For me, the most important part of a cupcake is the frosting. The fudge topping on this one requires a candy thermometer. If you aren’t as obsessed as I am about frosting, try this much simpler one from Joy Of Baking:
Sponge Cake Cupcakes:
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla or almond extract
1 tbs butter
1/2 cup hot milk
1 cup all-purpose flour (not bread flour!)
1 tsp baking powder
Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners. Preheat oven to 400F.
Beat eggs until very light in color. Beat in sugar, salt and extract. Melt the butter in the hot milk, then beat into the batter. Mix flour and baking powder together, then mix into the batter, stirring just until it’s well-blended in. Immediately pour into muffin cups, filling about 2/3 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 15-20 minutes.
(Recipe from Betty Crocker’s Picture Cookbook)
I actually got 16 cupcakes out of this, perhaps because it’s an old recipe and pan sizes are different. If you have extra batter, don’t overfill beyond 2/3 full – just make extras.
I didn’t want the extra work of making pastry cream for the filling, but you can certainly go for it! The lazy way is to doctor a box of instant vanilla pudding. Just follow the directions for making pudding, but use 1 3/4 cups milk (or you replace part of it with heavy cream to make it richer). Then add 2 tsp vanilla extract.
Filling the Cupcakes:
Baking Bites has a great tutorial for how to fill cupcakes.
Fill the cupcakes before making the glaze, and keep them in the fridge until you’re ready to frost them.
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup sugar
3 tbs light corn syrup
2 tbs butter, cut up
1/8 tsp salt
4 1/2 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp vanilla
hot water, as needed
Combine the cream, sugar, corn syrup, butter and salt in a saucepan. It’s going to boil up, so be sure to use a larger one. Bring to a full boil over medium-high, stirring constantly. Cover the pot and let the steam wash down the sides for two minutes. Get a fresh spoon to keep from adding sugar crystals to the mixture.
Remove the lid and reduce heat to medium. Continue to boil until the candy thermometer reads about 227F. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate and vanilla until smooth. If it looks separated, it’s probably been overcooked, so vigorously stir in hot water, 1 tsp at a time, until it smooths out. Set it aside for 5 minutes until it thickens and cools slightly. If it’s too thick, you can thin it with a bit of hot water. If it’s too thin, you can let it cool a bit more, covered, for about an hour.
(From All American Dessert Book)
Put the filled cupcakes on a wire rack. I put a sheet of waxed paper under the rack to make clean-up easier. Spoon the glaze over the cupcakes. I waited until the glaze was moderately thick, so not a lot of it dribbled down the sides.
You’ll have more glaze than you need to cover the cupcakes. If you don’t just eat it out of the pan, you can use the extra to fill Ritz crackers, graham crackers, or Nilla wafers (regular or mini).