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9.24.2004

On not getting killed, learning to be agreeable, and thereby acquiring cupcakes

I’ve never read Ted Kooser’s poetry, but I love the following excerpt from the September 12 New York Times Magazine:

Q: How did you find out you'd been selected as the new poet laureate?
Kooser: I was informed by a phone call. I was so staggered I could barely respond. The next day, I backed the car out of the garage and tore the rearview mirror off the driver's side.

[Insert lots of other good-natured, self-effacing talk.]

Q: Are you always this agreeable?
Kooser: I try to be.”

I was never very good at this sort of thing—this being pleasant, affable, agreeable. Take, for example, sharing. I can think of several instances in which a grade-school classmate, having forgotten his or her pencil case at home, tried to borrow something from me: I’d shake my head haughtily and refuse, reminding my bewildered classmate that we were supposed to come to class prepared. By some benevolent stroke of luck, I was not maimed and killed, à la Lord of the Flies, by my peers. Indeed, I’ve survived to see the error of my ways, and I even enjoy sharing. In fact, I give things away whenever I can, and with enthusiasm. And I even come to class unprepared occasionally, which makes me feel giddy and wicked, like knowing I’m wearing racy lingerie under my clothes.

I remember, at some point in my childhood, consciously deciding to train myself in the daily courtesies of American culture: smiling frequently, saying hello, asking “How are you,” telling someone to have a nice day, etc. I was shy, and these mundane niceties didn’t come naturally. I had to actively reach outside of myself to claim them. Each word and act had weight, and they became mine with a certain solemnity, a heavy sense of meaning. One day in particular stands out as a huge first in my young life: I was riding my pink banana-seat Schwinn down our street, and I managed to eek out a hello to an elderly man on his daily walk. I was so proud that I immediately rode home to tell my long-suffering mother.

Today I feel a small private thrill when I stoop to pick up and hand back a bag dropped by the woman behind me in line. And only a month or two ago, I took a tottering old woman by the arm and helped her across the street. I am so nice! So reformed! So human! And there’s that timid-seeming older man at the grocery store: I love taking the time to smile, to be present with him for an instant, to look him in the eye when I ask for the biggest chocolate cupcake. He reciprocates with a broad grin and, of course, the prizewinner of the pastry case.

Now, some of you may not have kindly old men with cupcakes standing by, ready targets for your politesse. But all is not lost: make your own cupcakes. The following recipe makes about thirty-six of these small wonders,


so there will be plenty for you to eat and plenty to share, as I snootily did not do with my pencils, protractors, or Elmer’s glue. Think of this as a token of my hard-earned kindheartedness.

Far-from-Disaster Cake
Adapted from Epicurious

This is the cake recipe that I used for my near-disaster cake (albeit with a different ganache frosting, so fear not), as well as birthday cakes for a couple of very happy friends. It is extremely simple and requires nothing more complicated than a bit of time and a very large bowl for mixing—you’ll have a lot of batter. I will be shocked and horrified if you don’t find this to be the most deeply-flavored, moist-yet-fluffy chocolate cake you’ve ever tried. This recipe makes two 10” layers, three 8” layers, or roughly 36 cupcakes. [As a side note, I’ve been wanting to try taking a syringe or a turkey baster and injecting seedless raspberry jam into the cupcakes; if you do this, report back.] Unfrosted and tightly wrapped, the cakes freeze beautifully for a month or two, so you can spread your generosity over multiple occasions.

3 oz fine-quality semisweet chocolate, such as El Rey (my preference) or Callebaut
1 ½ cups hot brewed coffee (I use decaf—again, a remnant of the straight-edge days)
3 cups sugar
2 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process; I use Ghirardelli)
2 tsp baking soda
¾ tsp baking powder
1 ¼ tsp salt
3 large eggs
¾ cup canola oil
1 ½ cups well-shaken buttermilk
¾ tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. If you’re making cupcakes, line the wells of your pans with fluted paper liners, or grease and dust them with flour or cocoa. If you’re making larger cakes, grease pans and line bottoms with rounds of wax paper. Grease paper.

Finely chop chocolate and in a bowl combine with hot coffee. Let mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.

Into a large bowl sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another (very) large bowl, beat eggs with an electric mixer until thickened slightly and lemon-colored (about 3 minutes with a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a hand-held mixer). Slowly add oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and melted chocolate mixture to eggs, beating until combined well. Add sugar mixture and beat on medium speed, bracing yourself against puffs of cocoa-and-flour dust, until just combined well.


Divide batter between pans. Bake in middle of oven 20 to 25 minutes for cupcakes, or 50 to 70 minutes for larger cakes, until a tester inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool cakes completely in pans on racks. Run a thin knife around edges of pans and remove cupcakes, or invert larger cakes onto racks. If making larger cakes, carefully remove wax paper. Cakes may be made one day ahead and kept, wrapped well in plastic wrap, at room temperature.


