Forest Floor Chocolate Cupcakes
I know we don't typically chat on Saturdays, BUT today's the LAST day of Fix Feast Flair's 12 Days of Sweets and I'm sooooooo excited to share these cupcakes with you!! It's been so much fun sharing some of my favorite sweets and teaming up with some of my favorite brands for the past 12 days. A huge thank you to everyone for making this year's 12 Days so great! While I was working on Day 4's post--all about Rachel Khoo's Pistachio and Pomegranate Cake), I stumbled upon the cutest recipe in Rachel Khoo's Kitchen Notebook for an edible forest floor made with chocolate yogurt, meringue mushrooms, and chocolate ganache. I was so inspired by it that I knew I had to create my own forest floor for this year's 12 Days! I ultimately settled on creating little mini forest floors on moist chocolate cupcakes topped with light chocolate cream cheese frosting. I mean, who wouldn't want a personal sized chocolate forest floor cupcake!?!
These cupcakes are an adaption of the chocolate cake recipe I've used for this and this. However, after seeing these beauties by Michelle, I tweaked it a little to incorporate crème fraîche instead of buttermilk and WOAH. This might just be my favorite iteration yet--they're insanely moist, a little more chocolatey and it kinda feels like you're eating little chocolate clouds of heaven. :D As for the frosting, it's light and fluffy and SILKY and not too sweet but just right. I think it really compliments the moist airiness of the cupcake and when spread onto the cupcake with quick strokes, creates a kinda rustic and "dirt" like surface to create the ultimate floor. Also, it's worth noting that the nerd in me really wanted a moist cupcake because I felt like a true forest floor would have to be moist.
I really can't even begin to tell you how much fun it was to put these cupcakes together. And while I'm not going to pretend that they don't take a bit of time to make, I will say that they're not difficult. In fact, I'd go so far as saying that my stand mixer did most of the work for me. If you've been reading my blog, you'll know that most of my recipes call for a stand mixer. While you can absolutely use a hand mixer in most cases, I prefer and recommend a stand mixer, because it frees up your hands and allows you to work through recipes quickly and efficiently. For instance, in the case of these cupcakes, I used my stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment to make the meringue for my mini mushrooms and then used my paddle attachment (after washing the bowl, of course) to make my cupcake batter and frosting. I was cleaning up and prepping ingredients for next steps while my mixer was whisking and mixing away, doing all the heavy lifting for me.
Where am I going with this...? Well, I've teamed up with KitchenAid to give away one Artisan® Series 5-Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer to one Fix Feast Flair reader! After all, how else are you going to make your forest floor chocolate cupcakes?! Note, you can totally make them with a hand mixer, but be prepared for a forearm workout if you do!
OMG, I got so excited about this giveaway that I almost forgot to share contest details!! To enter, leave a comment below and tell me what you'd make with this KitchenAid Artisan® Series 5-Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer (this is required). Follow me and/or KitchenAid USA for up to two bonus entries! Also, make sure to fill out the form so that I've got all your info to contact you via email if/when you win. The winner will be randomly selected and notified via email After that s/he will have 48 hours to reply before I select another winner. Gosh, you guys, I seriously can't contain my excitement here. This mixer's a game changer for sure. Thank you thank you thank you for making this year's 12 Days the best 12 Days yet! Already looking forward to next year's!
- 3/4 c. + 2 Tbsp. (127 g.) all-purpose flour
- 3/4 c. (150 g.) granulated sugar
- 1/4 c. (37 g.) dark brown sugar
- 1/2 c. (47 g.) unsweetened dutch processed cocoa powder
- 1 tsp. (5 g.) baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. (2.5 g.) baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. (3 g.) kosher salt
- 1/2 c. (113 g.) hot, freshly brewed coffee
- 1 /2 c. (120 g.) crème fraîche
- 1/3 c. (174 g.) vegetable oil
- 1 large eggs
- 1/2 Tbsp. (6 g.) vanilla extract
- 4 oz. unsalted butter, softened
- 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 2 tsp. (8 g) vanilla extract
- 1 2/3 c. (333 g) powdered sugar, sifted
- 1/2 c. (47 g) unsweetened dutch processed cocoa powder
- Pinch of kosher salt
- Meringue Mushrooms (I used Alice Medrich's recipe)
- 1/4 c. pistachios, finely ground
- 1/4 c. pistachios, chopped in half or whole
- 1/4 c. speculoos cookies, finely ground
- 1/4 c. pomegranate seeds
- Freeze dried blueberries
- Shaved dark chocolate
- Fresh mint sprigs
- Stand mixer
- 12 cavity muffin tin
- Cupcake liners
- Mixing bowls
- Silicone spatula
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Wire cooling rack
- Offset spatula (I used this one)
- Move rack to middle of oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line muffin tin with cupcake liners; set aside.
- In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine flour, sugars, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt at low speed.
- In mixing bowl, whisk together crème fraîche, oil, egg, and vanilla. On low speed, incorporate the crème fraîche mixture into the dry mixture and beat until just combined. Next add the freshly brewed, hot coffee and blend until fully incorporated.
- Evenly distribute batter amongst 12 wells. 20-25 minutes. Test with a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake at 20 minutes. If it comes out clean, the cupcakes are done. Cool in pans for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine unsalted butter, cream cheese, and vanilla extract and beat on medium-low speed until thoroughly combined. Add powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and salt and beat on medium speed for about 5-10 minutes, or until light and fluffy.
- Using an offset spatula, frost the top of each cupcake, using shorter strokes to create a more "rustic" and "earthy" vibe.
- Top with mushrooms and sprinkle with ground pistachios and speculoos cookies to create a mossy patches. Use pomegrante seeds, blueberries, and pistachios as desired to mimic the look of pebbles and whatnot. Use bits of shaved dark chocolate as fallen branches/logs. Use mint sprigs to add greenry.
- Serve and enjoy!
- This recipe makes enough frosting to very generously frost 12 cupcakes, but you may end up with a little extra when frosting as I have suggested for the forest floor.
- Decorate as you please. I have recommended some toppings, but use what inspires you!
I used Alice Medrich's recipe for the mushrooms but fitted the bag with a 1/4-inch tip instead of 1/2-inch tip to pipe smaller mushrooms and baked them a little longer than specified--about 2 1/2 hours.
I was not compensated for this post. While KitchenAid provided the product for this giveaway, this is a product I've supported and endorsed for years.