Light but chocolaty, these easy-to-make cupcakes are topped with a sensationally creamy dark chocolate frosting. If you make the frosting first, it will be thick and glossy by the time the cupcakes are baked and cool.
Place the chocolate and butter in a medium bowl and set aside. Bring the cream, sugar, and salt to a simmer in a large saucepan. Simmer for 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Whisk just until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth and glossy. Set aside to cool at room temperature, without stirring for 2 to 3 hours, or until the frosting is cool and thick enough to spread. Or, refrigerate the frosting for about 45 minutes or more (but not until it is hard) without stirring, then let it stand at room temperature until it is the desired consistency.
SCHARFFEN BERGER Chocolate Cupcakes:
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, mix the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt together thoroughly. Add the butter, eggs, and vanilla and beat on medium speed for one minute. Add half of the water and beat for 20 seconds. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the remaining water. Beat for 20-30 seconds until the batter is smooth. The batter will be thin enough to pour. Divide it evenly among the lined cups. Bake 18-22 minutes (rotating the pan from front to back half-way through the baking time), just until a toothpick inserted into a few of the cupcakes comes out clean. Set the pan on a rack to cool. Frost the cupcakes when they are completely cool. Store and serve at room temperature.
TIP: For light tender cupcakes, spoon flour and cocoa lightly into measuring cups (instead of dipping the cups into the flour or cocoa) and then sweep the measures level without tapping or shaking them.