I’m really tired today. For some reason, last night, I kept having weird, yet realistic, dreams, that I would wake up from thinking I was still in the dream until I opened my eyes and realized where I actually was. I don’t remember any of these dreams, except for one in which two of my boys were auditioning to be on Operation Ouch!!
After dropping my children off to school (yes, even the little one – he’s in preschool now!), I shuffled around the grocery store hunting for food with a takeaway coffee in one hand and pushing the trolley (translation – shopping cart) with the other.
Here it is, noon now (I swear the time goes by faster when I’m home alone during the day!), and I’ve finally sat down to do some blog work! In the background (but loud enough to drown out the sounds of the dishwasher and laundry machine) is my playlist full of my favorite Nirvana and Hole songs. So, as Hairspray Queen flows out of the speakers, let me tell you all about these all-kinds-of-amazing cupcakes!
Aren’t they absolutely gorgeous! Despite looking quite impressive, these cupcakes are a breeze to throw together. They start with a chocolate wacky cake base (which means a cake that doesn’t use any eggs or dairy) which literally takes less than 30 minutes from start to finish to make. While the cupcakes are baking and cooling, you can prepare the matcha cream cheese frosting, which can be done with a handheld electric mixer in a few minutes.
If you want to pipe the frosting on all fancy, slide the frosting into a piping bag with a Wilton 2D tip and pipe away. Finish it off with a light dusting of sifted matcha powder for an extra matcha flavor boost. Yum!!
Oh, but what about that weird chocolate thing on top?? Haha! Those are really easy, and of course, totally optional. If you’d like to add the extra flair, draw a simple decoration on a piece of white paper. Then draw it again and again and again, for as many decorations as you’d like, on the same piece of paper. Tape it to your workspace to hold it in place. Tear off a piece of transparent baking paper to match your piece of paper and tape it over the paper so you can see all your drawings underneath. Melt some chocolate. Temper it, if you want. You don’t have to, but if it’s a warm, humid day, your chocolate decorations will become melty and droopy. Transfer the chocolate to a piping bag fitted with a small round tip, then carefully trace over your drawings with the chocolate. Leave the chocolate to set, or carefully remove the tape and very gently lie the baking paper on a baking tray (or anything that’s flat) and place in the refrigerator or freezer for a few minutes until set.
I’m kind of laughing now because that ended up being quite a long description for such a simple process!! Trust me, it’s actually really easy – I’m just too wordy!
Anyway, I really love matcha and chocolate together and these chocolate cupcakes with matcha cream cheese frosting really hit the spot. The cake is soft and chocolatey, the frosting is creamy and full of that beautiful sweet matcha flavor, with the tang of cream cheese. Absolutely perfect and soooo dreamy (speaking of dreams!)!
As I draw this post to a close, and my playlist switches to Pennyroyal Tea (the unplugged version), I’d like to remind everyone that if you make this recipe, don’t forget to snap a photo and tag #sweetestkitchenblog – I would love to see your creations!
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I’m going to have more coffee to try to stay awake for school pickup! 😉
- For the cupcakes:
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup white sugar*
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ cup dark cocoa powder
- 6 tablespoons grapeseed oil, or other flavorless oil
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup cold water
- For the frosting:
- 250g cream cheese, softened
- 57g unsalted butter, softened
- 100g powdered sugar
- 6g good-quality culinary-grade matcha
- 1⁄4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- For the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 12-hole cupcake pan with paper liners (this recipe makes 11 cupcakes, so you can leave a hole empty!). Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, sift in flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and cocoa powder. Whisk to combine.
- Using a spoon, make 3 wells in the dry ingredients, one large well and two smaller wells. Pour the grapeseed oil into the largest well, the vinegar into one of the smaller wells, and the vanilla extract into the last well. Pour the cold water over everything and whisk the ingredients together until the mixture is smooth. The batter will be quite runny.
- Fill cupcake liners ¾ full with batter. Bake for 15-20 minutes. They are done when the tops spring back when lightly pressed in the center (or you can do the toothpick test).
- Remove from the oven and cool in cupcake pan for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- For the frosting: Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and beat together with an electric mixer, beginning on low speed, increasing to medium speed, until smooth, light and fluffy, 2–3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally. You can also use a stand mixer, if preferred.
- Spread frosting on cooled cupcakes, or transfer frosting to a piping bag fitted with a Wilton 2D tip and pipe the frosting on the cupcakes in circles. You should have just enough for 11 cupcakes, if you don't pile the frosting on too high!
- Dust frosting lightly with sifted matcha powder, if you like, for extra matcha flavor.
- Refer to instructions in my blog post above for how to make the chocolate decorations.
Use a high-quality Dutch-processed cocoa powder in the chocolate cupcake recipe for a more intense chocolaty flavor; I use Van Houten.
Note that this cupcake recipe produces a cupcake with a high dome. If you prefer, feel free to cut the dome off, with a sharp, serrated knife (using a sawing motion) once the cupcakes are completely cooled.