Election night cupcakes
Ease the stress of Election Day with cute red, white, and blue cupcakes. The batter and frosting can be made ahead of time; perfect for an election night party!
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2. In large heatproof bowl, combine the chocolate and cocoa powder. In a small saucepan, heat the granulated sugar, butter, and water over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the butter is melted and the sugar is dissolved. Pour the hot butter-sugar mixture over the chocolate-cocoa mixture and whisk until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth.Skip to next paragraph
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3. Whisk the milk, egg, egg yolk, and vanilla into the chocolate mixture until thoroughly combined.
4. Dump the flour mixture on top of the chocolate mixture. Whisk until the dry ingredients are totally mixed into the chocolate mixture.
5. Let the batter sit for at least 1 hour (I recommend longer) at room temperature, or transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to three days. (This allows the liquid to be totally absorbed into the batter, so the batter thickens up a bit and isn't so soupy.)
6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a muffin tin, or line with paper liners.
7. Spoon the batter into the muffin tin, dividing it evenly. Leave about 1/4 to 1/8-inch space at the top of each cup (the cakes spread in the oven). Bake for 30 minutes, or until the tops spring back when pressed. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.
For the frosting:
1. In a small heatproof bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar and egg whites to make a thick frothy slurry. Place the bowl over, (not touching) simmering water in a saucepan and heat, whisking occasionally, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the mixture is hot to the touch. It will thin out a bit as the sugar melts.
I suppose a double boiler would work best for this step, but if you're like me and don't have one, you can use a large pot and a Pyrex measuring cup with a handle. Experiment with the water level in your pot and hanging the measuring cup over the side before measuring the sugar and egg whites. I used very little water. With this method it takes much longer for the egg whites and sugar to get hot, almost 10 minutes.
2. Remove from the heat and scrape the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whip attachment (or a handheld mixer). Whip on medium-high speed for 6-8 minutes, or until the mixture becomes a light, bright white meringue and is cool to the touch. (For me this took less than 6 minutes.)
Turn down the speed to medium, add the butter, a few chunks at a time, and beat for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the butter is thoroughly incorporated. Add the confectioners' sugar, salt, milk, vanilla, and food coloring (if using) and continue to beat on medium speed until the mixture is smooth and satiny. You should have about 3-1/2 cups.
Use the icing immediately, or transfer to an airtight container and store at room temperature for up to three days, then beat with the stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for a few minutes until smooth before using. Or, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, then bring to room temperature and paddle for a few minutes until smooth before using.
3. Ice the cupcakes. I used a cake decorator and experimented with a star tip and a flat edge tip, but an icing spatula or a butter knife would work fine. Decorate with your candy!
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