One Perfect Chocolate Cupcake

I’m the first to admit that I’m not a prolific baker. When I do bake, I have to be assured that most of my creation will end up in other hands, so it doesn’t end up on my hips! Two pre-schoolers and their chocolate-loving mom brought out this recipe for chocolate cupcakes. Cocoa powder alone will not do, in my book — to deliver real chocolate flavor, there has to be melted chocolate. Only half the batter got the extra shot of dark chocolate chips, so the munchkins’ parents had some control of how much caffeine they got after dinner!

This recipe produces a cake with a very tender crumb and a smooth, pleasing chocolate flavor that both kids and adults will enjoy.

(Makes 2 dozen cupcakes or 2 9-in. round layer cakes)
6oz (170g) dark chocolate, roughly chopped
3/4 cup (180ml) almond milk
3 TBL. plain full-fat yogurt
(or use 1 cup buttermilk instead of almond milk/yogurt mixture)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups (200g) all-purpose flour
3 TBL. cocoa powder
3/4 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened
1-1/2 cups (290g) raw sugar (demerara)
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup (180g) chocolate chips, Ghirardelli’s extra dark (optional)

Place chocolate in double boiler over simmering water for approximately 5–10 minutes. Stir occasionally until completely smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool 5–10 minutes.

Combine almond milk, yogurt, and vanilla. Stir well and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake papers. Set

In a small bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, salt and baking soda. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter until smooth. Add sugar and beat on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Add chocolate, mixing until well incorporated. Add dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with milk mixture. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are just incorporated — do not over-beat. Scrape down the batter to ensure the
ingredients are well blended, and the batter smooth. If using chocolate chips, fold in chips.

Fill the the pans about 3/4 full. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in
the center comes out clean.

Cool in the tins for 10 minutes, then on wire racks until completely cool.

For layer cakes, divide the batter between 2 9-in. round cake pans and bake 30–40 minutes.

5oz (140g) dark chocolate, roughly chopped
1/2 cup (115g) butter, softened
1-1/2 (195g)cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Melt chocolate over hot water; stir until smooth. Let cool 15 minutes. In large bowl, beat butter until light. Slowly add confectioners’ sugar, and beat until completely combined. Stir in melted chocolate and vanilla; beat until smooth.

Pour into a piping bag and chill for 20 minutes. Pipe onto cupcakes just before serving.