This is it baby.
It took one year, seven rounds, fifty+ Official Cupcake Explorers who at long last found one chocolate winner.
Let’s start at the beginning. Last June I was chosen to participate in the quest for the Ultimate Chocolate Cupcake for the incredibly creative blog The Cupcake Project. I wrote up a little blurb as to why I should be chosen. It went along the lines of I have a blog, I’m a baker, I’ve made the Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake, blah blah blah. Anywho, my wit and words won me a prized spot in this little venture. (And you should have seen the celebration. Bouncing-in-my-seat, hands-in-the-air ecstatic. Luckily, in the privacy of my own home).
And so the quest began. All seven rounds, as it turned out. The goal was a 60 percent vote by Explorers to agree that Yes! This is the Ultimate! Now I won’t lie, I did vote rounds 2 and 6 as winners, and every round had its pros (nicely domed, easy to follow recipe, wonderfully sweet) and cons (ugly appearance, too dense, somewhat dry), but all that turned around when I received Round 7’s recipe in an email mid-May.
Perfect everything. Perfect appearance, perfect crumb, perfect density, perfect texture, perfect chocolate flavor, perfect sweetness; ultimately perfect!
And so, without further ado, I give you…
The Ultimate Chocolate Cupcake!!
See Stef’s Blog, The Cupcake Project, for more reviews about the Ultimate Chocolate Cupcake!
The Ultimate Chocolate Cupcake
Makes 12 cupcakes
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 ounces of your favorite chocolate (you can use any plain chocolate that you like except white chocolate or candy melts. The chocolate doesn't have to be one typically earmarked for baking- any chocolate that isn't flavored and doesn't contain mix-ins like nuts, krispies, nougat, etc. will work.)
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil, measured in a liquid measuring cup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup full-fat sour cream
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup room temperature water, measured in a liquid measuring cup
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium-sized mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, mix butter and sugar until fully combined. The end result should look like wet sand.
Melt the chocolate in the microwave or in a double boiler. Once the melted chocolate is cool enough to touch, add it to the butter/sugar mixture and mix until just combined. Mix in eggs and egg yolks one at a time until just combined. Mix in oil, vanilla, and sour cream until just combined.
Sift together flour, salt, baking soda, and cocoa powder into a separate medium-sized bowl. Use a fork or a whisk to ensure that the ingredients are mixed well after sifting. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients in three additions, mixing until just combined after each addition. Mix in water until just combined.
Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full and put in the oven. Check for doneness at 18 minutes - a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake should come out clean. If they are not done, check again every two minutes until they are done. (Mine took 20 minutes!)
Immediately remove cupcakes from the cupcake tin and place on a cooling rack or on the counter to cool to room temperature.
[If you would like to add coffee to the recipe, either add 1 teaspoon espresso powder or instant coffee granules along with the sifted dry ingredients, or replace the water with room temperature brewed coffee.]
Adapted from The Cupcake Project.