Monday, March 22, 2010

Chocolate Sour Cream Cupcakes

A new partner joined my team at work this week. As a welcome present, I wanted to make cupcakes. The only concern was that my team has been eating cake almost every shift for the past couple weeks; Between birthdays, goodbyes and St. Patrick's day, we definitely got our fill of sweets. While flipping through some of my old Clean Eating magazines, I came across this recipe for "clean" chocolate cupcakes. The cupcakes were quick and easy to make, despite having to whip and fold in egg whites. I made a few small changes because the first time I made these according to the recipe, I found them a bit dry. The recipe says you will yield 12 but I ended up with 18, albeit small, cupcakes.

Chocolate Sour Cream Cupcakes

Slightly modified from original recipe.

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup sucanat plus 1/4 cup sucanat, divided
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup sour cream
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 whole egg plus 2 egg whites
Fresh REAL whipped cream, for topping
Fresh raspberries for garnish

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with paper or silicone cupcake liners.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine cocoa powder, 1 cup sucanat, flour, salt and baking soda.

3. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together sour cream, milk, oil, vanilla and a whole egg.

4. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour into wet ingredients. Stir well to combine. Batter will be thick and somewhat lumpy.

5. Add egg whites to a large, clean, dry mixing bowl. Whip whites with a hand mixer on low speed until they begin to get foamy. Gradually add remaining 1/4 cup of sucanat to the whites. Continue whipping whites until medium-stiff peaks form.

6. Fold whites into cake batter using a rubber spatula. The directions say to fold them "gently but assertively". I'm not sure what that means, so I just folded them in gently until they were combined.

7. Fill each of 12 cupcake liners until 3/4 full. Tap bottom of the filled muffin pan on the counter top. Transfer immediately to the oven. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cupcake comes out clean. The recipe called for baking the cakes for 45 minutes. I found this too long. Start checking when you reach 30 minutes to be safe.

8. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

9. Once cooled, spread a thin layer of Cool Whip over top of each muffin and garnish with a fresh berry. In the magazine, the cupcakes are topped with a simple choclate ganache made of chopped bittersweet chocolate and a coupe teaspoons of milk. I wanted something a little more simple so I opted for Cool Whip. If you want to be even fancier, when very chilled, Cool Whip works well in a piping bag. That's how I ended up decorating the cupcakes I took to work.

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