Truffled Ice Cream Cake

Coconut-Pecan Bars

Bittersweet Chocolate Charlotte

Chocolate Cupcakes

Sweet Spot



Chocolate Cupcakes

Tips: Always great to have around, these tender, chocolatey cupcakes can be made up in a flash. They bake quickly, too, and everyone seems to love their "individual portion" size. Two frosting recipes are included: a regular confectioners’ sugar frosting and a chocolate confectioners’ sugar frosting, for those who require a double dose of cocoa. The plain frosting recipe makes more than you’ll need for the cupcakes, but if you have a group of kids around, extra frosting is never a problem! Both cupcakes and chocolate frosting are made with regular unsweetened cocoa powder (non-Dutch process). You’ll need a 12-cup standard muffin tin for these, where each cup are 2-1/2 inches in diameter.

If you have kids and are having a party, cupcakes are a great choice. Younger children might like a "decorate-your-own" cupcake party; let them frost the cupcakes (or give them cupcakes already frosted), and provide them with bowls of different candies and decorating goodies. For example, you might have a bowl each of several colored sugars, chocolate sprinkles, M&M’s, button candy, chopped toffee or toffee bits, butterscotch chips, etc. For a Halloween party, tint the plain frosting orange, and have a bowl of candy corn out, in addition to the other sweets you provide.

Yield: 12 cupcakes


  • 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1-1/3 cups sifted cake flour
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup regular unsweetened cocoa powder (non-Dutch process)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • Pinch salt
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 egg, graded "large"
  • 1 tsp. vanilla Confectioners’ Sugar


  • 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 3-2/3 cups confectioners’ sugar (if lumpy, sift before measuring)
  • 3 to 4 Tbsp. milk Chocolate

Confectioners’ Sugar Frosting:

  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1-3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar (if lumpy, sift before measuring)
  • 3 Tbsp. regular unsweetened cocoa powder (non-Dutch process)
  • Few grains salt
  • 2 to 3 Tbsp. milk

For Cupcakes: Adjust rack to center of oven; preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line the cups of a 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper liners. Melt the butter and cool it until it is warm (it should not be hot when it’s added to the batter).

Into a medium bowl, sift together cake flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Add water, egg, vanilla, and melted butter. With hand-held electric mixer at lowest speed (or with whisk), beat ingredients just until combined. Scrape bottom and sides of bowl with rubber spatula. Beat at a low speed for 30 seconds. For ease in handling, transfer batter (which will be on the thin side) to a pitcher of about 4-cup capacity (batter will not fill pitcher).

Divide batter evenly among lined muffin cups; cups will be about two-thirds to three-quarters full. Bake in preheated oven for 14 to 19 minutes, turning pan back-to-front about halfway during baking time. Cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted into the center of a corner cupcake (that is, a cupcake on one of the corners of the pan) emerges with only a couple of moist crumbs still clinging to it. Do not overbake!

Remove pan to cooling rack. Immediately but gently remove cupcakes from pan to cooling rack (I use a small sharp knife to loosen the cupcakes from the top of the pan, if required, then I gently pry each from the cup with a fork. You’ll leave the cupcakes in their paper linings, of course). Cool the cupcakes completely before frosting.

For either Frosting: Use a large bowl for the plain frosting, and a medium bowl for the chocolate variation. In either case, place softened (but not melted) butter in bowl. Add 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar, the cocoa and salt (if making the chocolate variation) and 1 Tbsp. milk. With hand-held electric mixer, beat at medium speed until combined. Scrape bowl and beater(s) with rubber spatula.

Gradually add remaining confectioners’ sugar and remaining milk, beating at medium speed to incorporate, then increasing speed to high and beating until fluffy. Frosting should have a good spreading consistency.

Frost each cupcake with a generous dollop of frosting immediately, stopping slightly before the edges (I think these look more attractive if you can see a small rim of chocolate cupcake around the edge). The chocolate variation is enough for an extravagant "cap" of frosting on each cupcake, and the plain will definitely leave you with extra. Eat immediately, store in refrigerator, or freeze. These will keep in the fridge for up to three or four days, if tightly covered. To freeze, freeze uncovered; when frozen, cover tightly. Thaw in refrigerator, still in wrappings. If refrigerated, allow cupcakes to stand at room temperature, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.

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