Recently, I’ve had my mind on cake. Specifically chocolate cake. More specifically dark and decadent, moist and rich chocolate cake. Over the past two years of my time in New York, I’ve been on a quest to find the perfect chocolate cake. Unfortunately (and perhaps surprising to some) I have yet to find that golden treasure. (But if any of you New Yorkers believe you’ve located this prized delicacy, please do let me know!!)
In the meantime, however, I am pleased to say that I’ve found a recipe that more-or-less hits that sweet spot of chocolatey-craving goodness. Adapted from the famous Magnolia Bakery recipe, this indulgently rich and super moist cake will be the basis of many more baked creations to come!
The original recipe calls for melted chocolate and buttermilk. Finding myself lacking those ingredients, I practiced a little kitchen ingenuity and swapped a few things in their place. Instead of melted chocolate (which can be a precarious endeavor; have you ever had to deal with burnt chocolate? Not pretty.), I turned to 100% unsweetened cocoa powder from Ghiradelli. I’ve always had great results with Ghiradelli-brand cocoa powder. Being a dark chocolate lover, this powder does the trick in capturing that decadence without being bitter. For the buttermilk, I’ve recently learned that sour milk is a perfect baking substitution. It’s simple enough to make a serving of sour milk: stir together milk (soymilk, for example) with a bit of acid (lemon juice or vinegar), wait 10 minutes, and voila! In this recipe, I mixed in 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar to 1/2 c soymilk, stirred, and let it sit for 10 minutes.
A neat feature of this recipe is that it requires little more than a whisk; no need for an electric or stand mixer, just the power of a dominant arm! The batter turned out quite thin, thinner than what you’d expect a cake batter to be. But not to worry, the cake definitely rises as it bakes! Fill just a touch over the halfway mark of the cupcake liners. I made the mistake of filling close to two-thirds the way and suffered from a few excess “cupcake tops” that spilled over during baking… oops!
I paired these chocolate cupcakes with a lovely Matcha Green Tea Cream Cheese Frosting. You may recall my love for the chocolate-matcha flavor combination from the Matcha Macarons post from earlier this year. I am happy to report that this flavor marriage has yet to fail me! These cupcakes heralded rave reviews from my co-workers who enjoyed them when I brought a batch into work. And goodness, doesn’t that matcha swirl look delightful or what?!
Click here for accompanying recipe: Matcha Green Tea Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 c flour
- 1 c granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 3/8 c unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 c buttermilk or sour milk
- 1/4 c vegetable oil
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 c water, boiling
- see the accompanying link for Matcha Green Tea Frosting or whip up your favorite frosting!
- Pre heat oven to 300 F and line a full-sized muffin tin with 12 liners.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, cocoa powder) with a wisk.
- Add in egg, oil, and buttermilk/sour milk to dry ingredients and incorporate with wisk until well mixed.
- Add in vanilla extract with boiling water and wisk into mixutre until well mixed.
- Pour mixture into liners just above halfway.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until inserted toothpick comes out clean, or center springs back when lightly touched.
- Cool completely before frosting.
- Fit a large pastry tip to a pastry bag and fill pastry bag with frosting. (I used a Wilton 1A round tip and a 16-inch pastry bag)
- Pipe frosting on completely cooled cupcake tops. I piped from the center and spiraled out to the edge, tapering off the pressure as I neared the edge. (My frosting game could be much improved)
- Your cupcakes are now ready to be served and enjoyed!
- Other large pastry tips can be used to dispense frosting for fun designs. A traditional swirl can be achieved by using a large star tip (Wilton 1M or Ateco Star size 8)
Either way, I’d love to hear from you: suggestions, comments, feedback, and even criticisms. Thanks for dropping by and I wish you continued summer happiness!