These tender cupcakes scented with vanilla are topped with a rich truffle filling, so chocolate lovers can have their cake and chocolate, too. Like our other cupcakes, these are best when served the same day they are made.—Michael Recchiuti and Fran Gage
For the cupcakes
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup crème fraîche, at room temperature
2 extra large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, preferably Madagascar Bourbon
6 tablespoons unsalted butter with 82% butterfat, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated cane sugar
For the topping
8 ounces 65% chocolate, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons powdered cane sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter with 82% butterfat, very soft (75°F or 24°C)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract, preferably Madagascar Bourbon
Make the cupcakes
1. Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C). Line 12 standard muffin cups (2 1/2 inches top diameter and 1 1/4 inches deep) with paper liners.
2. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together into a medium bowl.
3. Combine the crème fraîche, eggs, and vanilla extract in a medium bowl and whisk by hand until well mixed.
4. Put the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until the butter is creamy. Add the granulated sugar and beat until fluffy and pale.
5. Switch the mixer to low speed. Add the dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with the wet ingredients in 2 additions.
6. Using a tablespoon, divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups, filling them about two-thirds full.
7. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven until the cupcakes are puffed, lightly browned, slightly cracked on top, and a skewer inserted into the center of one comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan on a rack.
8. When cool, remove the cupcakes, still in their paper liners, from the muffin cups.
Make the topping
1. Put the chocolate in a medium bowl.
2. Put the cream and powdered sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook at a simmer for 1 minute and remove from the heat.
3. Pour the hot cream mixture over the chocolate. Whisk the mixture by hand until the chocolate melts. Whisk in the butter, and then the vanilla extract.
4. Pour into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap so that the wrap is touching the surface, and refrigerate until it is 70°F (21°C). This will probably take 30 to 40 minutes, but check after 20 minutes.
5. When the cream is at the correct temperature, put it into the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment. Beat on high speed until the mixture is lighter in color and less dense.
6. Put the topping into a pastry bag fitted with a 3/8-inch star tip. Pipe a swirl on the top center of each cupcake, distributing the topping evenly among them.
7. Store in a cool place until serving.
Recipe © 2005 Michael Recchiuti and Fran Gage. All rights reserved.