It was pretty late when I started the Sugar High Friday # 13 – The Dark Side project (dark chocolate), so one of my criteria was that I would not need to use my KitchenAid mixer. I found something interesting in Pastries from the La Brea Bakery, by the amazing Nancy Silverton. Called “Crotin de Chocolat”, these little chocolate muffins or cupcakes are leavened with yeast and eggs (note: the word crotin has a few meanings, and in this case I think it is a reference to French cheese that is pressed into a small disk). The dry ingredients are rich in cocoa and a good dose of chopped dark chocolate is mixed in at the end. I don’t recall ever making a cupcake with yeast as the leavening agent, so these were something new and unusual for me.
My first impressions: interesting; rich and dense, yet not too heavy; a little messy when warm (not necessarily a bad thing); the yeast adds a subtle complexity and nice finish.
Yeasted Chocolate Cupcakes
- 2 tsp active dry yeast or instant yeast
- 1 cup plus 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp lukewarm water
- 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp good quality cocoa powder
- 8 ounces unsalted butter melted and cooled to room temperature
- 4 extra-large eggs lightly beaten
- 1 cup coarsely chopped dark chocolate or more to taste
Prepare the yeasted base
- If using active dry yeast, mix the yeast and 1/2 tsp sugar in a small bowl and then pour in the water. Wait a few minutes. Then stir in 3/4 cup of the flour, cover the bowl, and set aside until the mixture becomes bubbly (about one-half hour).
- If using instant yeast, mix the yeast, 1/2 tsp sugar, and 3/4 flour in a small bowl. Pour in the water, stir to mix, cover the bowl, and set aside until the mixture becomes bubbly (about one-half hour).
Prepare your equipment
- Place an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Butter a muffin tin with 12 wells with 1/2 cup capacity each. Alternatively, line the 12 wells with paper cupcake liners. (It was not easy to remove the cupcakes from unlined wells without damaging them.)
Mix the batter
- In a large bowl, sift together the cocoa, 3/4 cup flour, and 1 cup sugar.
- When the yeasted mixture is ready, make a large well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour in the butter, eggs, and yeast mixture. With a whisk, mix the liquids together, then gradually mix in the dry ingredients. Whisk until fully mixed. Stir in the chopped chocolate.
- Pour or spoon the batter into the muffin tin.
- Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until the cakes are nearly firm to the touch (they might still look a little gooey in the middle, but will firm up out of the oven).
Adapted from Pastries from the La Brea Bakery by Nancy Silverton.
Silverton calls these “Crotin de Chocolat.” The word crotin has a few meanings, and in this case I think it is a reference to French cheese that is pressed into a small disk that looks a little like a muffin.