Chocolate Cupcakes with Mocha Buttercream and White Chocolate Skulls and Bones
These are spooky and super cute treats for Halloween! Dark chocolate colored cupcakes and frosting are set off by white sprinkles and shimmery white chocolate skulls and bones.
This by the way was actually my first foray into chocolate molding, which surprisingly (and pleasantly) was very easy.
I bought some little plastic molds and some white chocolate.
I melted the chocolate in the microwave, (be very careful not to over heat and please take note that white chocolate melts more quickly) stirring constantly until smooth.
I piped the chocolate into the molds and then refrigerated them for about 10 minutes.
All you have to do is pop them out, add a little warm chocolate to the center of the skull front and back and stick them together.
In the end I just smoothed the seam with a spatula and voila, a smooth white skull!
I also added a little iridescent luster dust (for sale at bake shops along with all of the chocolate mold supplies) with a soft brush. It gave the skulls a beautiful luster all right! I was thinking that it also would have been very cool in green, (the dust comes in ever color that you can think of as well as shimmery and matte).
The mocha cupcakes (which I adapted from a David Lebovitz devils food cake recipe) have a mild coffee flavor that really brings out the chocolate. I just mimicked the flavor of the cupcakes in the butter cream. The result is a moist, mocha flavored treat, enjoy!
Mocha Cupcakes, makes 16
(As adapted from David Lebovitz’s devils food cake recipe)
1 stick butter, softened
1 ½ cups sugar
½ cup cocoa powder
1 ½ cups AP flour
½ tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
½ cup strong coffee
½ cup milk
1 recipe Mocha Buttercream Frosting
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare muffin tins with liners.
(Cool Halloween Liners)
In the bowl of a standing mixer, cream together the butter and the sugar until fluffy.
Add the 2 eggs and beat to combine.
In a separate bowl, mix together all of the dry ingredients.
Add the coffee and the milk together.
Alternate adding the liquids and the dry ingredients to the butter-sugar-egg combination.
When everything is well combined you will have a smooth chocolaty batter.
Spoon the batter, dividing evenly into the muffin liners, (I use an ice cream scoop for this).
Bake the cupcakes for about 20-25 minutes, or until they are just baked through. Set the cupcakes aside and let them cool.
Apparently the batter is pretty good on it’s own. Please observe a chip off the old block:
While you are waiting for the cupcakes to cool, make the frosting.
Mocha Buttercream Frosting
10oz good quality dark chocolate
½ cup cream
2 Tbs espresso or really strong coffee
12 oz butter, softened
1lb powdered sugar
Bring the cream and the espresso to a simmer in a medium-small pot.
While you are waiting for the cream to simmer, finely chop the chocolate.
When the cream is very hot, remove it from the stove and add the chocolate. Let the chocolate and cream sit.
While it is melting, add the butter to the bowl of a standing mixer. Cream it on high until fluffy.
Add part of the powdered sugar and beat to combine.
Using a whisk or a spoon, stir the chocolate and ganache until thick and smooth. Let the ganache cool for as long as possible before you add it to the buttercream, (however not until it sets up or you will get a separated frosting- just until it is close to room temperature). I did not follow my own instructions! I added the still warm ganache to the rest of the frosting, and then tried to wait for that to set up a little further once it was frosting. Only I wasn’t really patient enough for that either! In between licking the bowl non-stop, I kind of slopped it on the cupcakes- and boy was it good! However, if you have more restraint than I do (who doesn’t?) I would let it set up before applying to cupcakes ☺ They will look nicer than mine!
(oh my! Sorry that this is the only picture of the frosting! I got carried away sampling it!)
So once the frosting was on the cupcakes (however wonky they looked!) I added little white sprinkles and the “spooky” chocolate skulls and sugary bones! My kids absolutely loved them, and all of the adults went crazy for the much darker, richer chocolate flavor.
Please observe how delicious the frosting is:
(by the way, even though you can’t see me, this is what my face looked like too)
(pure adoration ☺)