Saturday, February 13, 2010

Chocolate Cupcakes

As I've mentioned a few times on this blog, I am a lover of all things desserts. Brownies, cookies, and pies are high up on the list, but my all time favorite dessert is chocolate cake with vanilla frosting. OK, I know it's not the most exciting dessert, but something about the contrast of the rich chocolate and the creamy sweet frosting is incredibly satisfying.

This is the chocolate cake recipe that I always make. Although Ina Garten is a culinary genius, she is not known for making low-fat recipes (take a look at this). But as I was preparing the batter for these cupcakes, I realized they are actually relatively low in fat: 14 (unfrosted) cupcakes require just 1 egg, and only 1/4 cup of oil. So that's 1/14 of an egg and .85 teaspoons (NOT tablespoons) of oil per cupcake. The frosting is a bit more sinful, but only a small amount is needed per cupcake. Me? I start with a small amount, but always have more on the side for dipping. Yum.

I'm not a big fan of sprinkles, but since I was making these cupcakes for a birthday party, I decided to be festive.

Chocolate Cupcakes (adapted from Ina Garten)
*3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
*1 cups sugar
*1/4 cup + 2 heaping tablespoons cocoa powder
*1 teaspoon baking soda
*1/2 teaspoon baking powder
*1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
*1/2 cup buttermilk, shaken
*1/4 cup vegetable oil (I use canola)
*1 egg at room temperature
*1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
*1/2 cup strong brewed
*sprinkles (optional)

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

*2 cups confections sugar
*1/2 stick butter, at room temperature
*1/2 tablespoons milk
*1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract

To make the Frosting:
1. Whip the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, for several minutes, until light and fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar, a few tablespoons at a time.
2. When the frosting looks thick enough to spread, add 2 more tablespoons of the confectioners sugar, one at a time. Drizzle in the milk, and mix it until combined. Add one more tablespoon of the sugar, then drizzle in the vanilla and mix until combined.

To make the cupcakes:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.
2. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and baking powder into a large bowl. Add salt. Mix with an electric mixer (if using stand mixer, use paddle attachment) on low speed until combined.
3. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
4.Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center cupcake comes out clean. Place cupcakes out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
5. Frost with vanilla frosting and top with sprinkles.


  1. Really lovely cupcakes and you've decorated them so festively!
    I've made Ina's cupcakes; I found them very light and not heavy at all. (I love just about everything she makes, but agree she doesn't pay a lot of attention to calories!)

  2. I love oil in chocolate cake recipes, they seem to stay so moist this way! I also use Ina's tip of adding a t. or so of espresso powder to almost anything chocolate I make, but you are soooo right about her and the non-low-fat...

    I love your sprinkles, I usually don't use them either, but I should find some that look like this!

    (I am *finally* almost out of frozen muffins so I can make yours from a couple of posts back... I can't wait!)

  3. I love all kinds of desserts but cupcakes are by far my favorite. I love their single-serving sized-ness as well as the yummy frostings that go on top! These look delicious.

  4. This is one my favorite varities of cake as well...actually it is number 2 on my list following white cake with white icing. YUM!! These cupcakes look perfect!! I hear ya on the sprinkles, but they did make these look more festive.

  5. Great cupcakes! Yeah, I agree, frosting is the best part but if the cupcakes are low fat that means I can have two, can't I?

  6. I just made a similar cupcake and loved it, so I'm sure that these are very very good as well. Love the buttermilk with the cocoa and coffee. Something magic happens! Sprinkles are festive, I don't use them nearly enough to add that little something extra. Well done.

  7. Oh, how I wish I'd still live close to you, so I could invite you to my birthday party and have this cake again. I love this cake soooo much, it's my favorite-est chocolate cake ever. Everyone, make this cake today -- I know I will :)

  8. I love the ratio of frosting you used to the cupcake! I think they look perfectly delicious and I love the sprinkles!

    Your last post was also very delicious looking and sounds wonderful! :)

  9. The sprinkles really do make them look festive! I'm way over due for a great cupcake!

  10. Awwww, aren't these adorable? Love the sprinkles!!

  11. These cupcakes are too cute-the sprinkles are definitely a great addition! When it comes to cupcakes, my favorite part is by far the buttercream-I pile it on!

  12. I just made these cupcakes and they're so good. They're still the best chocolate cake I've ever had! But now I miss you ...

  13. Just made these today - they look great - can't wait to take a bite!