Ganache Frosting
Again, adapted from Epicurious

1 lb fine-quality semi-sweet chocolate, such as El Rey or Callebaut
1 cup heavy cream
2 Tbs sugar
2 Tbs light corn syrup
½ stick (¼ cup) unsalted butter

Finely chop chocolate. In a 1 ½- to 2-quart saucepan, bring cream, sugar, and corn syrup to a boil over moderately low heat, whisking until sugar is dissolved. Remove pan from heat and add chocolate, whisking until chocolate is melted. Cut butter into pieces and add to frosting, whisking until smooth.

Transfer frosting to a bowl and cool, stirring occasionally, until spreadable. You may want to place the bowl in the fridge for a bit, but stir it now and then until it cools to your desired consistency. Spread.

102 Comments:

Blogger pipstar said...

Oh my -I think I just found my cupcake recipe for this weekend. Quite obviously great minds think alike :-)

I will also be sure to try the raspberry jam because that would make me very popular in my house!

2:10 AM, September 25, 2004  
Blogger Molly said...

Terrific! Yes, it must be something in the air! Mmm, cupcakes.

I hope you don't have trouble with the recipe measurements, though, since we Americans still persist in using cups, etc. I have a little digital scale so I can use recipes with metric measurements, and I should have just converted this one. I'm kicking myself.

8:39 AM, September 26, 2004  
Blogger pipstar said...

Luckily, we are so confused here in Australia that we use a combination of everything -cups and metric etc so I should be fine! It's the ounces that do me in -I just can't cook anything with ounces!

5:23 PM, September 26, 2004  
Anonymous Michelle said...

Hi Molly,

I was wondering if regular corn syrup would produce the same results with the frosting? Many thanks :)

Michelle

9:19 AM, March 24, 2006  
Blogger Molly said...

Michelle, you know, I'm not sure. I haven't tried using regular instead of light, so I can't say for certain, but I find it hard to imagine that any sort of disaster would occur! I say, go for it.

9:26 AM, March 24, 2006  
Anonymous Michelle said...

Hi Molly -

I made this as a cake for my boyfriend's birthday on Thursday, and everyone adored it - moist, rich, and the ganache was flawless, even with the normal corn syrup. If only I'd hidden the few cupcakes that I made with the extra batter...

Thank you so much for your wonderful writing and recipes!

11:15 AM, April 01, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

molly,
i've made this as a layer cake with raspberry jam spread between the layers and a chocolate raspberry frosting...it's delicious that way!

4:04 PM, September 30, 2006  
Blogger Tracy said...

Hi Molly,

I saw this recipe and had to make it ... love the fact that it makes so much. I made 12 cupcakes and 2 8-inch layers.
My question is ... did the cakes fall when you cooked them? Most cakes that I've baked are slightly rounded on top. Both the layers and cupcakes are kind of concave.
I haven't tried them yet but the unusual shape is making me worry that I made a mistake...

By the way, great writing! I, too, overcame a shy childhood. Now nobody would believe that my natural tendency is to be a bit shy.

10:15 AM, February 02, 2007  
Blogger Molly said...

Tracy, you've got perfect timing. I just made this recipe on Tuesday, for my farewell party at work, and so it's fresh in my mind. To answer your question: no, I wouldn't say that this cake has fallen on me, per se. It falls a little, maybe, when I first pull it out of the oven, but mine has never gone concave. Hmmm. On my most recent go, I made two 9-inch layers and 7 or 8 cupcakes, and the layers were pretty much flat across the top - neither rounded nor concave - and the cupcakes were just slightly rounded. Hmm. I wish I could be of more help to you! Baking is such a funny, finicky science.

But how did they taste? Good enough to make up for their odd shape, I hope...

11:58 AM, February 02, 2007  
Blogger Tracy said...

Hi Molly,

Thanks for the quick response.

I should have taken a picture of my cakes/cupcakes. Mine were just a bit concave. I agree -- baking is a weird science. Maybe I beat something too long. I've never baked a cake at 300 degrees before so I'm not sure what to make of that.

I had a bear of a time getting the cake layers out of the pan. One came out ok, but the other came out in two pieces. I've never done the wax paper technique, and it didn't seem to help. I frosted the layer that came out ok for my son's birthday party -- only 4 kids, and they didn't seem to care that it was only one layer. The broken layer I trimmed and pieced together to be shaped like a football, so I'll serve it at my Super Bowl party.

All that being said, the cake was delicious. Very very chocolatey, and very moist.

The chocolate ganache frosting was a piece of cake, so to speak, and really delicious. Exactly enough to frost the cupcakes and the two layers.

I'll have to try the recipe again. I like that the recipe makes a lot.

9:13 PM, February 02, 2007  
Anonymous Rachel said...

I just have to say that i tried this recipe yesterday to make chocolate cupcakes for my neighbor, and out of the 36 I made, I gave my neighbor 12 and there are only two left over on my counter top. These are the most amazing cupcakes I have ever eaten--they literally melted in my mouth, and the frosting makes them absolute heaven. three thumbs up !!

