Dark Chocolate Sourdough Cupcakes with Raspberry or Rhubarb Buttercream

Dark Chocolate Sourdough Cupcakes with Raspberry or Rhubarb Buttercream  by Kresha Faber
For the cupcakes:
makes about 2 dozen cupcakes
1 cup sourdough starter, active and bubbly
1 cup of milk, preferably raw
1 3/4 cup whole wheat or spelt flour
1 cup unrefined cane sugar OR 3/4 cup date syrup
1 1/4 cup unrefined, virgin coconut oil, melted and cooled but still liquid
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, preferably pastured
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon unrefined sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 cup cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
2 teaspoons finely ground coffee, preferably dark or espresso roast
100 grams (3-4 ounces) unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
1/2 cup cocoa nibs or other chocolate pieces
For the buttercream:
Makes about 4 cups
1 cup sugar
4 large egg whites
2 1/2 sticks butter (10 ounces), softened but still cool, cubed
1 generous pinch of sea salt
1/4 cup pure rhubarb OR raspberry juice
1 teaspoon pure beet juice, more as desired
For the Cupcakes:
In a large mixing bowl, combine the sourdough starter, the milk and the flour.  Cover and allow to sit at room temperature for 8-24 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line muffin tins with parchment muffin papers and set aside.
Scrape the sourdough mixture into the bowl of an electric mixer (or grab your favorite wooden spoon to mix by hand).
Add the cane sugar, coconut oil, and vanilla and mix on low speed.  Increase the speed to medium-low and add the eggs one at a time.
Reduce speed to low and add sea salt, baking soda, cocoa powder, ground coffee, and melted unsweetened chocolate.
Mix just until homogeneous, but no more, scraping the sides of the bowl if needed.  If the mixture is very thick, add a few tablespoons of milk to thin it.  Stir in the cocoa nibs by hand.
Spoon the batter into the prepared paper cups and bake for 15-20 minutes or just until a wooden skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Cool for at least 10 minutes in the pan before inverting onto a cooling rack.
For the buttercream:
Start by making sure the mixing bowl of your electric mixer is completely clean and completely dry.
Next, prepare your juices: for raspberry juice, place 1 cup of raspberries in a blender, food processor, or mortar.  Puree the berries and pour into a cheesecloth, then let the berry juice drip out until you’ve got 1/2 cup juice.  For the rhubarb juice, either follow the same method as the raspberries, allowing much more time for the juice to drip to obtain sufficient juice, or run the rhubarb stalks through a juicer.  For beet juice, coarsely dice 1 small beet, then run it through a juicer.  Set juices aside.
Bring 1 inch of water to a steady simmer (not boiling) in a wide, shallow saucepan, then place the sugar and egg whites into the bowl and place over the simmering water.  Whisk gently until temperature reaches 140° F, or if you don’t have a candy thermometer, until the liquid is hot and you can’t feel any granules when you rub a drop between your fingers.
Remove the bowl from the water and place the bowl back on the electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whip on medium-high speed until the mixture is white, glossy, and about doubled in volume.  The temperature of the outside of the bowl at this point should be neither warm nor cool.
Add the butter one cube at a time until incorporated, and whip until it has reached a thick, silky smooth texture.  (This is the point of panic, so don’t be alarmed.  If the mixture deflates or curdles, just keep whipping and whipping and whipping-it will become thick and smooth again, even though it might take several minutes.)
Toss in the salt, then drizzle in the juices.
Enjoy and happy baking!
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