All I really need to say about these cupcakes is:
But of course, being me, I'll say more. You already guessed that, didn't you?!!
Guys, these little easy-to-make flourless and hence, gluten-free chocolate cupcakes are truly wonderful and something everyone needs in their baking repertoire. They're dense and chocolate through and through--almost like mini soufflé with a melt-in-your-mouth consistency that will truly satisfy the needs of even the most ardent chocoholics. And the bonus is that they literally come together in minutes in one bowl without a mixer, which is dangerous because you can just about make them anytime!!
Take a look now and notice how these sink in the centers as they cool. See that little well there? Notice how it's screaming to be filled with something? Well, I can't think of anything better than this divine vanilla-bean créme fraiche frosting. Like the cupcakes themselves, it's super simple to make and perfectly balances out the sweet rich chocolatey-ness with its slight tang and vanilla overtones. You're gonna love it, even if you're not a big frosting person (like me!)
If you celebrate Passover and are looking for something not too filling or heavy or too complicated to make to cap off the big festive meal, these are perfection! You can even make them a day or two ahead and keep them refrigerated because they're equally good cold or at room temperature. They're gluten-free too so no matter when you make them or who you serve them too, you practically can't go wrong! As soon as I go finish this post, I'm heading downstairs to taste them again...for research purposes of course. I told you serious WOW!!!
Fudgy Flourless Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Créme Fraiche Frosting
Makes 12 cupcakes
Prep Time for cupcakes: 10-12 minutes; Bake Time: 15-17 minutes; Prep Time for frosting: 5 minutes
For the cupcakes
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
- 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 4 large eggs, beaten
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not dutch-processed)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon espresso or other strong coffee
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
For the frosting
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- The seeds of one vanilla bean (you could also use 2 teaspoons vanilla extract but the beans really do make this special and are worth it here)
- 1/3 cup créme fraiche
1. Preheat oven to 375ºF and generously butter the wells of a 12-cup muffin pan. Set aside.
2. Place the chocolate and butter in a large microwave-safe bowl and cook on high for 2-3 minutes, doing it in 45 second intervals and stopping and stirring in between until everything is melted and smooth. Let it stand for about 5 minutes to cool. Then, whisk in the eggs until completely incorporated. Whisk in both sugars until smooth. Add half the cocoa powder and whisk again, then add in the vanilla and coffee and whisk and then the remaining cocoa and salt and whisk until all the ingredients are just incorporated.
3. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans and bake for about 15-17 minutes, just until the tops of the cupcakes are just set. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely before removing--don't be upset when the centers sink a bit--it's supposed to happen!
4. When the cupcakes are cooled, prepare the frosting: If you have a stand mixer, use the whislk attachment, if you are using a handheld kind, just use the regular beaters. Place the cream, sugar and vanilla into the bowl and mix on high for a couple of minutes, until soft peaks begin to form. Add the créme fraiche and beat for another minute or so, until a spreadable consistency is achieved.
5. Top each cupcake with a generous dollop of the mixture (notice how nicely the sunken centers hold the frosting) and smooth out. Serve immediately.
6. You can definitely make these the day before serving and either leave them at room temperature lightly covered or refrigerate them (they are heavenly cold too!) In either case, I would wait to frost them until soon before I was ready to serve them--otherwise you run the risk of the cream separating a bit.
Note: Recipe adapted from The Sprinkles Baking Book by Candace Nelson.