7:38 PM, May 06, 2007  
Blogger Molly said...

Terrific, Rachel! That makes me so happy. This is definitely the best cupcake I've ever tasted too. I'm working on a version of it for the book, actually, just because I can't bear the thought of it not being in there...

10:13 AM, May 10, 2007  
Blogger moi said...

I stumbled across this recipe while poring over your archives, and while I haven't made your version, with or without the raspberry jam, I do make some very good chocolate cupcakes with fresh raspberries.

Make the batter as normal until you're ready to put into whatever size/type baking dish you're using (this works for brownies and cake, too) then stir in about 400-600g of raspberries. Stir gently, so that some break up and others stay whole. Then bake as normal.

The raspberries sink to the bottom, but you get great variation between little hints of raspberry and the bursting of a whole berry from bite to bite.

2:51 AM, May 17, 2007  
Blogger Molly said...

Oooh! I love that idea, moi. I'm working on an adaptation of this recipe for the book, and I will definitely try your suggestion. Thank you, thank you.

12:09 PM, May 17, 2007  
Blogger Libby said...

Hi,

I've made this recipe a few times as both cupcakes and a layer cake. I like it with cream cheese frosting and either raspberries or strawberries on the side. This is the best chocolate cake recipe I've made, thanks for sharing!

My frosting recipe: Beat 4 oz room temp cream cheese until smooth, then beat in 4 oz room temp. butter. Slowly add powdered sugar until it's as sweet/tangy as you want (start with 1 cup and work up to 2 cups max). Add 1 t vanilla extract. A hand mixer works fine for this and as long as everything is at room temp it goes together really quickly.

2:48 PM, May 18, 2007  
Blogger Molly said...

Libby, I haven't yet tried these with cream cheese frosting, but I love the idea. Thank you for sharing your recipe!

9:49 AM, May 21, 2007  
Blogger Beth said...

I found this and made cupcakes with it earlier today, only I used dark cocoa powder rather than regular and OMG so tasty! And not crazy hard!!! (on the other hand, i think the coffee i used was not the best so that could explain my curious relunctance to love them).

Thanks though for posting this. :)

7:07 PM, June 11, 2007  
Blogger Molly said...

My pleasure, Beth! So glad you liked them.

10:15 AM, June 18, 2007  
Anonymous Tanya said...

I just made these... and while I was surprised at how many they made (I actually got 48 out of the batch), they were *amazing*

I really can't thank you enough, because ordinarily I shy away from recipes that call for oil-- I had to get a new bottle just for this, but it was so worth it... especially because the bubbling when it was first mixed was so much fun.

9:00 AM, September 25, 2007  
Blogger Molly said...

I'm so glad you liked them, Tanya! I know what you mean about the oil - at first glance, butter sounds so much better - but oil really does make for a more moist, lovely cake in some cases, such as this one. That, and the buttermilk helps too.

5:47 PM, September 25, 2007  
Anonymous Tanya said...

Just so you know, I just made another batch... injected with raspberry jelly, topped with whipped cream, for a birthday party... they were incredible. I can't wait for your cookbook to come out!

8:28 AM, November 01, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Molly, the best chocolate cake I've ever had. made for my
Parents anniversary dinner,
2 nine" layers, split in half filled with cream cheese icing and frosted with your ganache.
amazing!! Will use this recipe for friends wedding cupcakes. thanks!!
brandywine

5:05 AM, February 17, 2008  
Blogger Susanne said...

Hi Molly,

After making this cake for the third time, I decided I'd better drop you a line to say thanks. It reminds me of my mom's chocolate buttermilk cake, only richer. With more chocolate. And coffee. It's perfect, really.

I'm a big fan of your writing and am looking forward to the book.

Take care!

11:13 AM, March 06, 2008  
Blogger Michelle said...

Things have been slow at work today, so I'm catching up on some of your old entries - great reading! I'm bookmarking some of your recipes with great hopes for my weekend.

I wanted to tell you that Ted Kooser is an absolutely fabulous writer. He has a small book out named "Local Wonders," which was published by the University of Nebraska Press or Bison books - I can't remember which - but it is really good. Worth checking out if you can find it out there!

12:56 PM, March 13, 2008  
Blogger Julia said...

Hi Molly!

I just came across your blog & had to try the chocolate cake (or in my case cupcakes)! I made them for a shower & they were a huge hit - soo moist! The only thing I am wondering, is how I can get a larger dome affect. Would you alter the baking soda or pwder?

They were absolutely yummy!

2:49 PM, April 21, 2008  
Blogger Molly said...

I'm so glad you liked them, Julia! This really is my favorite recipe. As for getting a higher dome, though, I'm not sure what to tell you. I have found that some cake recipes tend to dome more than others, and this is one of those others. You might try Googling a bit, or see if you can find an answer in Rose Levy Beranbaum's great book The Cake Bible...

1:15 PM, April 22, 2008  
Blogger Brittany said...

