage Baker, launched. She had recently started a fab podcast, the Flour Hour, with the beyond lovely Jeremiah Duarte Bills, and I reached out to ask if they’d be interested in having me on as a guest. We had a grand old time recording the episode (you can listen to it on Spotify here, and FYI: we all said “peeps” a lot, if you’re into that sort of thing). But we recorded remotely — in other words Amanda, Jeremiah and I were all in different places while we did so — so there was no IRL bonding.
However, as luck would have it, a few months later, while on a book tour in LA, Amanda joined me in conversation about my book at Now Serving, and, peeps, the rest is history. I met her IRL — we even had time for a quick drink pre-chat — and that is always just the best feeling: when you get to truly hang with your virtual friends. But I digress. I am clearly so excited about sharing my “How I Met Amanda Faber” story with you that I am neglecting to discuss these off the charts cups, so here we go.
The cake is wonderfully chocolate-y and moist (sorry haters) and the American buttercream not too sweet (Amanda suggests you add a bit of vinegar to it, to counter the sweetness, and that is beyond brilliant, in my opinion, and I will be stealing that idea, Amanda, FYI, so hope that’s okay). Now, as many of you know, I am not much of a decorator — like NOT a decorator at all. I most decidedly do not know my way around a pastry tip or bag, but I was inspired to try my hand at rosettes due to Amanda’s easy-to-follow instructions (and my desire to use Cake Portfolio as it is intended: a guide to decorating cakes, among other things). Now, I won’t say I exactly mastered rosettes, but if (I mean when) you buy Amanda’s book, you will see what a perfect rosette looks like, and mine bear only a slight resemblance to Amanda’s . . . But you know, I was grateful for the challenge (yes, to me rosettes are challenging) and here’s to hoping you will be too.
Chocolate Cupcakes with Pink American Buttercream
- For the cupcakes:
- 210 g all-purpose flour
- 307 grams granulated sugar
- 56 grams cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/8 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/8 tsp espresso powder
- 172 grams whole milk room temp
- 78 grams vegetable oil
- 1 egg
- 1 yolk
- 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 172 grams boiling water
- For the frosting:
- 340 grams unsalted butter room temp
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp white vinegar
- 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
- 120 grams heavy cream room temp
- 906 grams confectioners' sugar
- A few drops of red food coloring
- Preheat the oven to 350-degrees F and fill two 12-cup muffin tins with liners.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, combine all of the dry ingredients. Add the milk, oil egg, yolk, and vanilla and whisk to combine, first at low speed, and then increase to medium for 30 seconds. Add the boiling water and whisk on medium-high for 30 seconds, covering your mixer bowl with a dish towel, so that it does not spray your kitchen with cake batter.
- Divide the batter evenly amongst the 24 cups, filling each cup only about 2/3 of the way full, at the most. Bake for about 18 minutes or so, rotating at the halfway point, and checking on the cups at around 16 minutes. They are done when a cake tester inserted in the center of one comes out with a moist crumb or two.
- Let cool while you make the frosting.
- To make the frosting, combine the butter, salt, vinegar, and half of the cream in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low until smooth.
- Gradually add half the sugar and mix on low until mostly incorporated. Add the remaining cream and mix on low for about 3 minutes, until very smooth.
- Add the remaining sugar and mix on low for 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed. Add the food coloring, a drop at a time, until you achieve your desired color. Use the frosting immediately.
- To assemble the cupcakes, fill a pastry bag fitted with an Ateco 867 tip. Hold the piping bag at a 90-degree angle to your piping surface, and from the center, spiral from the inside out to create a rosette. If you are new to the world of rosettes, like me, try practicing on a sheet pan or a piece of parchment before attempting to decorate the cups.