Chocolate Cupcakes with Rosemary Buttercream / by Chelsea Zwieg

Happy Monday, everybody! I'm back from Chicago and had the best time full of friendship, good food, christmas lights and wondering how many jobs I would need to eat all of my meals at Eataly. It also started snowing just as we were leaving and by the time we got back to Milwaukee it was full on winter wonderland and I COULD NOT BE HAPPIER! And how appropriate that I had planned to post these cupcakes today, in all of their snowy white and green glory. 

As much as I love these cupcakes, I cannot take full credit for the idea. My mom texted me a few weeks back and, unlike most of the texts she sends in the early morning (a bunch of emojis or pictures of the dog, aka the best part of any morning), this one was baking related. "you should make rosemary infused buttercream for the blog". YES. Yes I should. How had I not thought of that before?? Rosemary is one of my favorite flavors to use around this time of year. It has a look and smell that is very similar to pine and it just seems to fit the season so well. Although I've never taken it upon myself to munch on some pine needles, I'm going to go out on a limb and say it has pine beat in the taste department though. It also goes amazingly well with chocolate. To get as much rosemary flavor as possible into the frosting, I steeped rosemary in melted butter for 3 hours then let it solidify and carried on like I would for any other buttercream. It takes a little bit more planning than a typical cupcake, but the payoff is beyond worth it. It would also make a great cake for a christmas party if you want to turn it into a layer cake.  

Chocolate Cupcakes with Rosemary Buttercream

Note: This frosting requires a little bit of advanced planning because the butter infuses for a few hours to get as much rosemary flavor as possible. Believe me, it is 100%  x 1,000 worth it. 

Cupcakes adapted from Magnolia Bakery 

Makes 24-28 cupcakes

| Ingredients

Cupcakes: 

  • 1 3/4 cup flour 
  • 2 cups sugar 
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla 
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 3/4 cup hot coffee

Rosemary Buttercream: 

  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary 
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tbsp. cream or milk
  • pinch of salt
  • sanding sugar, optional 
  • extra rosemary, for garnish 

| Instructions

  • Melt 1 cup butter in a saucepan, add the rosemary and cook for 30 more seconds on low heat. Transfer the melted butter and the rosemary to a bowl and let steep at room temperature for at least 3 hours. Strain out the rosemary and transfer to the infused butter to the fridge to resolidify. 
  • Preheat oven to 350. Line cupcake pans with 24 paper liners and set aside. 
  • Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Combine the eggs, vanilla, buttermilk and canola oil in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat until well combined. Sift in the dry ingredients (it's always worth taking the time to sift when you're making chocolate cake. Cocoa powder makes for some nasty lumps) and mix on low speed until just combined. Scrape the bowl well. Add the hot coffee and mix on low to combine. 
  • Pour the cupcake batter in the prepared pans, filling each cup 3/4 full. These sink in the middle if they are overfilled, so be a little light handed. Bake 20-23 minutes, until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to finish cooling. 
  • Once the infused butter has solidified to a room temperature consistency, it's time to make the buttercream. Beat the rosemary butter with 1 additional stick of room temperature butter until smooth and light, about 3 minutes. Scrape the bowl and beat in the powdered sugar until combined. Add the vanilla, cream and salt and beat for 3-4 minutes, until buttercream is light and fluffy. 
  • Frost the cupcakes and sprinkle with sanding sugar, if desired. I completely covered mine in sugar because it look like snow and makes me so happy. Top each cupcake with a small sprig of rosemary.