May 4, 2014

"Darth" Chocolate Cupcakes with Sith Lord Red Velvet Frosting for Star Wars Day

Dun dun dun dun da-dun dun da-dun. Dun dun dun dun da-dun dun da-dun.
Dun dun DUN dun dadada, dun-dun. Dun dadada, dun-dun. Dun da-dun dun da-dun.

That was my attempt to transcribe the Imperial March into text. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, allow Chuck and Morgan to demonstrate:
This was one of my favorite scenes ever. *sniffle* I miss Chuck

Anyway, happy Star Wars Day, you guys! May the fourth be with you!
I originally had something completely different planned to post today, and then I realized what the date was. May 4th. May the fourth. It's Star Wars Day and I was going to post "how to make monkey cupcakes." Monkey cupcakes. On Star Wars Day.

You guys, last year I interrupted my Doctor Who series with a Star Wars Day recipe because I just couldn't bring myself to post something for the wrong fandom on Star Wars Day. And I nearly posted a completely non-geek related tutorial on Star Wars Day.

If I hadn't noticed my mistake, I would have had to hand in my nerdy baker card. I wouldn't have been able to stand the shame.
Luckily, I was able to save face with these cupcakes. I was racking my brain for ideas when I thought, "Dark side... dark chocolate. Dark chocolate cupcakes." And then I figured I could top them with Darth Vader chocolates, because obviously I own the Darth Vader silicone ice cube tray (Hi, I'm Kim, and I'm addicted to silicone ice cube trays), and then I thought, "well, then they'll be Darth chocolate cupcakes," and I giggled for about five minutes straight at that.

But then the frosting worried me. If the Darth Vader heads were chocolate, the frosting couldn't be chocolate, because then you couldn't see them. But what other color could possible represent the Dark Side?

Then the answer was simple. Red, like a Sith Lord's light saber. Red velvet frosting.
These cupcakes are enough to tempt anyone to the dark side. The cakes themselves are light, tender, and fluffy, but still have a rich chocolate flavor. I used Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa Powder for the cupcakes, because the dark side needs dark cupcakes, and I think that helps give it an extra chocolate pow.

And as for the red velvet frosting, I really just took my favorite chocolate buttercream recipe and added red velvet emulsion. The emulsion adds flavor as well as color, and guys? It's fantastic. I loved the chocolate frosting by itself, and the emulsion just took it to the next level. (It also photographed a lot brighter than it is. In person, the frosting is more of a rust/brick color. I'm looking at these photos, thinking, "it kind of looks like I frosted the cupcakes with ketchup.") I'm not a red velvet aficionado, so I can't really say how true it is to the red velvet flavor, but it's good and that's really all that matters.
Come to the dark side. We have cupcakes.

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
Yield: 12 cupcakes

1 cup cake flour
½ cup Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa Powder (or regular unsweetened cocoa powder)
¼ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
½ tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda. In a separate bowl with electric beaters, beat the butter and sugar together at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the egg and the vanilla, beating well after each addition. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour, alternating with the buttermilk, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary until everything is well incorporated.

Divide the batter evenly between 12 cupcake liners. Bake 15-18 minutes, or until the tops spring back when lightly pressed. Allow to cool completely on wire racks.

Recipe by Kim

Red Velvet Frosting

6 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
⅓ cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

In a small mixing bowl, mix together the powdered sugar and cocoa powder. In a different bowl using electric beaters, beat the butter on low speed. Add the emulsion and vanilla. Gradually add in the sugar and cocoa, alternating with the milk. Beat on high speed until smooth.

Recipe adapted from Hershey’s Homemade