Chocolate Cupcakes

These beautiful little babies are your basic but sooooooo good chocolate cupcakes. They're the kind of thing that you continue to think about after you've eaten the last bite. Like four hours after. And if you're anything like me, you go back again and again, cutting about a third off of another one every half hour or so. As if it's better to eat another whole one if it's done in pieces over the course of an hour and a half.

The first time I used this recipe, it was to make a cake. At eight months pregnant, I had torn out a page from Better Homes and Gardens at my OB's office during one of my three hour very-much-worth-it-waits (for what I have to believe is the best doctor living here on Earth). The recipe was titled "Quick Chocolate Cake" and it said prep time was 5 minutes, bake time was 35. Done! Sounds wonderful. Let's rip this guy out and stuff it in my bag while no one's looking. Months later I came across the recipe and decided to try it. What did I have to lose? About 40 minutes and some basic pantry ingredients? And this was no loss. This was a find. A gem. A keeper. And what's more...I realized after the fact that it's vegan. That's right. Don't be dismayed. If you're skeptical or turned off right now, forget I mentioned it. If you need something to bring to your weirdo vegan friends' pot luck...you've come to the right place. Now, of course, let's be honest...I slathered fresh vanilla buttercream frosting all over the poor vegan cake. But you don't have to and the cupcakes will still be good. Promise.

The cake was a hit around the house with the husband, in-laws, etc. and I decided to use it for cupcakes. They were perfection. I made a batch of giant "we-have-no-shame" ones and a batch of smaller, more respectable ones. Both turned out beautifully. Serve with either the frosting of your choice or freshly whipped cream. Yum.

                    3 cups all purpose flour
                    2 cups sugar
                    2 cups cold water
                    2/3 vegetable oil
                    1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I like Rapunzel)
                    2 teaspoons baking soda
                    2 teaspoons white vinegar (wha?)
                    1 teaspoon salt
                    1 teaspoon vanilla

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients. Beat with an electric mixer on medium to high speed until well combined.

Pour batter into a greased muffin tin. For large cupcakes, bake 25-30 minutes. For small cupcakes, bake 20-25 minutes.

Serve frosted or with freshly whipped cream.


Makes 12 large or 24 small cupcakes.

From Better Homes and Gardens July 2009.