Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Chocolate-Filled Golden Cupcakes

Vanilla, or chocolate? When you can't make up your mind—have both! These golden-yellow cupcakes feature chocolate-filled centers and a crown of creamy chocolate icing. If you're a fan of hazelnut, we've added the option of scenting both the cakes and the icing with hazelnut flavor. Chocolate and hazelnut are naturals together; in Italy, the combination has its own name—"gianduia"—a 50/50 mixture of chocolate and hazelnut paste.

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks, 6 ounces) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
3 large eggs, beaten lightly
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 cup (8 ounces) yogurt, regular or low-fat, plain or vanilla
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon Creamy Hazelnut Flavor or hazelnut flavor, to taste, optional

Filling and Icing
12-ounce can Chocolate Schmear filling
3 cups (12 ounces) confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup heavy or whipping cream
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon Creamy Hazelnut Flavor or hazelnut flavor, to taste, optional
chocolate sprinkles or jimmies, optional

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 1 1/2 muffin tins (18 wells) with paper cups or silicone cups; spray the cups with non-stick vegetable oil spray.

Beat the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until they're well combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Once all the eggs have been added, beat the batter at high speed of your electric mixer for 5 minutes, till it's light-colored and fluffy. Stop once, midway, to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Add the baking powder, baking soda, and salt, beating briefly to combine. Gently stir in the flour alternately with the yogurt. Add the vanilla and hazelnut at the end.

Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin cups, using a muffin scoop (a scant 1/4 cup) of batter for each. Dip your fingertip in water, and make a deep indentation in the center of each muffin cup of batter; twirl your finger around a bit, to widen the hole.

Scoop out about 7 tablespoons of the Chocolate Schmear, and set it aside. Drop the remainder, in 2-teaspoon-sized (3/8-ounce) balls, into the holes you've made in the cupcake batter. A teaspoon cookie scoop is the perfect tool for this job. Just drop the Schmear on top of the hole, and gently push it down a bit; it'll look like a partially submerged iceberg in the batter. Don't worry, it'll sink in as the cupcakes bake.

Bake the cupcakes for 22 minutes, until they spring back when you press lightly on their tops, and they're just barely starting to brown around the edges. Remove them from the oven, and take them out of the pan as soon as you're able, setting them on a rack to cool. While they're cooling, prepare the icing.

To make the icing: Combine the remaining Chocolate Schmear with the confectioners' sugar, cream, salt, and hazelnut flavor, beating until smooth. Frost the cooled cupcakes, and sprinkle with chocolate jimmies, if desired. Yield: 18 filled cupcakes.

©2006 The King Arthur Flour Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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