This months chocolate party theme was chocolate and pecans so I went a chocolate cupcakes with maple pecan buttercream. After a little bit of time, I decided I would make a cupcake. I originally wanted to make a yellow cupcake because I don't have one on the blog yet, but it just wasn't in the cards. I didn't have the creative juices to be able to combine chocolate and pecans in a frosting. Oh well, we have chocolate cupcakes with maple pecan buttercream. This buttercream is to die for. I promise. Holy moly, I just can't seem to muster up enough self control to stay out of it.
I made my very first batch of pecan brittle for the garnish. I'm pretty proud of myself for this recipe. It's quite tasty. It's hard enough to break apart with just a little chewiness. I loveeeeee it. love. love. love. it! I've grown up helping my mom make hard candy every Christmas and now have even taken it over. I'm pretty familiar with making confections. Thanks, mama. I'm not an expert, but once again I'm just talking myself up. Cool. This seems to be happening a lot lately.
That cupcake that is front and center, I ate it after I took this picture. Shh.. it'll be just our secret. Lucian didn't even help me. Well worth every calorie. The chocolate is a rich, dark chocolate. It's a moist, fluffy cake, but the center just dents in a little.
Chocolate Cupcakes with Maple Pecan Buttercream
- 6 egg whites
- 1 + ½ cups granulated sugar
- 2 cups powdered sugar , sifted
- ¾ cup shortening
- 2 cups salted butter , room temperature
- 1 T . vanilla
- 1 cup pecans
- 1 tsp . real maple syrup
Pecan Brittle (to garnish)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup light corn syrup
- ¼ cup (½ stick) salted butter
- 1 + ½ tsp. baking soda
- 1 T . vanilla
- 1 + ½ cup pecans , halved
- In a double boiler, add the egg whites and granulated sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. This is when the egg whites reach about 115 degrees.
- Pour into the stand mixer bowl, and whip with a whisk attachment on high. The meringue needs to come to stiff peaks. If you turn the whisk upside down and the peak stands straight up, you've reached the stiff peak stage.
- Add in the sifted powdered sugar and mix until combined.
- Add all at once the shortening and butter. Beat until it all comes together. It will thicken up at this point. If the mixture looks like it curdled, keep mixing. It will come back together.
- Add the vanilla and mix until combined.
- The frosting should be thick and creamy. If it looks separated, keep mixing. It will come back together.
- In a food processor, add in the pecans. Turn on high and let it go until the pecan turns into the butter consistency. It may take a 5-10 minutes. Make sure to give the bowl a few scrapes along the way.
- Add the pecan butter and maple syrup to the frosting and stir until incorporated.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place cupcake liners in the cupcake tin.
- In a large mixing bowl, add butter and sugar. Turn on medium and mix until combined. It will look like wet sand.
- Add in the oil and mix on medium again until combined.
- Add in one egg at a time and let it mix until the egg is incorporated into the sugar mixture.
- Microwave the chocolate in 20 second intervals for 4-5 times until it's completely melted. Make sure you stir after each interval to prevent the chocolate from burning. Let it cool for a minute or two and then add it into the mixing bowl.
- In a liquid measuring cup, add the warm water, coffee granules, and vanilla.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and cocoa powder.
- Alternately add the flour and water to the mixing bowl starting with the flour and ending with the flour. Mix until just combined.
- Scoop into a prepared cupcake tin. Fill the cups two-thirds full.
- Place in the oven and bake for 16-18 minutes or until done. Place a tooth pick in the center of the cupcake and if it comes out clean they are done.
- Let cool. Frost and eat.
- Prepare a baking sheet. Line it with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.
- In a medium saucepan, add in sugar and corn syrup. Heat on medium/high. Using a candy thermometer, bring the mixture up to 240 degrees. Stir occasionally.
- Once the sugar mixture reaches 240 degrees, add in the pecans. Continue to heat the mixture until it reaches 305 degrees. This is the hard-crack stage.
- Once it reaches 305 degrees, remove from the heat. Add in the butter, baking soda, and vanilla. The mixture will foam up. Mix until the butter is fully dissolved.
- Once the butter is dissolved, quickly pour it onto the prepared baking sheet and spread out. Let it cool and harden for at least an hour and a half. When it hardens, break it into the pieces.