Have you ever tried this recipe with vanilla frosting. I am looking for a chocolate cake with vanilla frosting for my husband's b-day. This recipe looks tempting, but I wonder about the vanilla frosting.

9:07 PM, April 30, 2008  
Blogger Melissa said...

Hi Molly,

A quick question: Does this recipe taste at all of coffee when it's done? I'd like to bake it for my boyfriend's birthday, but he's not a big fan of coffee.

Thanks,
Melissa

5:41 PM, May 28, 2008  
Blogger Molly said...

Uh oh. Brittany, if you ever see this, I am so sorry for not replying sooner! Oh my gosh! No, I haven't tried it with vanilla frosting. I'll bet it would be wonderful, though.

Melissa, don't worry. The cake doesn't taste at all of coffee. The coffee just helps boost the chocolate flavor, that's all...

5:49 PM, May 28, 2008  
Blogger Melissa said...

Molly,

My boyfriend loved the cake. Thank you!

6:27 AM, May 31, 2008  
Blogger Jennyvi said...

oh my goodness!! this perfect! i've been searching for almost two weeks for a perfect chocolate cupcake recipe for my brother's wedding.. thanks for the recipe dear!! am gonna try this one.

question: you think this is great for the wedding. but i'll definitely try this one.

is the ganache frosting can be piped also like swirls??

thanks heaps! ur blog is sooo great! i love spending time just reading it.. :)

2:29 AM, June 09, 2008  
Anonymous Rachelino said...

Molly~ I made this recipe into cupcakes (with a fairly innocuous addition: 1 Tbsp. of cinnamon)for my friend's birthday party and I have to say they were absolutely delicious and decadent. Moist, fluffy and deeply flavored is right.
I know your book is off to print but as a dutiful recipe tester I wanted to report that my cupcakes were also concave (as Tracy's were) and I know my oven was correct because I have an oven thermometer. Some also overflowed their tops as in the picture on this thread.
thread I think the cupcake version of this recipe should call for 1.5 tsp baking soda (half tsp. less) and should instruct to fill the cups no more than two thirds full.
Then it would be even perfect~er.

10:20 PM, June 23, 2008  
Blogger Rosie said...

Well I'm not much of a baker, but I was bound and determined to bring a chocolate cake to the election night party we attended, decorated with the Obama "pepsi" logo. Trusting you as always, I tried this recipe. It wasn't a disaster, even when I tried making it. it actually turned out really well. Now, if you could help me find a red food coloring that doesn't taste wretched . . . .

9:15 AM, November 06, 2008  
Anonymous Annie said...

I love you. Did you know that? This was the most scrumptious, decadent, obsession inducing little cakes. Yum.

8:26 PM, November 12, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there, I'm giving this cake a go and was wondering whether I can replace the corn syrup with something else in the frosting? Corn syrup is a rare commodity in Australia, I cannot find it anywhere? Also the cakes took over an hour to cook for me - did i do something wrong? thanks renee

10:48 PM, December 06, 2008  
Blogger Molly said...

Renee, the corn syrup here helps contribute to the smooth, silky texture of the ganache, and it also helps stabilize it. But I'll bet the ganache would work alright without it. The only substitute I can think of is golden syrup, but I'm afraid it would add a flavor that you don't really want here. And as for the baking time, are you making this recipe as cupcakes (as opposed to a regular-sized cake)? If so, an hour does certainly sound too long; maybe your oven is running cool?

6:45 PM, December 07, 2008  
Blogger bobbi jo said...

Molly, I'm considering this for my son's first birthday cake and I'd like to make a couple cakes in varying sizes. How do you know how long to bake a cake in a non-standard sized pan? For example, a 4" or 6" pan? I'd like to make a personal cake for him in addition to another one for guests. Thanks for any help!

1:57 PM, January 20, 2009  
Blogger AChurch said...

This cake rocks! Love, love it. You definitely need a LARGE bowl. The batter is all over my kitchen. Next time I won't use my stand mixer- hand mixer would work much better.

9:02 PM, May 20, 2009  
Blogger racial said...

My girlfriend made this cake and I have to say it's the best chocolate cake I've ever had. This is huge for me because I don't normally like chocolate and I loved this! Thanks so much I think I'll make up an occasion so she'll make it again.

8:42 PM, May 25, 2009  
Anonymous Julia (Kent, England) said...

Hi Molly, I discovered your blog a couple of weeks ago and had a very enjoyable couple of weeks reading through the archives, bookmarking many of your wonderful recipes. This is the first one I tried, and the cupcakes were delicious. I had to bodge my ingredients somewhat to allow for me being too eager to make them to wait until I could nip out to buy the correct stuff! So I used some nice Swiss milk chocolate, instant coffee, and a buttermilk substitute made with milk and white vinegar. The cakes were absolutely delicious - dark, soft and luscious. I made 36 cupcakes, and mine also dipped somewhat on top, but I imagine this is because it is a fairly liquid batter, and the proportion of flour is relatively low. However, I never see a concave cupcake as a problem - it is just a well for icing! I used a chocolate-cream cheese-buttercream icing.

