Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Cocoa "Cup" Cakes

I made this as another Christmas gift to my sister-in-law. The recipe is courtesy of Gale Gand, a Chicago chef. It is from another book, Chocolate and Vanilla, I had the pleasure of having the chef sign! She was outside of Cafe Soleil, before it moved and became Graze, in Madison during a farmers market. My mom thought I should get the book and have her sign it. How could I say no? She also hosted a phenomenal show on the Food Network, Sweet Dreams, a long time ago.
I have made these before with friends and it was loads of fun. Be sure to put these on a rimmed baking sheet. The first time I made them, we got carried away filling them and they overflowed like crazy. It looked really neat though and made for lots of laughing. I did it again this time, but not as bad, only half overflowed. The batter will be very thin, that is okay. If you don't want to make the recipe for 12, I have cut the recipe in half before. I used two eggs because I wasn't sure how to halve three eggs, and it turned out equally as delicious cut in half.
The recipe calls for dutch processed cocoa which has been treated with an alkali, neutralizing acidity unlike natural cocoa powder. It also has a more mellow flavor and dissolves in liquids more easily, according to her book. It needs to be used with recipes using baking powder. Because it is neutral it will not react with baking soda, unless other ingredients are sufficiently acidic. I have only tried making this recipe with dutch-processed, but the instructions only recommend it.
The final "cup" cake is super moist and chocolaty, without being too sweet. You can serve them with whipped cream, frosting, ice cream or marshmallows. If you go with marshmallows, throw the cupcakes back into the oven under the broiler for a few minutes. I hope you enjoy making these and they would even make a great gift!

12 ceramic 8-ounce coffee cups
A rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan
3 cups sugar
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, preferably dutch processed
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups very hot water


  1. Preheat the over to 350F. Place the cups 1 inch apart on rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Combine the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and slat in the bowl of an electric mixing bowl with a whisk attachment. Blend to combine.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla until combined. Add to the dry ingredients, mixing on low speed for 5 minutes. With the mixer on gradually add the the hot water, stirring until well blended. The batter should be thin.
  4. Pour the batter into the coffee cups to halfway. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Enjoy them warm or reheated in the microwave!

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