Wow, guys, you don’t make things easy for a ruthless dictator, do you? So many great stories about Flour Bakery, from weddings saved by doughnuts and brioche, to a cross-continental flight undertaken in the name of sticky buns, even a brush with celebrity. In the end, and after much deliberation, I declare Manasi the winner of the Flour cookbook for demonstrating a deep and long-abiding love for the bakery, which remains as such despite the fact that she is now stuck in med school out in Worcester. A worse fate, I cannot imagine. Get this girl some sticky buns stat!
As for the rest of you, I have the recipe for Flour’s popular chocolate cupcakes, which I hope will distract you from any coups. I let the 5YO select today’s recipe since he is the keeper of all of my dessert cookbooks in a stack next to his bed. That is actually how he learned to read—by flipping through cookbooks with me, learning the correct pronunciations for “ganache,” “brioche,” and “meringue” (though, for the latter, I much prefer his own interpretation, “mangaroo”).
The 5YO was particularly taken with the photo of these cupcakes and what was billed as “crispy magic frosting.” I’ll admit, I was, too. They turned out fantastic and they have since superseded all others as our go-to cupcake and frosting recipe. I have a feeling this is going to make at least one of my readers (hi Marika!) very happy!
Flour Bakery’s Chocolate Cupcakes with Crispy Magic Frosting
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
¼ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/3 cup water
½ cup milk
1 egg yolk
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. kosher salt
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 egg whites
1½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into chunks
1 2/3 cups confectioner’s sugar
¼ tsp. kosher salt
2 Tbsp. milk
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
In a small heatproof bowl, combine the chocolate and cocoa powder. In a small saucepan, heat the granulated sugar, butter, and water over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the butter is melted and the sugar is dissolved. Pour the hot butter-sugar mixture over the chocolate-cocoa mixture and whisk until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is homogenous. Whisk the milk, egg, yolk, and vanilla into the chocolate mixture until thoroughly combined.
In a bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until well mixed. Dump the flour mixture on top of the chocolate mixture. Whisk until are totally combined. Let the batter sit for at least 1 hour at room temperature (or transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 3 days).
Heat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a standard 12-cup muffin tin, or line with paper liners. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, dividing evenly and filling the cups just shy of the rim. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until the tops spring back when pressed. Let pan cool completely on a wire rack.
Meanwhile, in a small heatproof bowl or the top half of a double-boiler, whisk together the granulated sugar and egg whites to make a thick slurry. Place over a saucepan of simmering water (not touching the water) and heat, whisking occasionally, for 3 to 5 minutes or until the mixture is hot to the touch. Remove from heat and scrape the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whip attachment (or use a handheld mixer). Whip on medium-high speed for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the mixture becomes a light, white meringue and is cool to the touch. Turn down the speed to medium and add butter, a few chunks at a time, beating for 3 to 4 minutes or until the butter is fully incorporated. Add the confectioner’s sugar, salt, milk, and vanilla, and continue to beat on medium speed until the mixture is smooth and satiny. You should have about 3½ cups. Use immediately, or transfer to an airtight container and store at room temperature for up to 3 days, or in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. (If storing, beat with a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment for a few minutes until smooth before using.)
Remove the cupcakes from the muffin tin. Spread the frosting on the cupcakes with a spatula or fit a pastry bag with a small round or star tip, fill the bag with frosting, and pipe frosting onto the cupcakes. They are best eaten immediately, but can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 days.
Source: Joanne Chang’s Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery + Café.