Appetite For Instruction: Chocolate Velvet Cupcakes

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Recipe Demonstrated by Tressa LeBouef of Citizen Sweet

I have one. You have one. We all have one.

Oh, the power of the sweet tooth and the way it takes over one's soul. You may be sitting on the couch at night and something comes on the television and puts you in the mood. You realize right then and there that you must give in to this craving or it will never go away. 

Tressa LeBouef, owner of Citizen Sweet, must know that a person can never say no to sweets, even the coldest of hearts who brag about their spicy taste buds. She has been operating the delivery-only bakery for two and half years now, but just started branching out more in the past six months.

With 15-20 rotating employees, Citizen Sweet works around the clock all year supplying loyal customers with cupcakes, cookies and muffins. They will soon be adding mini-bundt cakes, sticky buns and cookie-wiches, among other items, to their menu. The thing that stands out most about this bakery is that everything that comes out of their kitchen is all-natural with no chemicals or preservatives and made fresh everyday.

For this week's Appetite for Instruction Tressa decided to demonstrate signature chocolate velvet cupcakes for us, and we definitely weren't going to wave her away.

Cupcake Ingredients (Makes 12 cupcakes)

3 cups unbleached flower or 2 ½ cups spelt flour (Citizen Sweet suggests using Bob's Red Mill)
2 cups of organic sugar, beet sugar or cane sugar
2 ounces of bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup organic unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons of baking soda
¼ teaspoon of sea salt
1 cup cultured buttermilk (organic plain yogurt or organic regular sour cream works too!)
2 organic, cage-free eggs
2 tablespoons of organic butter, melted ( ¾ cup of vegetable oil works as well)
1 teaspoon of vanilla abstract

Frosting Ingredients (Makes approximately 2 cups frosting)

1 package (8 ounces) organic softened cream cheese
4 tablespoons melted organic butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups fair trade organic powdered sugar

Step 1: After adjusting oven rack to lower -middle position, preheat oven to 350 degrees, use paper or foil liners to line standard-size (2.5 inch round) muffin pan (1/2 cup capacity). Then combine butter, chocolate and cocoa in a medium heatproof bowl. Set bowl over saucepan containing barely simmering water; heat mixture until butter and chocolate are melted and whisk until smooth and fully combined. Set aside to cool until just warm to touch.

Step 2: Whisk flour, baking soda and baking powder in a small bowl to combine.

Step 3: Whisk eggs in second medium bowl to combine; add sugar, vanilla and salt, then whisk until fully blended. Add cooled chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Finally, sift in remaining flour mixture and whisk batter until it is homogeneous and thick.

Step 4: Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Bake until skewer or toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean, usually between 17-21 minutes.

Step 5: Cool cupcakes in muffin pan on wire rack until cool enough to handle, between 20-30 minutes. Carefully lift each cupcake from pan, cool to room temperature before frosting, about 30 minutes.

Frosting: In a medium mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to blend the cream cheese, butter and vanilla. Slowly add in the powdered sugar and mix until creamy. The frosting can be used immediately or cover and refrigerate until use.

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