Monday, November 17, 2008

Cupcakes for Claire - a chocolate welcome.

I can't help but feel that it is so vastly unjust that those of us that love chocolate cupcakes the most are saddle with a metabolism that prefers spinach salad.

Don't these cupcakes look delicious? They were. I baked them earlier this year when my sister Claire visited, and we commenced eating our way through spring break. I realize with some amusement and a tinge of regret, that this trip is probably part of the reason I am now strictly following a new "healthy lifestyle change" (aka diet) that unfortunately excludes cupcakes. Well, technically the thin and fit nutritionists of the world would have me believe that I can indulge in a chocolate cupcake sometimes, but only if I only indulge once a month, and only if my indulgence consists of only a few bites, preferably with the frosting scraped off. To that I reply, bah humbug. I would rather not have any cupcake than settle for a titillating crumb of a cupcake. It would be a crime to let one of these beauties go partially uneaten in the name of good health and skinny jeans.

So, today, while I nibble on carrot sticks and plan a dinner of black bean soup, I make a plea to those of you that are NOT on a diet, please bake these cupcakes. And if you do, please eat one for me (the WHOLE thing).

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cupcakes - from Cupcake Bakeshop
14 regular cupcakes / 375 degree oven

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temp
1-1/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs, room temp
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoons vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Beat butter until softened. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
3. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until well combined.
4. Measure the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder into a small sized bowl and whisk to combine.
5. Measure out the milk and vanilla and stir to combine
6. Add about a third of the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar and beat to combine. Add about a half of the milk/vanilla and beat to combine. Continue adding, alternating between dry and wet and finishing with the dry.
7. Scoop batter into cupcake cups about 2/3’s full. Turn oven down to 350 degrees and bake cupcakes for about 22-25 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Note: I try to use the best quality cocoa I can find. It makes a huge difference. Also, this cupcake recipe is the kind that will result in a flat cupcake (not domed). One thing you must be careful of is over-filling the cupcake paper. If the cake continues to rise and has no where to go and will one over flow and two start to sink back on itself as it doesn’t have the structure to hold the excess batter up. So, stick to 2/3’s full and don’t be tempted (as I was) to squeeze that last bit of batter into one of the papers.

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