As such, I am going to take this opportunity to discuss the relative advantages and disadvantages of cupcakes. A cupcake editorial, if you will. There is a serious cupcake craze in this country that has been going on for quite some time now. Cupcake boutiques have sprouted up in strip malls, Food Network has entire shows dedicated exclusively to cupcakes, and world records in largest cupcake and largest cupcake tower have been broken. (By the way, the world's largest cupcake contains two million calories. Yeah. Two million.) Not to mention the cupcake flavors that are out there these days! In the name of research, I consulted the universe's guide to trendy eats--Foodgawker.com of course. I looked through twelve pages of cupcake photos, and here are some choice results I thought I'd share with you: Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes with Guinness Cake, Jameson Ganache and Bailey's Frosting, Audrey Hepburn Cupcakes (that's when you know you've made it big--someone's named a cupcake after you), Doughnut Cupcakes (bring on the clogged arteries and type two diabetes!), Fig, Goat Cheese, and Caramelized Onion Cupcakes (also known as a disappointment), and my personal favorite, the 'Cupcake Inside a Cupcake' Cupcake. On my "Things that are Unnecessary" list, that last one may have bumped celebrity gossip down to number two.
Before we know it, normal-sized cakes will be phased out in supermarkets and bakeries across the globe in favor of their tinier counterparts, Pinkberry will carry cupcakes made with frozen yogurt, and the Girl Scouts will begin peddling Thin Mint and Samoa flavored cupcakes every spring. Is that where society is headed, people? Is it? Is it?!
Obviously, I've been slow to jump on the cupcake bandwagon. Sure, I can enjoy a fancy dessert from Jilly's (they won on Cupcake Wars!), but to be honest, I just don't get what all the fuss is about. To me, cupcakes seem like a cop-out. Just make a real cake, people! Why is that so hard?
It is a bit funny that I've been so cupcake resistant, because I am a huge fan of muffins. In fact, my first blog post ever was on bran muffins, and since then, I've posted two other recipes. Maybe that's because muffins are acceptable breakfast fare, even though they taste kind of like dessert. But cupcakes have frosting, so it's generally looked down upon to consume them in the morning, which relegates them to dessert. But if I'm going to eat dessert, I'd rather have a piece of real cake, or a slice of real pie, or a scoop of real ice cream, instead of a carrot cake cupcake (37 recipes on Foodgawker), or an apple pie cupcake (7 recipes on Foodgawker), or an ice cream cupcake (25 recipes on Foodgawker).
So that's my opinion on cupcakes. But sometimes, the world demands that you make a double chocolate cupcake with chocolate buttercream frosting. And by the world, I mean my mother. She is 100% on the cupcake bandwagon, and I can't really refuse a request to bake something. Especially if it's something I've never tried to make before. And because I am an honest person, I will tell you that I really liked these cupcakes. They were very delicious. And my mother, who by all accounts is a cupcake connoisseur, called this recipe "a keeper." And that, dear readers, says it all.
And by the way, the frosting on these cupcakes is incredible. If you want to just take the frosting recipe and use it on something else (like a real cake, or the back of a spoon--no judgment here), that's fine with me. I won't tell.
From Sing for Your Supper
Makes two dozen cupcakes.
For the cake:
2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
For the frosting:
1/2 cup butter, melted
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the cakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line two cupcake tins with liners.
Whisk the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat at medium speed for about 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water. The batter will be absurdly thin, and will probably end up all over your hands, face, counter top, and muffin tins. Totally worth it. But wear an apron. Also, don't forget to put in the sugar. But if you do, and you get all the way to the end of the recipe and then wonder why the batter isn't thin, and then taste it, and realize you left it out and that the resulting batter is one of the worst things you have ever tasted, you can add it in at the end. The cupcakes will still turn out just fine.
Pour batter into muffin cups. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in the trays, and then cool completely on wire racks.
For the frosting: Combine cocoa powder and melted butter in a medium bowl. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add a small amount of additional milk if needed. Stir in vanilla. (Makes about 2 cups frosting.)