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Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Tahini Buttercream

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Tahini Buttercream // FoodNouveau.com

I discovered Molly Yeh through the 2015 Saveur Blog Awards, where she won both the Best Baking and Desserts and the Blog of the Year awards. I was instantly drawn to her soft, somewhat moody photography and quickly discovered as I started binging her past posts that her images contrasted with her quirky personality. She refused to capitalize words, sprinkled exclamation points everywhere, was a champion at self-deprecating, and made more jokes per sentence than I ever thought possible. She infused her dishes with her rich Jewish-Asian heritage and created recipes that felt both on trend yet delicious and actually doable. I was captivated—so much so that I started tweeting to and about her using the hashtag #girlcrush, something I had never done before and have not done since (hey, it was a bit embarrassing).

Cupcake fatigue? This recipe is your remedy. The tahini buttercream is slightly nutty and perfectly fluffy: a perfect match to the dark chocolate cupcakes! // Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Tahini Buttercream // FoodNouveau.com

Molly Yeh is a Julliard graduate who moved to a farm in North Dakota with her fifth-generation farmer husband. On her blog, My Name is Yeh, you’ll sometimes read about her farm life (and her cute chickens!) and often about her spectacular desserts. Her savory dishes aren’t too shabby either: her quick shakshuka and unbelievably creamy hummus are just two of my go-to recipes from her blog.

I was eager to hold her book in my hands and read it cover-to-cover the day it arrived. Molly on the Range is a beautiful cookbook, but also a really fun read. Maybe I shouldn’t admit this, but I usually jump in and out of cookbooks, very rarely read the front-of-book sections, and usually skim through headnotes. In Molly’s book, headnotes can spread over pages, but you want to read them all. In fact, remove the recipes and it feels like you’re holding her memoir in your hands. The book is filled with cute pictures of her, her husband, and her farm—and, incredibly, none of it feels forced. There are also beautifully illustrated “infographics” that teach you to make spice blends, sandwiches, and mac ‘n’ cheese. And, of course, pages and pages of mouthwatering recipes I can’t wait to try.

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Tahini Buttercream, inspired by the book Molly on the Range // FoodNouveau.com

Molly on the Range Cookbook, by Molly Yeh // FoodNouveau.com

Molly on the Range Cookbook, by Molly Yeh // FoodNouveau.com

Some of my favorite dishes from Molly on the Range so far:

  • Sesame Coffee Cake, flavored with a spice blend called hawaij, which I had never heard of before but want to sprinkle everywhere now;
  • Hummus, forever and always;
  • Shakshuka Couscous, a hyper-comforting, super-filling brunch dish—I expect it to become our go-to winter meal!

Some of the recipes I can’t wait to try:

  • Spätzle with Brussels Sprouts and Bacon, because I’ve forever been wanting to make spätzle (and also, you know, bacon);
  • Cauliflower Shawarma Tacos, which look like flavor bombs;
  • “Seeduction” Challah, because I’ve never had challah and this recipe seems to be the perfect place to start.

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Tahini Buttercream, inspired by the book Molly on the Range // FoodNouveau.com

But first and foremost, Molly’s book has gotten me obsessed with using tahini in desserts. I love sesame in sweet dishes, but for some reason, I had never thought of using tahini in cakes and cookies. Strange, considering that nut butters are among my favorite ingredients—I guess I just needed to be shown the way.

I’m head over heels in love with these cupcakes. How had I not yet realized that chocolate and tahini were such a perfect match? I often find buttercream insipid, and I admit I usually have a hard time indulging without some form of guilt. To me, frosting must be flavorful, otherwise I just feel like I’m eating butter by the spoonful, and that’s not a feeling I like. This tahini buttercream is legit: it’s slightly nutty, intriguing, and perfectly fluffy. I’d call it a sweet hummus if I weren’t afraid of putting you off. But I’ve seen chocolate hummus before, so why not? Toasty tahini buttercream + deep, dark chocolaty cupcakes = totally irresistible.

Cupcake fatigue? This recipe is your remedy. The tahini buttercream is slightly nutty and perfectly fluffy: a perfect match to the dark chocolate cupcakes! // Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Tahini Buttercream // FoodNouveau.com

If you’ve been feeling cupcake fatigue for the past few years, this is your remedy. If you can’t get over your cupcake fatigue, simply bake the batter in a single round pan and call it a cake—or better yet, split the cake in two, and spread the tahini buttercream inside and out and all around. Fancy! Whatever you do, just promise you’ll lick that bowl of tahini buttercream clean.

Cupcake fatigue? This recipe is your remedy. The tahini buttercream is slightly nutty and perfectly fluffy: a perfect match to the dark chocolate cupcakes! // Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Tahini Buttercream // FoodNouveau.com

Makes 12 cupcakes.

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Tahini Buttercream

Cupcake fatigue? This recipe is your remedy. The tahini buttercream is slightly nutty and perfectly fluffy: a perfect match to the dark chocolate cupcakes!

25 minPrep Time

20 minCook Time

45 minTotal Time

Save Recipe

INGREDIENTS

For the cupcakes
¼ cup (60 ml) dark cocoa powder
1 tsp (5 ml) baking powder
½ tsp (2 ml) baking soda
½ tsp (1 ml) kosher salt
¼ cup (60 ml) canola oil, or other tasteless vegetable oil
¾ cup (180 ml) cane sugar
1 egg
1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla extract
½ cup (125 ml) buttermilk
½ cup (125 ml) prepared strong coffee, cooled
For the tahini buttercream
1 cup (250 ml) unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup (125 ml) tahini
2 cups (500 ml) powdered sugar
1½ tsp (7 ml) vanilla extract
¼ tsp (1 ml) freshly grated nutmeg
To assemble
Toasted sesame seeds (optional)

METHOD

For the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 170°C (350°F). Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a measuring cup, combine the buttermilk and coffee. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large mixing bowl, if using a hand mixer), combine the oil, sugar, and egg, and beat until the mixture is pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in the vanilla extract. At low speed, incorporate the dry ingredient and buttermilk-coffee mixture, alternating between the two. Mix until just incorporated (do not overbeat).

