Cocoa Cupcakes

Spring gatherings always necessitate a wow! dessert and the bigger the crowd, the more obvious it becomes that the perfect solution is cupcakes. Cupcakes are easy to make, can be decorated in a variety of ways (or not at all), and allow the eaters to remain mobile (and social).

This particular cupcake is rich and dense, chocolaty, and has a tight crumb.  It strikes the perfect balance of sea salt, cocoa, vanilla and coffee. If you ever ate Drake’s Cakes Devil Dogs as a kid, these cupcakes will take you right back to that special place in your memories (hopefully you eat it a little slower though, and savor it with a cup of coffee or a nice glass of red wine).

The options for toppings are endless, but primary candidates include fresh whipped heavy cream, whipped coconut cream, or a light buttercream.  You could also get really crazy and go for a peanut butter frosting for over-the-top decadence. For my latest function I topped about half of the batch with coconut cream and left half plain.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose gluten-free flour
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon finely ground coffee
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup flax milk

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° and line a 12-cup muffin pan with baking cups.
  2. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt and baking soda into a medium sized bowl.
  3. In a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer), beat the shortening and sugar until light and fluffy, then sprinkle in the coffee granules. With the mixer on a medium speed add the eggs one at a time, beating until each  is fully incorporated before adding the next. Add the vanilla. At low speed, alternately beat in the dry ingredients and the flax milk.
  4. Use a number 2 scoop to transfer the batter into the baking cups. Bake the cupcakes for 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cakes cool for five minutes, then remove them from the muffin tin and transfer to a cooling rack.
Cocoa cupcake