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I am turning into a cookbook junkie. I definitely don’t own as many as some other bloggers do, but in the last year of blogging, my cookbook collection has at least doubled. Not only do I love to have the cookbooks to read through and cook from, but I’m a sucker for recommendations made by other people. When I read a blog and the blogger raves about a certain cookbook, I end up thinking about that book until I just have to go and order it. So when I see a cookbook pop up on multiple blogs, you can pretty much guarantee that sooner or later, that book will be on my bookshelf. That’s what happened with this cookbook – cupcakes! by Elinor Klivans. With cupcakes like this, this, this, this, this, this, this (I could go on and on!!) I just had to buy it. And I’m really glad that I bought it, because it has some very different recipes in it, but I did have a bad start with the book.

It all started back in January. I had a birthday at work to bake for, plus it was my brother’s birthday, so I decided to make cupcakes so that I could do both at the same time. I was looking to do German Chocolate cupcakes, since they are my brother’s favorite. I found a recipe in this book, and set out to make the cupcakes. If you look at the picture below, you can see that they didn’t quite work out… I don’t know what happened. It could be that I used those stupid silver cupcake liners, or it could be that I filled the cups too full, but I ended up with more cupcake on the bottom of my oven than in the actual cupcakes. And to top it all off, the cupcakes really stuck to the wrapper, making it impossible to peel it off Maybe I did something wrong because I doubled the recipe. But I wasn’t too impressed with the recipe. They were not suitable to give away, so the next day I stopped at the grocery store on my lunch break and bought a cake mix – I needed something no fail because I had to have the cupcakes back at work that afternoon. The frosting was delicious, though (I’ll post about that later).

So when my mother-in-law’s birthday came around in February, I don’t know why, but I went back to this book. I really wanted to do something creative, but my husband just kept saying “just chocolate – she loves chocolate”. So because I’m not a quitter and I wanted to make the last recipe right, I went for the Chocolate Sour Cream Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting. If she likes chocolate, she was gonna get chocolate!!

And I’m glad I took the risk. These were probably the best chocolate cupcakes I’ve ever made. Even my husband, who is not a frosting lover, loved these. I still don’t know what happened the first time, but I’ll no longer be scared of this book!!

I’m sending these cupcakes over to Arfi at HomeMadeS for her Cupcake Spectacular.

Chocolate Sour Cream Cupcakes
from cupcakes!

3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup water

Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line 18 muffin tin cups with paper cupcake liners.

Put the chocolate in a heat proof bowl or the top of a double boiler and place it over, but not touching, a saucepan of barely simmering water (or the bottom of a double boiler). Stir the chocolate until it is melted and smooth. Remove from the water and set aside to cool slightly.

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and sugar until smoothly blended and creamy, about 2 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing. On low speed, mix in the melted chocolate. On medium speed, add the eggs one at a time, mixing until each is blended into the batter. Add the vanilla and beat until the mixture looks creamy and the color has lightened slightly, about 1 minute. Mix in the sour cream until no white streaks remain. On low speed, add half of the flour mixture, mixing just to incorporate it. Mix in the water. Mix in the remaining flour mixture until it is incorporated and the batter looks smooth.

Fill each paper liner with a generous 1/4 cup of batter, to about 1/3 inch from the top of the liner. Bake just until the tops feel firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool the cupcakes.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting*
from cupcakes!

3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa**
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, at room temperature

Put the chocolate in a heat proof bowl or the top of a double boiler and place it over, but not touching, a saucepan of barely simmering water (or the bottom of a double boiler). Stir the chocolate until it is melted and smooth. Remove from the water and set aside to cool slightly.

Sift the powdered sugar and cocoa powder into a large bowl. Add the butter, and using an electric mixer on low speed, beat until smoothly blended, about 2 minutes. At first the mixture will look crumbly, but then it will form a smooth mass. Beat in the melted chocolate. Add the vanilla and cream, mixing to incorporate. On medium speed, beat the frosting for at least 3 minutes, until it looks smooth and creamy and the color lightens.

*This recipe makes a TON of frosting. I probably only used half of it to frost 18 cupcakes.
**I can’t find Dutch processed cocoa here, but I did find a combination of regular cocoa and Dutch processed. It worked just fine.

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28 Responses to The Cupcake That Almost Wasn’t…

  1. Meeta says:

    cookbook junkie – that would be me too! But I still like the way these turned out.

  2. bbaking says:

    lucky MIL! I never say no to chocolate! mmmmmmmmmmmm

  3. Madam Chow says:

    I have that book, and I haven’t made anything out of it yet, but after this, I’m going to!