Spoon some batter into each cavity of the prepared muffin pan until they are two-thirds full. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool completely on a wire rack.

For the tahini buttercream: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large mixing bowl, if using a hand mixer), beat the butter and tahini until smooth. Gradually add the powdered sugar and mix to combine. Mix in the vanilla extract, nutmeg, and salt, and beat until the frosting is fluffy.

To assemble the cake: Transfer the tahini buttercream to a piping bag fitted with the tip of your choice and generously frost the cupcakes. Alternatively, simply use an offset spatula to frost the cupcakes, freehand-style. To create the modern look pictured above, fetch for a cookie cutter that is exactly the size of the top of the cupcakes. Place it over a cupcake, then fill it with tahini buttercream. Slowly lift the cookie cutter and use an offset spatula to smooth the sides. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds at will. Serve immediately, or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Make sure to return the cupcakes to room temperature at least 30 minutes before serving to soften the tahini buttercream.

Recipe Credits:

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes by Marie Asselin;

Tahini Buttercream adapted from Molly Yeh.

http://foodnouveau.com/recipes/desserts/cakes-pies/dark-chocolate-cupcakes-tahini-buttercream/

Win a Copy of Molly on the Range: Recipes and Stories from An Unlikely Life on a Farm

The giveaway is over! Thanks to everyone who entered.

How to enter the giveaway

  • Mandatory: Post a comment to this post answering the question: What dessert does tahini inspire you to make?
  • Optional: Take advantage of all the social media options in the Rafflecopter widget below to get more chances to win. When entering through social media, make sure I can recognize your name/address so I can reach you if you win. 

The fine print

  • You must provide a US or Canadian address to to win.
  • Each winner needs to answer a simple skill question to get the prizes.
  • The giveaway ends Friday, October 28, 2016, at midnight EST.

Good luck to everyone!

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67 Responses to Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Tahini Buttercream

  1. These cupcakes look, as Molly would say, “AMAZE!” I recently tried tahini stuffed dates and think a dessert-ier version could be dark chocolate covered tahini date “truffles” studded with chunks of halva inside (so the inside would be a similar texture to a crunchier Lara Bar) and then rolled in shredded coconut.

    So glad I found your blog via Instagram!

  2. You are truly the best book reviewer and I totally trust your recommendations! I’m not very original but I’d love to try my hand at these cupcakes – I’m so intrigued by the texture and think the idea is brilliant! Admire Molly’s work so this is definitely one I’m keen to add to the collection!

    • Thanks Lindsey!! I just love sharing my favorites–it totally justifies all the money I spend on books, right? The tahini icing is so rich and fluffy, I can still taste it. It’s very high up my list of favorite frostings, ever!

  3. Tahini is such a sneakily awesome dessert ingredient! I love adding it to cookies for an extra layer of flavor. I just came across Molly Yeh’s Monster Cookies recipe with tahini and coconut flakes and definitely will be adding those to my list to try!

    • I made Molly’s monster cookies and they’re amazing! Definitely make sure to try them. I agree that tahini adds an interesting layer of flavor, I can’t stop experimenting with it!

  4. I love sesame and dates together, so I’d be inspired to make some tahini-date-chai spiced date bars. So flavorful and a little healthy too!

  5. I should probably answer your question though, shouldn’t I? Hahaha! Don’t mind me and my clumsiness!
    I want to make a tahini cake with dates. Maybe Molly’s already done it, but I have always wanted to make a tahini cake. Maybe even a loaf cake of some kind…

  6. That seeded challah looks fantastic, but what I really want right now is a cupcake. I love her use of tahini in her sweet and savoury recipes. I find that very interesting and inspiring ;)
    Such a beautiful book!

  7. You know, I’ve actually never had tahini before! (Or maybe I have, but didn’t realize it.) After doing a bit of sleuthing online, I saw a recipe for Tahini Ice Cream with Honey Caramel (!!) and I’m kind of in love.

    Also, I just wanted to say that your cupcakes, like everyone on your blog, look stunning, Marie! I’m a huge fan of Molly too, and it’s great you could showcase her work and yours like this.

    • If you’ve had hummus, chances are you’ve had tahini! It’s a key ingredient in most hummus recipes. That said, lately, I’ve been finding tahini even more interesting in desserts. The recipe you found sounds amazing! I’ll go and look it up too. Thanks for your kind comment and good luck with the giveaway! <3

  8. I’m ready to repost an ice cream recipe and I’m thinking of my next ice cream using tahini. I’ve never thought of it as a dessert ingredient but I love expanding my repertoire. My goodness there is a wide world out there for the use of tahini. And as far as cookbooks go I treat them as friends. I read and reread them from cover to cover. What a fantastic opportunity to win. Thank you and I thank Molly for the inspiration!

  9. These look beautiful! I always love Molly’s recipes, and I am sure these will be no exception. And even though my go-to has always been halvah, I am excited to start using tahini in new ways in dessert!

  10. Definitely tahini ice cream! I’ve tried black sesame ice cream and peanut ice cream and can only imagine how lovely tahini ice cream would be!

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