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Quick Chocolate Cupcakes with Marshmallow Butter Cream Frosting

This chocolate cupcake is from my book The Weekend Baker. Many of you have posted this recipe on your blogs and commented that it is silly-easy yet remarkably chocolate-y and delicious. Thanks gang. I’m glad you like it!   I even made these guys for  a big summer potluck party at house. For that event, I topped them with the Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting (see Banana Cupcake recipe ).

But, the other day, I found myself in my own cupcake “emergency’ and needed some ASAP, so, naturally, I pulled out this recipe. My usual go-to frosting for these guys is a fudgy number that, frankly, I just didn’t have the time to make so I turned to another of my emergency-type recipes – Shortcut Marshmallow Butter Cream Frosting. I like to make my own 7-minute (marshmallow) frosting but, as I was under acute time pressure, I pulled out a jar of Fluff… you read correctly, I said Fluff! Now, before you completely freak out and disregard this frosting completely, please take into consideration that while it might have some, ahem, unfortunate, ingredients in it, this isn’t a daily or even a weekly habit so I think it’s a-ok to use this frosting when you, like I am sometimes, are time-pressed. It whips up quickly, tastes great and you can pipe it onto the cupcakes like a pro.

The following cupcakes and frosting are dedicated to all of us who have been caught by surprise and desperate for some simple but delicious frosted cupcakes. The cupcake batter can also be made in the blender as well but I think they are just as easy to whisk up in a single bowl. Nothing could be simple.

Worth Noting:

  • These cupcakes taste best when baked up to 2 days ahead and stowed at room temperature They can be frosted up to 2 days ahead and, once again, stowed at room temp (unless it’s super hot and then keep ‘em in the fridge and bring to room temp before serving.)
  • This makes plenty of frosting for 12 cupcakes and you’ll probably have some leftover. Of course, if you like a more scantily clad cupcake, this recipe might just make enough for 24 but I like my cupcakes generously frosted. Stow remaining frosting in the frig and bring to room temperature before using ~ a little spread on a cinnamon graham cracker makes a mighty nice mid-night snack.If you need more than 12 cupcakes ~ no problem! Both the cupcake and frosting recipes can be doubled to make 12 frosted cupcakes.

Tips 4 Success:

  • Mixer?  No mixer needed for the cupcakes – just a bowl and a whisk! For the frosting, I use my KitchenAid mixer with the BeaterBlade but, if you don’t have this attachment yet, use the paddle or use a hand-held mixer and remember to scrap the sides of the bowl a few times during mixing.
  • Oven thermometers: Make sure you are cooking at the correct temps by investing in one for the oven. I think the mercury-filled ones are the most accurate. Set it in the center of the oven, heat to 350, wait about 15 or so minutes and check and see if your dial and the thermometer agree. If not, simply adjust your dial up or down to get the correct temp.


Emergency Chocolate Cupcakes  & Shortcut Marshmallow-Butter Cream Frosting

Yields 12 cupcakes.

For the Cupcakes:

  • 1 cup (4 ½ ounces) all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (1 ½ ounces) natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon table salt
  • ¾ cup hot tap water
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg

For the Shortcut Marshmallow – Butter Cream Frosting:

  • 16 tablespoons (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 jar (7 ounces) marshmallow “Fluff”
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon table salt
  • Colored Sprinkles, for garnish (optional)

To make the cupcakes:

  1. Heat the oven to 350. Line 12 muffin cups with paper or foil liners and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda and salt until well blended. Pour in the water, oil and vanilla. Crack the egg into the bowl and whisk until blended, about 1 minute. Pour evenly into the lined muffin cups. Bake until a pick inserted in the center of one of the cupcakes comes out clean, about 19 to 20 minutes. Set the muffin tins on a rack to cool about 10 minutes then carefully remove the cupcakes and set them on the rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting:

  1. Combine the butter and “Fluff” in a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth.
  2. Add the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and salt.
  3. Continue beating until smooth, well blended and fluffy.

Frost the Cupcakes:

  1. Fit a large pastry bag with a star tip and filling with the frosting.
  2. Pipe the frosting on top of each cooled cupcake. Alternately, using a small spatula or a table knife, spread about 2-3 tablespoons of frosting on top of each cupcake and dust with colored sprinkles, if desired.Note: I like my frosting piled high on the cupcake so I use about 3 tablespoons per cupcake. If you’re not as much of a fan, use less and store the unused frosting in the fridge. It will last about a week.) The cupcake can be kept at room temperature or, on warmer days, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.