  4. Emiline says:

    Yum, those look great! Cupcakes are so popular right now.

  5. Happy cook says:

    Looks so good have bookmarked this too. After reading you reviews about the book i might buy them.
    Hey it is my b’dat in May you may bake these any time for me :-)))

  6. michelle @ TNS says:

    that chocolate frosting looks seriously obscene, like i wanna slather it all over my body. in a tasteful way.

  7. linda says:

    They look perfect and delicious! Wouldn’t mind eating one of those with my tea…mmmm!

  8. Steph says:

    I’m a cupcake junkie, I’m sorry to admit. It is definitely one of my many weeknesses. These look fabulous! I will have to try them very soon.

  9. kellypea says:

    HA! I almost bought that book too because I’d seen so many lovely cupcakes around but ended up getting a Sherry Yard book instead. Your flat cupcakes brought back some memories of my own baking adventures Your cupcakes turned out fabulously. YUM!

  10. Kate / Kajal says:

    fortunately for me i don’t have amazon delivering to Africa, so cant buy !!! Dunno if its a good thing or a bad , but like you i know i would not able to control myself.
    These cupcakes look perfect , and i’m sure your mum in law adored them.

  11. Katie says:

    They look fabulous. Well done for not being put off the book by an unsucessful recipe.

  12. Gretchen Noelle says:

    These do look absolutely delicious! I cannot really get many cookbooks here, at least the ones recommended there, so I cannot consider myself as an addict quite yet. But if I lived in the US…

  13. Peabody says:

    Yes, I know I have a cookbook problem. :) I have gotten a ton more too just as of late.
    Glad to see you stuck with it and made a lovely batch of cupcakes.

  14. Ryley says:

    Those look super yummy.. I’ll have to find them.

    K.. I have been looking for Dutched Processed too.. apparently they don’t think Utahn need it! :)

    But.. at Target (the only place I can find it.) I found Hershey’s Dark Chocolate powder, on the back it says it can be used where Dutch Processed is called for. Does that mean its the same? or it can be subsituted?? I need to find some of that Vanilla bean paste too! I say we start writting to some grocery stores!! :)

  15. Kevin says:

    Those cupcakes look good. Especially the chocolate butter cream frosting…mmm…

  16. glamah16 says:

    My addiction is growing with the cookbooks too. Your cupcakes look pro.

  17. Brilynn says:

    Those look awesome! I’ve definitely developed an affinity for cookbooks in the past couple years. I’m just drawn to them now.

  18. Shandy says:

    Deb, I am so happy that you tried that one more time! They look positively delicious! The chocolate cupcake and frosting looks so inviting in the picture.

  19. CB says:

    Lovely cupcakes! Glad you decided to give ::cupcakes!:: another shot. Just a thought about your previous cupcake catatrophe. Maybe you overfilled it and it collapsed on itself? I know that happens to me…
    -Clara @ I♥cuppycakes!

  20. Arfi Binsted says:

    Deborah, I bet your Mum would be really pleased! I am a bit mad with Nigel Slater at present as his recipes seem work for me, but he doesn’t make cupcakes hehehe…

    Thank you for your gorgeous entry for Cupcakes Spectacular 2008!


  21. Patricia Scarpin says:

    Deb, what a joy to see you didn’t give up – these are worth the effort!

  22. April says:

    These look wonderful!

  23. ourohana says:

    I received that cookbook for Christmas and the yellow cupcakes I made did the exact same thing your’s did. Chockylit made a comment in her plain and simple chocolate cupcakes post about the sinking thing…filling the papers too full will cause some cupcake batters to sink when baking. I’m glad this recipe was a success…you’ve given me hope for this cookbook. :)

  24. Chocolate Shavings says:

    I love the look of those cupcakes! Great job Deborah!

  25. Ivy says:

    I had the same thing happen to my cupcake attempt with that recipe! SO what is the secret to success? The frosting was good, but I'm reading alot of people out there get bad results with that recipe. Should I return the book?

  26. Deborah says:


    I've actually tried a few other recipes from the book and liked them. I don't know why these didn't work the first time, but they did work the second time!

  27. Laura says:

    They look great! I made this same recipe two times, following each step, but both times my cupcakes sunk in the middle, just like the first photos. Is it because i didn’t use double-baking powder, or because i filled too full the papers???

    • Deborah says:

      Laura, I’m guessing that you filled the cupcakes too full. That is usually my problem when my cupcakes sink. Just a guess, though!

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