Why use buttermilk in cakes & cupcakes? Chocolate Buttermilk Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Posted on Oct 9, 2013 in Baking Tips, Chocolate Desserts, Cupcakes & Cakes | 6 comments

Why use buttermilk in cakes & cupcakes? Chocolate Buttermilk Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Buttermilk, the unsung hero of cakes & cupcakes.  Most cupcakes don’t call for buttermilk but in my opinion buttermilk can take a good recipe to a great recipe! Buttermilk’s tangy flavor adds depth and complexity to finished baked goods while adding very little fat. It also helps tenderize the gluten in the batter, giving baked goods a softer texture and more body for fluffy melt in your mouth cupcakes, exactly how I like them but also keeping enough weight to hold up a good addition of necessary frosting. (The only reason to eat a cupcake in my husband’s opinion.)

Even though the name might suggest it, buttermilk does not contain butter.  It is the liquid left behind after churning the butter out of cream.  Hence the milk of butter….or buttermilk. It has a tart and tangy taste due to the acid in the milk.  It is also the acid in the buttermilk that reacts with baking soda to create bubbles of carbon dioxide.  Not to get too science-y on you guys, but it’s these bubbles or air that is created in the batter that gives your cupcake volume so this is good.  And the acid also interferes with gluten formation which is what keeps your cupcake tender and light.Buttermilk Chocolate Cupcakes

A good rule of thumb to remember is that 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda will neutralize 1 cup of buttermilk.  Therefore, when substituting buttermilk in recipes, reduce the amount of baking powder by 2 teaspoons and increase the amount of baking soda by 1/2 teaspoon to neutralize the acids for every 1 cup of buttermilk.

If that didn’t convince you that buttermilk is delicious in cupcakes, then you must try this recipe! If you are dying to try it but don’t feel like running out to the store for buttermilk, you can also try this substitution.  Combine 2/3 cup plain non-fat or low-fat yogurt with 1/2 cup 1% milk for 1 cup buttermilk.

Chocolate Buttermilk Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients

Cupcake

  • 1/2 cup Unsalted Butter Softened (1 stick)
  • 1 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup Cocoa Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 cup Buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup Water

Frosting

  • 1/4 cup Unsalted Butter Softened
  • 8oz Cream Cheese Softened
  • 2oz Dark Chocolate Melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 cups Confectioner's Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1/4 cup Cream or Half & Half

Directions

Step 1
Preheat oven to 375°. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add room temperature eggs (cracked open in a separate bowl), one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla.
Step 2
In a separate bowl, combine sifted flour, sifted cocoa, baking soda and salt.
Step 3
In a separate bowl, combine buttermilk and water. Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk and water, beating well after each addition.
Step 4
Fill paper-lined muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
Step 5
For frosting, in a small bowl, beat butter & cream cheese until smooth. Add in sifted confectioners' sugar until smooth, melted chocolate, cream, vanilla and salt until smooth.
Step 6
Allow cupcakes to cool completely before frosting. Frost and top with sprinkles, chocolate chips or any other garnish of your choice. And enjoy!

6 Comments

  1. How many cupcakes does this recipe yield?

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  5. Hello. I wish you would give gram weight and c tempreture.

  6. This recipe is essentially red velvet cake/devil’s food cake batter, right? Or is that different? If so, in what respect? Just curious. Thanks. =)

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Grandma's Probiotic, or How to Make your own Buttermilk - […] good rule of thumb to remember is that 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda will neutralize 1 cup of buttermilk.…
  2. Grandma’s Probiotic, or How to Make your own Buttermilk – Milk + Honey - […] good rule of thumb to remember is that 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda will neutralize 1 cup of buttermilk.…

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