The other day, Charlie asked me to help her make cupcakes for a friend's birthday. I was pleased, not just that Charlie wanted to bake and spend a little time with me, but that she knows baking is about sharing. It's one thing to have your child ask you to pick up some cupcakes at the supermarket on the way to school, but kids at Charlie's school typically take public transit, so toting a box of treats along with a heavy knapsack, well, that's a true friend.
Truthfully, she could handle the cupcakes on her own, she just needed some help with the frosting. We thought about making a ganache, but we were fresh out of cream. So I experimented with this frosting I'd been playing around with, one I could whip up quickly, using strictly pantry ingredients.
We were both very pleased with the results. Not fluffy, not achingly sweet, but not a pan frosting either, this one was just right. The chips deliver a surprisingly strong chocolate flavor, and the texture is ultra silky, like a french buttercream.
Silky Chocolate Frosting
inspired by an Ina Garten recipe
- 1½ cups chocolate chips
- ½ teaspoon instant espresso -- (optional)
- 2 sticks unsalted butter -- (8 ounces) at room temperature
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- a pinch of salt (omit if using salted butter)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
This was enough frosting for 2 dozen cupcakes, might need to increase for layer cakes.
Begin by melting the chocolate chips, you can either use the microwave or the double boiler. I like to use a 2-cup glass measuring cup in the microwave at 70% power, stirring every 30 seconds. Otherwise, use a double boiler or saucepan with 1 inch of simmering water in the bottom, stirring often. In either case, it's important to stop the heat well before the chocolate is fully melted. Add the espresso powder, if using, and stir very well until the chocolate is completely melted and the espresso is fully incorporated. Set aside, and let cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, beat the butter with the sugar and salt until light and fluffy. Add the melted chocolate, then the vanilla, and continue beating until a frosting texture is achieved.