Because everything I make must be dairy free - I needed to review a lot of different recipes and create one that would create a delicious dairy free cupcake. I also wanted to experiment by modifying meringue-based buttercream recipe that I found on Epicurious that combined the double-boiler method of a swiss meringue frosting, but with whole eggs and the addition of butter - like an Italian meringue buttercream. However, I needed to make it both dairy free and chocolate.
Here's what I did...
- 1/2 cup (42g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3/4 cup (95g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (100g) packed light brown sugar
- 1/3 cup (80ml) vegetable or canola oil (melted coconut oil works too)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (120ml) buttermilk, room temperature. I use homemade coconut kefir instead of buttermilk. The thicker consistency of the liquid resulted in the perfect structure to these cupcakes.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Line a second pan with 2 liners - this recipe makes about 14 cupcakes. Set aside.
- Whisk the cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar, oil, and vanilla together until completely smooth.
- Pour half of the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Then half of the buttermilk. Gently whisk - about 5 stirs. Repeat with the remaining wet ingredients and buttermilk. Stir until *just* combined; do not overmix. The batter will be a little thin.
- Pour/spoon the batter into the liners - fill only halfway to avoid spilling over the sides. – I use approx. 3 tablespoons of batter per cupcake.
- Bake in batches for 18-21 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
- 6 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2/3 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups (6 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature and very soft (I use earth balance buttery baking sticks)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted twice *Optional
- Bring 1 cup water to just below a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat.
- Using a handheld whisk or electric beaters, combine eggs, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Place bowl on top of saucepan (it should not touch water) and cook egg mixture, whisking constantly, until lightened in color, thickened slightly, and an instant-read thermometer registers 160°F.
- Remove from heat and beat with stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on medium speed until completely cooled and tripled in volume, about 10 minutes (It’s important to time this – you may even need to leave it longer if the bowl still feels hot)
- Add butter, 1–2 Tbsp. at a time, beating well after each addition until fully incorporated. Add vanilla and cocoa powder and beat on medium-low speed until combined.
- At this point, taste your buttercream. If it’s not sweet enough, add some of the powdered sugar – a little at a time, until you reach your desired sweetness.
- If you feel like it’s not chocolate enough (this will depend upon the quality of your cocoa), you can adjust here too.