Sunday, February 6, 2011

An Excuse for Double Chocolate....

Time to celebrate; my husband is home! Yippee! Single parenting is over for another day (yes he's away again tomorrow night). So bring on the cupcakes!

Actually truth be known, I mustn't steal the thunder from my friend Tammi; it's her birthday. It didn't seem fair to me that she hosts her own birthday/Super Bowl party, so the least I could do is bring her some birthday cakes!

I toyed with many different ideas for today's recipe, but it all comes back to a tried and tested chocolate cupcake recipe that I have made repeatedly for birthdays. These cupcakes are relatively light and keep well if you need to make them a day ahead. I produced 70 or so for my daughters' joint birthday party in the fall; not to mention sending them to school and making them for their actual birthdays! My point is, it's a well tested recipe! The base recipe comes from the Cooking Light, Quick Baking , 2010 issue, although as usual is given the "Kat ate that" treatment.

I had a peaceful morning on my own baking; that's the ultimate relaxation for me. My husband had taken the kids off campus, for a chunk of time, for me to "be" in my kitchen. After a leisurely breakfast without getting up and down 10 times to refill milk, mop up spills, etc. etc., I embarked on the cupcakes.

My only caution with this recipe is, that it only makes 10 cupcakes. I doubled the recipe for the Superbowl party this afternoon and scraped out only 21 cupcakes from the recipe. Fine for a normal day, but not enough for the party.

So, with an empty house, I realised I had the perfect opportunity to try out one of the boys at "Baked Explorations" creations; Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cake with cream cheese frosting. Does that not sound fabulous? I like to be on my own when trying out their recipes. I feel to do them justice, I don't want to manage the two tikes and where their fingers are, while baking a new and special recipe.

It's an interesting one; the oatmeal and butter are soaked/melted together with boiling water and left to stand for 30 minutes. Then they are added to the rest of the ingredients. The cake effectively turns into a cross between a blondie and and oatmeal chocolate chip cookie. Divine!! I reduced the sugar, didn't add the suggested liquor (very unlike me!) and substituted some wholewheat flour. The Baked boys suggest a cream cheese frosting, although in my opinion it really makes the whole thing almost too sweet because there are a lot of chocolate chips in there. All a matter of taste though, and far be from me to criticise the Gods of baking.

Anyway, on to the results

Chocolate Cupcakes

Yields 10


1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup/ 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup low fat buttermilk


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners
  3. Spoon and level flour into the measuring cup and sift over a large bowl with the cocoa, baking soda and salt. Then whisk the ingredients to mix lightly
  4. Beat the sugar and butter with an electric mixer for about 3 minutes
  5. Add the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla. Beat until well combined
  6. With the mixer on low and starting and ending with the flour, alternate adding the flour and buttermilk to the mixer bowl
  7. Mix until just combined; over mixing will make a tough cupcake
  8. Using an ice cream scoop, fill the muffin pan and bake for approximately 18 minutes or until a tester comes out clean
  9. Cool in the pan for a couple of minutes then take the cupcakes out and cool completely on a wire rack
These are a fantastic vehicle for your favorite frosting; I love cream cheese (see below) but I have also gone the simple route in the past and dusted them with confectioner sugar; they looked just lovely.


Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cake

based on a recipe in "Baked Explorations, classic American desserts reinvented"

Yields one 9x13" pan


8 oz chocolate chips
1 cup plus 2 tablepoons all purpose flour
1/2 cup wholewheat pastry flour
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup/ 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into small cubes (cold or softened)
1 1/4 cup boiling water
2 eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Ingredients for the Cream Cheese Frosting

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
5 1/2 oz cream cheese, softened
2 cups sifted confectioner sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F
  2. Butter a 9 x 13 " baking dish. The Baked boys recommend a glass one but mine has a frozen sausage and bean casserole in it right now, so I baked in a regular metal baking pan
  3. Soak the oatmeal and butter in the boiling water. Leave for 30 seconds before stirring then stir until the butter has melted. Set aside to cool for 30 minutes
  4. Toss the chocolate chips in a bowl with the 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour (this prevents the chips from sinking when baked)
  5. When the oatmeal mixture has cooled, whisk together by hand, the eggs, then add the sugars, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon until combined
  6. Fold in the cooled oatmeal mixture and then the flours
  7. Finally, gently fold in the chocolate chips
  8. Pour the batter into the baking pan
  9. Bake for 40-45 minutes, turning gently, halfway through cooking. When done, a toothpick should come out clean

Directions to make the Frosting

  1. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter until smooth
  2. Add the cream cheese and beat on high until well combined
  3. Sift in the confectioner sugar and beat until smooth
  4. Refridgerate, covered,  for 30 minutes prior to using
A note on the frosting; make sure the butter and cream cheese are at room temperature as they will not become smooth if too cold.

A frosted cake will keep up to 3 days if refridgerated.



  1. seriously - do you have any cake left? I must try that! Do you find that cream cheese frosting needs butter? I think I like it just as well without it

  2. Yes I have cake! Will put in a tupperware for you. Will you be at the gym?
    And your point about the cream cheese; doesnt need butter. It's up to you. No rules!!

  3. Thanks it was so different and GOOD! I will be at gym tomorrow and wed weather permitting!