I made these chocolate cupcakes as a Valentine’s Day treat. They’re very moist and a favorite of ours.
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 are way 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.
Adapted from Cooks.com
- 2 cups sugar
- 1¾ cups unbleached 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
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. 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, neither is H, but I had two 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. 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 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, do not over mix
- Turn onto a floured surface and knead just a few 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 (use the tooth pick test to ensure they are done)
- Remove to wire racks; cool for 10 minutes
- Combine the glaze ingredients. Add milk a little at a time!
- Drizzle over scones
It’s summertime and being foodies, we absolutely crave anything to do with BBQ!
But what do you do if it’s raining, and you don’t want to fire up the grill, or you don’t have a bbq? How about oven-baked ribs! We normally just use our favorite store bought bbq sauce but for an extra kick, I love this simple recipe with additional spices. The result is the perfect blend of sweet and tangy, with a bit of heat.
Getting to all the fixin’s … our favorites are potato salad, baked beans and cornbread. I switched it up this time with creamy mac and cheese, slices of baguette with butter and of course, pickles. We’ve dined at Famous Dave’s a few times, and they serve these awesome pickles with their bbq platters. Their Signature Spicy Pickle Chips are addictive and available for $3.99. You can also find them at Costco. They’re crunchy, sweet, sour and a bit spicy. I absolutely hated pickles for most of my life, and now I can’t believe how much I like them.
Are you craving BBQ?
Delicious Fall-Off-The-Bone Ribs
Adapted from food.com
- 4 lbs pork ribs
- 2-4 tbsp light or dark brown sugar (use less if your favorite bbq sauce is already sweet)
- 1 tsp hickory smoke salt (or smoked paprika)
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1 cup of your favorite bbq sauce
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees
- Peel off tough membrane that covers the bony side of the ribs
- Mix together the sugar and spices to make the rub
- Apply rub to ribs on all sides
- Lay ribs on two layers of non-stick foil, meaty side up (so they don’t burn)
- Lay two layers of foil on top of ribs and roll and crimp edges tightly, edges facing up to seal
- Place on baking sheet and bake for 2 – 2 ½ hours or until meat is starting to shrink away from the ends of the bone.
- Remove from oven
- Heat broiler
- Cut ribs into serving sized portions of 2 or 3 ribs
- Arrange on broiler pan, meat side up and brush with bbq sauce
- Broil for 1 or 2 minutes until sauce is bubbly
- Turn ribs over and repeat
- You can also finish them off on a grill
For those celebrating, we would like to wish you the very best for health and happiness!
Happy New Year!
~ Ruby & H
I’m not a huge fan of chocolates, but H is! I took him to Godiva and when we got to the counter, he was waiting for me to choose the flavors. I told him it was his treat for a change, and to pick the ones he liked. Of course he resisted, but after some prodding … Birthday Cake, Key Lime, Tiramisu, Chocolate Lava, Champagne, Smooth Coconut, Salted Almond and Hazelnut Crunch. Mmm!
Dragon Fruit is a beautiful type of cactus also referred to as Pitaya. Its origin is unknown, but believed to be from Mexico and cultivated around the world. It is more commonly found in Thailand and Vietnam. The color can be a vibrant red or yellow with layers of leaves.
A dragon fruit is ready to eat when you press on the outside flesh and it gives slightly. Any softer than this and it will be too ripe. After washing the fruit, simply cut in half. The flesh is easy to scoop out and contains black edible seeds, similar to kiwi (the skin is very bitter and inedible).
The taste is very mild and refreshing, slightly crunchy but not as tart as kiwis. While dragon fruits are rich in antioxidants and vitamins, they are also high in fructose and should be enjoyed in moderation.
The shell of the fruit is so pretty you can even use it to serve ice cream, yogurt or sherbet or sorbets. The fruit itself is best eaten cold.