These are my personal favorite cupcakes. The bottoms of these are French Macaroon-inspired brownies, they have a crisp outside, and an airy, then delightfully chewy brownie inside. I decided on the name "Cloud Nine Cupcakes" because of the light and airy brownie bottom, and the fluffy white marshmallow topping, but really it's just because I could die and go to heaven every time brownies and marshmallows find their way to each other, and this is just a fun pairing of the two.
Cayenne Pepper adds just a tiny bit of spice to the brownie bottoms, which really enhances the flavor of the chocolate.
For the Brownie Cake:
5 ounces of bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Preheat your oven to 350˚ F.
Line a mini-muffin pan with mini-muffin liners, and set aside.
Melt the chopped bittersweet chocolate in a heat proof bowl over simmering water, pour the melted butter over the chocolate and mix together. Once fully combined set aside and let cool for a few minutes.
Whisk flour, salt, and cayenne pepper together in a separate bowl, set aside.
Next, hand-whisk the sugar into the melted chocolate.
Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla.
Mix in the flour mixture until just combined.
Divide the prepared batter amongst the prepared muffin cups.
Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
For the Frosting:
1 jar marshmallow fluff
1/2 cup unflavored vegetable shortening
scant 3 cups powdered sugar
3-4 tablespoons heavy whipping cream, or as needed.
Beat shortening and marshmallow fluff together in the bowl of an electric mixer.
On low-speed, beat in the powdered sugar. Add the heavy whipping cream as needed, and slowly increase the mixer speed to med-high and beat for 1-2 minutes. Scoop the frosting into a pastry bag fitted with a larger round tip, and frost the brownie bottoms!