Thanks again for your wonderful blog. Your writing is so evocative, it prompted me to inform my husband on his return home from work one day that I wanted to move to Seattle - from England! However, as this is unlikely to happen, I'll have to make do with living there vicariously through your recipes! I'm so pleased that you are back posting, and wish you and Brandon all the best with Delancey.

11:47 AM, July 15, 2009  
Anonymous Antje said...

Hi Molly,
I just made the chocolate cupcake recipe from your book. The batter was delicious and the freshly baked cupcakes look great (I'm waiting for them to cool right now, so I can put the glaze on them.) I have a question: Would these freeze well? If so, I imagine I'd freeze them before glazing them, right?
I'd love to freeze half of the batch; otherwise I'll be in big trouble I think ;-)
Thanks in advance for your response.
Antje

10:42 PM, September 01, 2009  
Blogger Molly said...

Antje, I've frozen these cupcakes many times, and they work beautifully. I've frozen them both before and after glazing them, and either way works fine. But because the glaze doesn't look as nice after it's been frozen, I would suggest that you freeze them before you glaze them. Hope this helps!

10:52 PM, September 01, 2009  
Anonymous Antje said...

Thanks for the super quick response, Molly, how impressive (especially given your new restaurant!!)
I got your book from the library but already know I'll have to purchase a copy since the recipes are so good and I'm loving your writing. What a treat. Thank you!

10:15 AM, September 02, 2009  
Blogger Erika said...

This recipe is something like the one I used for my wedding cake last August--and yes it freezes beautifully! Mine also sometimes goes concave--usually when I don't bake it quite long enough. With all the moisture from the eggs, oil, and buttermilk, it seems to really want to go a long time. Still tastes great--is just a little harder to slice and fill if you're making the cake version. Also, do you really mean waxed paper on the bottom, not parchment paper? I find parchment paper helps to let a little bit of the excess moisture escape from the middle of the cake. I'm not sure what waxed paper would do--but I get skittish putting melted wax on anything other than preserves...
I'm looking forward to trying this version with coffee--sounds even more rich!
Thanks for being such a generous center of a fun community!

3:56 PM, September 02, 2009  
Blogger Hannah said...

Today was my brother's 18th birthday. I made this cake with your chocolate malt frosting. The whole family LOVED it. Thank you so much!

6:32 PM, September 12, 2009  
Blogger Hanaâ said...

I made this tonight and it was awesome. I used the recipe from your book (which appears to be a 1/3 of the recipe posted here) and baked it into cupcakes. After a failed red velvet cupcake experience, I just HAD to bake something good and your recipe has been on my todo list ever since I read it in your book. I'm not done reading your book yet but so far, I'm liking it a lot (which says a lot because I'm not a big reader). Thanks for writing it!

9:57 PM, February 06, 2010  
Anonymous kaweenee said...

Years later....this is the best devil's food cake ever. Made it in three layers with ganache and raspberry in between. Topped the cake with caramel frosting marbled with some of the ganache. To die for.

7:45 PM, March 27, 2010  
Blogger Rosie said...

Does it matter what type of buttermilk you use? I could only find low-fat at my grocery store.

12:28 PM, April 28, 2010  
Blogger Molly said...

Rosie, my grocery store also only has low-fat buttermilk, and it works just fine. No problem at all.

1:57 PM, April 28, 2010  
Blogger Kate said...

I just made a batch of these for my Russian class. They remind me of a cupcake my friend's mother used to make for birthdays that I could never replicate but always loved. They are melt-in-your-mouth moist and they taste like rich chocolate, not vanilla batter with a couple of teaspoons of cocoa powder. They were also easy to make as promised, although I had to mix the batter in a soup pot there was so much of it.

This is the first recipe I have made from Orangette (I have about 10 others bookmarked). Molly, your writing is beautiful and I love your approach to food. Thank you!

3:23 PM, May 27, 2010  
Anonymous Emily said...

I made these for the first time today in cupcake form and they were delicious! I topped them with this frosting, which is also scrumptious: http://thepioneerwoman.com/tasty-kitchen-blog/2010/03/a-tasty-recipe-thats-the-best-frosting-ive-ever-had/

I did find that the tops were a bit concave as others reported. And they took the full 25 minutes to bake through. And yes, be sure to use a huge a$$ bowl!

10:07 PM, June 20, 2010  
Anonymous narelle said...

So I didn't know where to put this comment, but I don't think you have the recipe in question posted on this site. I refer to your chocolate cupcakes with chocolate glaze from your cookbook - which are AMAZING. I have never tasted a better cupcake, and many people agree with me.

My question to you is - are they lower in fat than standard cupcake fare? (if you take away the choc glaze). Because of the yoghurt, I am hopeful?

2:49 AM, June 27, 2010  
Blogger Molly said...

Narelle, I'm not sure what to tell you! I don't know their fat / calorie count. But I'm willing to hazard a guess that yes, compared to some other recipes, they do seem to have less oil, so they might be a little lower...

