Winter is approaching, with its dark and cold nights, with the wind blowing through the bare trees branches. Even Christmas is coming with long strides, along with the desire for rich and sumptuous food, food full of stories, tales, spices, and faraway travels, food loaded with fantasy, adventure and excitement.
For me, Dutch cocoa is all about this. It has its own romantic fairy tale elements, as the cocoa aroma takes me back in a blink of an eye to Vianne’s kitchen, to foretell your life into hot chocolate whirls. But Dutch cocoa has something more inside: the sense of adventure and exotic, the luscious food of the seventeenth century European courts, the fragrant treasure in the hold of the Dutch navigators.
These cupcakes were born with the shameless intention to celebrate Dutch cocoa, to intoxicate with the deep aroma from the very first bite, to win – with a hidden charm – even the most reluctant heart. Hence the wanderer cupcakes, with Dutch cocoa and Swiss meringue. The recipe takes inspiration for the chocolate cupcakes made by Sigrid – Regalini Golosi book – and the Swiss Meringue Buttercream frosting from Smitten Kitchen.
- sugar, 300 g
- butter, 100 g
- eggs, 2
- plain flour, 150 g
- unsweetened Dutch cocoa, 100 g
- baking powder, 5 g
- milk, 250 ml
- egg whites, 2
- sugar, 100 g
- butter, 175 g
- unsweetened Dutch cocoa, 5 heaping tablespoons
- Preheat oven to 180°C.
- Mix flour, cocoa and baking powder in a bowl. In another bowl, beat softened butter and sugar until soft and light. Add one egg at a time, and stir until it is incorporated.
- Stir into half of the flour and cocoa mixture and pour the milk. Fold in the rest of the dry mixture. Spoon the mixture into 16 cupcakes, filling each cup about two-thirds full.
- Bake in preheated oven for about 25 minutes, then let them cool completely on a wire rack.
- Whisk egg whites and sugar together in a big metal bowl over a pot of simmering water. Whisk until the albumens get white and glossy and you can’t feel the sugar granules when you rub the mixture between your fingers.
- Wipe the condensation off the bottom of the bowl and transfer mixture into the mixer and whip until it turns firm, cold and about doubled in size.
- Finally, add the butter a piece at a time and whip until throughly incorporated and firm. Do not panic! It will require time, but eventually it works! Fold in sieved cocoa powder.
- Spoon the Swiss meringue buttercream frosting into a pastry bag and decorate cupcakes as desired. Let rest in refrigerator for at least an hour. Before serving, dust with Dutch cocoa.
Tasting test. The Dutch cocoa is the main and proud character of these cupcakes. It is enhanced by the creaminess of butter and by the soft tiny cakes. At the very end, all that remains is an intense and rich feeling, slightly bitter, of which you can never get tired nor bored. Serve them as a lavish afternoon treat with a black jasmine tea.