Cleaner, smoother and quicker! After getting a suggestion from Kate, who commented in my other post to replace flour for cornstarch, I decided to give it a try. As soon as I had the excuse to bake cupcakes, I immediately knew that this would be the frosting to make along with Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Chocolate Cake. I've been dying to make these two things for the longest time and finally use my 1M tip!! I don't know what it is about the swirl, but everytime I see it on a cupcake, it just makes me smile.
Flour frosting V2 definitely tastes better. I think it partly has to do with cornstarch itself and partly because the milk/sugar/starch mixture is heated for less time so the milk flavour is less concentrated. Thickening with cornstarch is a bit different than flour though and you can't just dump it in and stir like crazy.
Here are some tips I found on google for thickening with cornstarch
* Make a slurry - dissolve 1 tbsp of cornstarch in 2 tbsp of cold liquid (water or in this case, milk) to prevent lumps
* Add slurry to the heated mixture you want to thicken
* Do not stir too vigorously or the starch granules will break and lose its thickening power
* Don't let the starch mixture come to a rolling boil or cook too long
* Don't lick the spoon you are stirring with or the enzymes in your saliva might break down the starch
* Acidic foods might weaken the thickening
* Too much sugar might weaken the thickening
As for the cake, my favourite chocolate cake recipe is still the old fashioned chocolate cake from Cook's Illustrated. There are a few more steps and messy bowls, but there's something about butter and possibly the method they use that I think really makes the difference in texture. Hershey's is good in that it's insanely moist and generally a crowd favourite because of that. It will probably be my go-to for a quick and easy chocolate cake when I'm short on time. I'll probably add some melted chocolate next time for greater depth in flavour because this cake was just a tiny bit flat for me. I think it has more to do with the cocoa I used because it wasn't the best quality, but it was the only natural cocoa I could find.
Flour Frosting V2
1 cup milk, divided into 3/4 cup and 1/4 cup
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup butter, cut into tablespoon sized chunks at room temperature, but not too soft
Heat 3/4 cup milk, 1 cup sugar and a pinch of salt in a pot over medium heat until sugar is dissolved but do not let it come to a boil.
Make a slurry with the starch and remaining 1/4 cup milk. Stir to get rid of lumps
Pour starch slurry into milk and sugar mixture and continue heating over medium heat. Stir , but not vigorously or else the starch mixture might liquify. After 1 minute, tiny bubbles will appear on the side and mixture should thicken. Continue heating for 1-2 minutes to get cook out the flour taste. Mixture should be thickened by now. Don't let mixture come to a rolling boil or else the starch granules might break.
Pour thickened mixture into a bowl of standing mixer and cool until room temperature by leaving it out on the counter or in the fridge for 1 hour. Don't let it get cold or else it will take forever for the butter to incorporate with the mixture.
Cut butter into tablespoon chunks. On medium low speed, add the butter by the tablespoon until it is all incorporated. Increase the speed to medium or medium high and beat until it comes together (approx 5 minutes). During these 5 minutes, the frosting is going to transform from a curdled mess into a fluffy and soft frosting. If it takes a longer time to come together, just be patient and continue whipping until it gets fluffy.
Add vanilla and continue mixing at low speed for 1 minute.
Use immediately. If using later, you will have to rewhip the frosting.
Hershey's Perfect Chocolate Chocolate Cake
2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa (natural)
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
(I added 1 tsp of instant coffee)
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.
2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.
3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost with "PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE" CHOCOLATE FROSTING. 10 to 12 servings.
ONE-PAN CAKE: Grease and flour 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Heat oven to 350° F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely. Frost.
THREE LAYER CAKE: Grease and flour three 8-inch round baking pans. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost.
BUNDT CAKE: Grease and flour 12-cup Bundt pan. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 50 to 55 minutes. Cool 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely. Frost.
CUPCAKES: Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups. Heat oven to 350°F. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. Frost. About 30 cupcakes.