Success at Last!
Originally uploaded by melynda.huskey
I’ve finally found a chocolate cupcake recipe that I’m happy with. After three really embarrassing failures–one too brownie-like, one too dry, and one bitter and thin-tasting–I’ve achieved just the right balance. It’s chocolatey, moist, tender, just dense enough, with a crisp, sugary crust. The cream-cheese frosting is very rich, but not too cloying. Try it!
Devil’s Food Cake
(from The King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversart Cookbook)
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup cocoa
2/3 cup shortening
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups unbleached flour
3/4 baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup buttermilk (or 1/2 cup milk and 1/4 cup plain yogurt)
Preheat oven to 350. Put cupcake papers in muffin tins (you’ll need 2 12-cup tins and 1 6-cup tin).
In a small bowl, mix the boiling water with the cocoa and set aside to cool.
Cream the shortening and sugar until very light. Add the eggs one at a time and beat very thoroughly. Add vanilla and beat again.
In another bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together.
Add the dry ingredients, the buttermilk, and the cocoa mixture to the creamed mixture and stir gently till just combined. Fill cupcake papers about 2/3 full.
Bake 15-17 minutes, or until tops spring back when gently pressed. They will smell superb!
Cream Cheese Frosting
1 stick butter, softened. (It must be butter. No other substance will do.)
1 8-ounce package of cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 cups powdered sugar
Milk (if necessary)
Beat the butter and cream cheese together. Add the vanilla and mix well. Stir in the powdered sugar and beat until very light and fluffy (at least 3 minutes). If necessary, add a few drops of milk until frosting is the right consistancy for spreading or piping.
My nephew, Steamboy, has been my harshest and most reliable critic; I depend on him to tell me what others won’t admit to my face about my cooking. It was he who called my last chocolate cupcakes “bitter and crumbly,” confirming my own diagnosis. This batch, though, got the Steamboy seal of approval. Hurrah!
And I have to say there’s something almost lubricious about the look of ivory frosting veiling moist chocolate cake: if I were M.F.K. Fisher, I’d call this batch “L’Ingenue Libertine.” As it is, I’ll just call them a success.