Spring break isn’t only anxiously anticipated by kids. In fact, teachers
may be are more anxious than they are in the weeks leading up to it. I spent this morning running errands with this furry companion…
This afternoon, on my more laidback, at-home [cleaning] day of spring break, I baked a batch of what I call “Perfect Chocolate Cupcakes” – or what Hershey’s calls “Perfectly Chocolate” cake.
You should know that these are just your basic chocolate cupcake. They are incredibly moist and satisfying, but in all honesty, they aren’t deeply complex in the chocolate flavor department. They’re simply delicious, everyday cupcakes that would be perfect for birthday parties or for snacking on at home. Not particularly ohhhh-la-laaa, but assuredly palate-pleasing.
Not showstoppers or what you’d serve at a fancy dinner party, but they are scrumptious and I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t love them (unless a chocolate allergy is involved, of course). These could certainly be jazzed up with a richer, dark chocolate frosting and maybe a sprinkling of sea salt (one of those current food fads) or filled with some sort of caramel or cream filling.
If I were to compare these to something, it would be that favorite set of old bedsheets that have been used time and time again, laundered until they’ve reached a feathery softness. They’re just an old standby that never fails to bring comfort.
As you can see, the batter is very fluid. A cup of boiling water is added as the last ingredient to the batter to “bloom” the cocoa powder, or intensify the chocolate flavor. This recipe makes exactly 24 regular-size cupcakes.
Perfect Chocolate Cupcakes
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa (best quality available)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
Line muffin tin with paper liners. Heat oven to 350*F.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Beat on medium speed for one minute.
Stir in boiling water (the batter will be thin, don’t worry, this is right).
Fill liners 2/3 full with batter. (I usually put the batter into a large measuring cup with a pour spout, and then pour the batter into the liners.)
Bake cupcakes for aproximately 18-22 minutes.
Cool completely on wire rack before frosting (see below).
Basic Chocolate Frosting
3 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 cup milk
2 Tbs. unsalted butter (softened)
2 ounces semisweet chocolate (melted)
2 tsp. vanilla
Melt the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Add softened butter, vanilla, milk, and cocoa, and whisk to combine. Using an electric mixer, slowly add in powedered sugar, and beat until smooth.
*I pipe my frosting onto the cupcakes by filling a plastic sandwich bag (baggie) and snipping off one of the corners. Instant (cheap) pastry bag! This helps keep the decorating a bit neater than if it’s spread on with a knife.