6:39 PM, June 27, 2010  
Blogger La Lola said...

Hi Molly!

I saw your book in BN this past week and decided to finally come read through your archives before I buy the book. I am such a grateful fan for your amazing recipes and elegant narratives. You provide an escape for us that you probably forget sometimes. Just wanted to say thanks for sharing this amazing looking recipe. I am trying it this weekend! Well, off to keep reading. Surely more comments will come from me soon :)

PS- I know you say this is the best choco cake, but have you tried the Nigella one also universally touted as the best from Epicurious? I tried it this week...its DIVINE! I'm really curious how you would describe the difference in texture and taste compared to others, as I had a hard time doing it. Let me know how you think they compare in taste if you ever make it ;)

http://becominglola.blogspot.com/2010/06/dont-run-from-me-sour-cream.html

1:51 PM, July 15, 2010  
Blogger Threaded Basil said...

I just made cupcakes from this recipe this weekend, and had trouble with the cupcakes concaving. I had to take a break during the middle of baking and ended up chilling half of the batter for about 40 minutes, and then baked them up with paper liners. They came out perfect - nice rounded tops and beautiful.

And they tasted just as amazing as the first batch.

6:40 PM, October 14, 2010  
Blogger phamlethu1808 said...

Hi Molly, I'm Vietnamese and I have to admit that I'm really really confused with your US measurement. Whenever I found a recipe that I would love to try, I immediately worry about how to change it into Metric measurement ( using grams, you know )because they're different in different sites.I know u must be very busy but in case you have some little time, would you mind make this recipe more useful in Metric measurement? Or u can say in this recipe, 1 cup all purpose flour or 1 cup semisweet chocolate approximate how many grams, and I'll do the rest, this definitely helps someone like me a lots. And lastly, I admired ur talent, wish u all love, peace and happiness :) PS: My English is not good, please don't laugh at it ^^

11:36 AM, December 10, 2010  
Anonymous june2 said...

I would think agave nectar might work as a replacement for corn syrup. It's not as thick and viscous but it is sweet enough so that adjusting the recipe to use less syrup should still taste great.

Also going to try chilling the batter to get the rounded tops, as mentioned in the comments, thanks!

11:01 AM, December 16, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First, THANK YOU for such an AMAZING recipe. Good Lord this is the best chocolate cake ever!

Now, karma is a b**ch. The first time I made the recipe there was zero caving from either my cakes or my cupcakes (I made both from the same batch). I will admit i sortof chuckled that MY cakes were perfect, poor souls with caved cuppies!

This time I made them for my son's third birthday. They are for his school. I made minis and they CAVED, like BAD. That'll teach me. This time I did have a three year old torturing me in the kitchen, and I used a hand held electric mixer. I am wondering if I overbeat the batter with the hand mixer?

10:45 AM, January 04, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello again, I'm anonymous ^^^ up there. I made the cake again and did NOT use the hand mixer. NO CAVING! Hooray!

Also, I read somewhere else that an old baker's trick to a flat top cake or cupcake is to bake at 300 F. So I'm wondering if the trick to getting these to dome up a bit (if you want a dome) is to bake it at a higher temperature, likely for a shorter time? Haven't tried it yet.

THANK YOU AGAIN! They were a smash hit standout at my family's usually overcrowded diabetic coma table of desserts.

5:53 AM, January 18, 2011  
Anonymous Kimberly Ryan said...

I just finished your sweet book - what an enjoyable read - and I wanted to make the chocolate birthday cake you reference in the interview section at the end. I made the far from disaster cake for my husband Tom's birthday yesterday and all agreed it was the best chocolate cake we've ever eaten. The ganache frosting was perfect and the 3 tall layers looked so dramatic. I can't wait to make more of your recipes.

7:52 AM, February 06, 2011  
Blogger erica said...

tons of caving on mine (with a hand mixer). i wonder if that's the culprit? alas for me, i don't own anything else. they're still delicious, even though a mess.

7:44 PM, February 13, 2011  
Blogger Anna Aliza said...

Remembered making this recipe a few years ago--it turned out fantastic again tonight!

I tried your suggestion and used a turkey baster to inject raspberry jam into the center of the cupcakes, then frosted them with a light chocolate buttercream icing. The raspberry jam was perfect!! I microwaved the jam for 30 seconds or so until it was liquid enough to inject....

Great recipe, wonderful blog...thanks!

8:53 PM, March 12, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Molly,
I can't use the coffee in the cupcakes, so I was wondering if there was something I could substitute it with. Maybe water?
Thanks! I look forward to making the cupcakes, they sound delicious!

12:50 PM, April 08, 2011  
Blogger Molly said...

Anonymous, I think hot water would work just fine. Good luck!

6:25 PM, April 08, 2011  
Blogger Cindy said...

I don't usually post but wanted to say this is the absolute richest, moist, and wonderfully delicious chocolate cake I've ever made or eaten!

