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Posted by H.
I made this recipe last year for Valentine’s Day. Since I started my blog in April 2012, I kept it to post for this year. These cupcakes are very moist and sure to please everyone.
I’ve experimented with numerous recipes for the perfect chocolate cupcake (or cake). There is much debate with using oil vs. butter. What I found is that chocolate cakes made with butter are not as moist, and tend to have a mild chocolate flavor. While I love to bake with butter, there are some cakes that taste better made with oil. In my opinion, these would be chocolate and carrot cakes.
There is a science behind this, but I’ll be brief. Butter gives a lighter and firmer crumb because it contains some water and it develops the gluten in the flour. Oil has no water so it gives a moist and oily texture with larger crumbs.
I posted a recipe last year for Caramel Macchiato Cupcakes which were amazing, and the cupcakes were made with butter, but I find these cupcakes easier to make.
Another tip is to use fresh brewed coffee or instant coffee added to boiling water as a liquid ingredient. Coffee adds a real depth of flavor to chocolate.
Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Cake
Adapted from Hersheys.com
- 2 cups sugar
- 1¾ cups flour
- ¾ cup cocoa powder (Dutch-processed preferred)
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- 1½ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup milk (I used whole milk)
- ½ cup vegetable oil (you can use Canola oil)
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup boiling water (I used fresh brewed coffee)
- Pre-heat oven to 350°F
- Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans or line cupcake pans with liners (see below)
- Sift together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large mixing bowl
- Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer for 2 minutes
- Stir in boiling water on low speed (batter will be thin). Be sure to scrape down the bottom of your bowl
- Pour batter into prepared pans
- Bake according to your variation listed below
- Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks
- Cool completely
- ONE-PAN CAKE: Grease and flour 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Heat oven to 350° F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely
- THREE LAYER CAKE: Grease and flour three 8-inch round baking pans. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely
- BUNDT CAKE: Grease and flour 12-cup Bundt pan. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 50 to 55 minutes. Cool 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely
- CUPCAKES: Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups. Heat oven to 350°F. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 18 to 22 minutes. Cool completely
Makes 2 cups
- ½ cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 2/3 cup cocoa (Dutch-processed preferred)
- 3 cups icing sugar
- 1/3 cup milk (I used 5% half and half)
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat and add to a stand mixer
- Add cocoa powder and beat on low speed until combined
- Alternately add icing sugar and milk, starting slowly, then increase speed and beat until light and fluffy
- Add small amount of additional milk, if needed
- Add vanilla extract
12-12-12! I didn’t even think of the numbers until H pointed it out. It’s considered an auspicious day, and I have to say, today was pretty lucky for me. While I read a lot of articles on what is considered the century’s last repeating date, I liked this one the most:
According to Chinese numerology, one is a yang number ruled by the sun and represents independence and individualism. Two is a yin number ruled by the moon and represents symmetry and balance. Combined, the number 12 brings harmony to the yin and the yang.
Now, on to what I crave the most ….
Everyone knows how much I love cake, especially H. One year, he even bought me 3.
While nothing beats homemade baking, this is the one time I don’t mind a store-bought cake. The cakes from Whole Foods Market are made without shortening or preservatives, which I’m all for. And, they’re super cute!
One is Coconut (my favorite) and the other is Chocolate Fudge (H’s favorite).
Guess what I’m eating now??? Yes, cakeeeeeeee!
The amazing thing is, while H and I were eating the cake slices, he noticed they were yin and yang in color!
Fall is my absolute favorite season! I love the cooler weather.
This morning, after the rain ended, I opened our windows and doors, and had a nice breeze blowing through our home. I started thinking of comfort foods and baking a few weeks ago. H just thinks of Thanksgiving and a turkey with all the trimmings! We didn’t have a turkey last week, but I did make pumpkin scones for breakfast this morning.
I’m not a huge fan of pumpkin, nor is H, but I had 2 cans of pure pumpkin puree on hand. I don’t mind pumpkin scones, muffins or even cheesecake, but I detest pumpkin pie. Ditto for H.
I looked through several recipes before deciding on one that called for lots of butter! I divided the recipe in half and found they were easy to make. I’ve made scones many times; however, I find they taste best the day they are made. They’re not as moist the next day, even if frozen and thawed. Some tips to keep in mind are to not overwork the dough. I also thought the drizzled icing would be too sweet, but I found it was necessary; otherwise the scones were too bland.
Our house smelled amazing as the scones were baking! They were delicious with a cup of tea (or in H’s case, a large mug of coffee). Try these scones and let me know what you think.
Adapted from tasteofhome.com
- 2-¼ cups unbleached flour
- ¼ cup packed brown sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1-½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ cup cold butter
- 1 egg
- ½ cup + 2 tbsp pure pumpkin puree
- ¼ cup milk
- 1 cup icing sugar
- 1-½ tbsp milk
- ¼ tsp pumpkin pie spice (I just used a sprinkle)
- Preheat your oven to 400°F
- Place oven rack in the middle
- In a large bowl, combine the first seven ingredients
- With a pastry cutter or your finger tips, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs
- In another bowl, whisk the eggs, pumpkin and milk. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened
- Turn onto a floured surface; knead 8-10 times. Use flour sparingly if you find the dough is too sticky
- Pat into a nice round 8” circle; cut each into eight wedges
- Separate wedges and place 1” apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper Brush with milk or cream
- Bake for 14-18 minutes or until golden brown
- Remove to wire racks; cool for 10 minutes
- Combine the glaze ingredients. Add milk a little at a time!
- Drizzle over scones
A family member asked me to make carrot muffins that were less sweet. I googled for a suitable recipe, and came up with this one. Altering the ingredients can be challenging when baking, however, I have had success with reducing the sugar in nearly everything I bake!
Recipe adapted from Food Network
- 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar (minus 3 tbsp)
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups finely shredded carrots (about 2-3 medium carrots)
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons toasted walnuts or pecans, finely chopped
- Preheat oven to 350°F
- Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners
- Sift together the first 7 ingredients
- In a large bowl, whisk the oil, brown sugar and eggs until well combined. Stir in the applesauce, vanilla and carrots
- Add the dry ingredients and fold until combined. Do not over-mix
- Stir in 1/4 cup of the chopped walnuts or pecans
- Divide the batter between the muffin cups. I find an ice-cream scooper helps!
- Sprinkle with remaining nuts (I forgot!)
- Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 20 minutes. I checked at the 18 minute mark, and every minute or two afterwards
- Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely
- If you’re not concerned with sweetness, use the full amount of brown sugar
- The muffins can be left at room temperature for 2-3 days. The tops will become sticky though
- They also freeze very well