4:29 PM, April 13, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These are awesome. I put a peanut butter cup in the middle and topped it with peanut butter frosting. Delish

1:21 PM, May 07, 2011  
Anonymous Stephen said...

Dear Molly, I simply love the way you write your posts... help me our here please. Believe me or not I now live in a country that doesn't have any sorts of buttermilk or even evaporated milk! Since I love baking cakes and cucpakes, will the homemade version of buttermilk work fine here (I usually add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar, filling all the way to 1 cup of milk, wait for 15 min and use it as buttermilk) ?? Or should I look for something like sourcream to substitute ? Thank you SO SO much !

8:06 PM, May 17, 2011  
Blogger Molly said...

Stephen, can you get yogurt where you are? If so, that's what I would use. (And if it's particularly thick yogurt, you can always thin it a little with milk.) Let me know how it works out!

12:59 PM, May 18, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This looks like a great recipe and I'm really excited to try it! One question though, where I live, high quality chocolate and chocolate powder aren't available. What can I use to substitute for the unsweetened cocoa powder? Sorry to be a bother and thanks so much!

8:55 PM, June 10, 2011  
Anonymous Rachel said...

My husband requested a chocolate cake for his birthday and your blog was the 1st place I looked. The cake is marvelous! I baked the cakes on Saturday and used the remaining batter for cupakes amd made a quick Peanut Butter frosting, then made a 2 layer cake for my husband's birthday yesteday and it was fabulous! I was so happy with the results I even posted a picture on my Facebook page. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe.

12:07 PM, June 20, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello, This is a great recipe, very tasty!Love it. However, this is a huge portion, do you think it'll still be good if I halve the recipe? Thanks!

1:41 AM, December 05, 2011  
Blogger Molly said...

Anonymous, I think the recipe should halve just fine!

4:41 PM, December 06, 2011  
Blogger Carly said...

Hi Molly the cupcakes were absolutely delicious!!!!.....i just want to know if it is possible to use nestle chocolate morsels instead of bakers chocolate

2:46 PM, January 26, 2012  
Blogger Molly said...

Carly, I'm glad you asked! Nestle chocolate morsels don't melt very well, so I wouldn't use them. In fact, a lot of chocolate chips or morsels are specially formulated so that they don't readily melt - just get soft - so that they hold their shape in cookies.

9:07 PM, January 26, 2012  
Anonymous Josh said...

I've been reading your blog for years, and this is the first time I've seen this recipe. This is in my oven now, in cupcake form. Can't wait!

8:24 PM, January 27, 2012  
Blogger D Emerald said...

I can't wait to try making these cupcakes! As a beginner baker, I was wondering if there are any tips you could give me on what to do/what not to do when baking.

12:43 PM, January 28, 2012  
Blogger Hannah said...

I've made cupcakes with this recipe over 30 times now and it is hands down the best I've ever tasted! Tonight I'm making a layer cake with raspberry filling...yum!

6:39 PM, February 10, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I cut the recipe in half and it made 12 cupcakes and an 8" 1 layer. I used chocolate chips instead of the semi-sweet chocolate called for and it melted just fine. I increased the baking powder by 1/4 teaspoon more, so if I had made a full batch, that would have been an increase of 1/2 teaspoon. These were really good, they rose well, fabulous texture, weren't at all dense. Good and chocolately, not crumbly. It's a great recipe, thank you!

6:24 PM, February 20, 2012  
Anonymous Cakes! Inspired by Kayla said...

Oh my God!! YUM YUM and YUM!! I have just decided to make these cupcakes for an order I have this weekend, I needed 24 choc and 24 Vanilla (using Billy's Vanilla Vanilla recipe for them), and I'm so happy this recipe has given me 12 left over choc cucpakes! they are absolutely devine!! Definitely keeping this recipe..

4:51 PM, March 22, 2012  
Anonymous Dana said...

How many cupcakes does this recipe make?

5:21 PM, April 17, 2012  
Blogger Molly said...

Dana, it makes approximately 36 cupcakes.

11:19 AM, April 18, 2012  
Anonymous Ruth said...

Hi there Molly,

I just have a question... I just bought a Valrhona durch processed cocoa powder. I was wondering if theres any way I can use that into your recipe. What are the adjustment that I need to make if I use a dutch processed cocoa powder? Hope to hear from you soon, thank you

11:59 AM, May 16, 2012  
Blogger Molly said...

Ruth, sadly, I wouldn't try to substitute Dutch process cocoa for the standard (also called "natural") unsweetened cocoa in this recipe. David Lebovitz explains why right here.

1:33 PM, May 16, 2012  
Blogger uba_tsunami said...

THIS RECIPE IS AMAZING!! I switched out the chocolate squares for about 6 oz of Nutella and wow, the cupcakes were gone in a second! Thank you so much!!! This is exactly what I've been looking for!

9:25 PM, June 07, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Which type of ElRay do you use for replacing the semi-sweet chocolate?

6:09 AM, July 14, 2012  
Blogger Molly said...

Anonymous, you know, I actually haven't used El Rey chocolate in a while. (I can't believe it's been almost eight years since I posted this recipe!) In most cases, I choose Scharffen Berger chocolate, and I'd recommend their semisweet for this recipe with no hesitation.

3:53 PM, July 14, 2012  
Blogger vanilla bean blog said...

I've made this batter into cupcakes a dozen times now, and had a lot of trouble with tops sinking in drastically. Chilling the batter helped, but what really made a difference was changing the oven temperature to 350. The most perfect cupcake was when I chilled the batter overnight, and then baked at 350, which is what I have done the past several times. They were perfect. Just wanted to let you know! Thanks again for your lovely space here.

12:46 PM, July 30, 2012  
Anonymous Christina said...

Im going to be making this recipe this weekend but instead of cakes im going to be making cupcakes. Can you please tell me where I should fill the batter up to? i know that there a some recipes where they say to fill up the cupcake pan 1/2 or 3/4 of the way up..

thanks

12:38 PM, September 05, 2012  
Blogger Molly said...

Christina, I just divide the batter among three (12-well) muffin tins, and I don't remember how high it reaches up each well. Maybe start by filling each halfway, and then if you have extra batter, you can distribute it among them?

8:02 PM, September 05, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just made these cupcakes for a yard sale and they were amazing! I tried another cake recipe from the joy of cooking website for a batch of vanilla, but these were far better and much more worth my time! For topping I actually used another recipe for buttercream frosting which adds a beautiful photogenic look to the delicious cake when piped on with a star tip. I'll always use this recipe for chocolate cake from now on!

John

8:34 AM, September 30, 2012  
Anonymous Julie said...

I made this tonight and messed up. I grabbed the wrong cocoa powder and sifted Dutch process in on top of the other ingredients, instead of natural. I scooped out as much as I could before adding the natural cocoa powder, but there was definitely some residue. How bad could it be, I thought?
Pretty bad. The cake was black after baking and had a bitter taste.
I also used olive oil since I didn't have canola. And I halved the recipe but I thought I got that part right.
Oh well, live and learn. I'll try again, following the recipe EXACTLY next time, since I'm dying to try the fabulous cake everyone raves about!

2:20 AM, October 01, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just made these cupcakes and found they are wonderful! I had to try them as soon as they cooled. I tend to bake the day before any event - just my personal preference to minimize rushing around, so we'll see how they are tomorrow! Thanks for this recipe!

Mine yielded 48 cupcakes.

6:02 PM, December 20, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Molly,

I plan on making this recipe Friday. I have taken a look at a few other blogs where users have posted their result with your recipe. The picture of your cupcakes looks very dark, rich, and moist which is particularly what I was looking for in a cupcake. When I have looked at pictures on other blogs though, they don't have the same intensity in color or moistness that your cupcakes appear to have. What would you attribute this to? The type of chocolate used? and what recommendations do you have for me so that I can achieve that dark color?

11:28 PM, December 26, 2012  
Anonymous Chocolate Cake Blog said...

Excellent recipe thanks Molly!

1:46 AM, December 30, 2012  
Anonymous Susan said...

My granddaughter and I tried to make the cupcakes this morning out of your book and they fell flat. Bubbled up and ran around the tin leaving a little runny liquid in the cups. What could it be? Would our elevation make a difference? It's only 5,000 feet. We were so disappointed.

2:41 PM, March 17, 2013  
Blogger Molly said...

Susan, I'm so sorry to hear it! I wish I knew what to tell you. I don't know anything, sadly, about baking at elevation. I can tell you that these cupcakes don't normally dome up very high, but they certainly shouldn't cave in or bubble over. I share your disappointment, and I wish I could help...

9:56 PM, March 17, 2013  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Molly,

I'm in the middle of reading your book--it's great! I haven't made the recipe above, but made the delicious chocolate cupcakes in your book. I was wondering if you have an equivalent yellow-cake recipe with plain yogurt. I'm such a yellow cake fan!

Carrie

10:10 PM, September 03, 2013  
Anonymous Lizz said...

Hi there Molly.
I am yet to try this recipe. I do not like coffee taste in my choco cupcakes. If i were to omit the 1 1/2 cups of brewed coffee, what other ingredients do i need to resubstitute? Thanks.

3:27 AM, December 07, 2013  
Blogger Molly said...

Lizz, I can't say that I taste the coffee in these at all; it just deepens the chocolate flavor. I've never tried making them without the coffee, though, so I'm not sure what to tell you.

10:42 PM, December 07, 2013  
Blogger Meilee said...

Made this for my husband's birthday and topped with his mom's German chocolate cake frosting. Finally a chocolate cake recipe that passes the test. Thank you for sharing!

8:10 PM, December 29, 2013  
Anonymous Meg said...

thanks for the recipe! everybody loooooved the cupcakes!:D

9:23 PM, April 01, 2014  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SUPER AWESOME! All I can say! YUM!

4:42 PM, May 11, 2014  

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