Who doesn’t like cupcakes? (This is a rhetorical question. If you do not like cupcakes, well, that is very unfortunate.)
Granted, some people prefer more, less, or even no frosting. Some people like vanilla over chocolate. People have different values in defining the “ideal” cupcake, be it texture, taste, flavor, frosting, design, or all of the above. Deliciousness is in the taste bud of the beholder.
This beholder right here, however, deems the ideal cupcake to be one that’s creative, delicious, super moist, and anything-but-rubbery. In a cupcake utopia, no cupcake undeserving of its name would exist.
Therefore, if a cupcake is going to be called a chocolate cupcake, it had better have a pretty dang good chocolate flavor (can you tell I’ve been burned by a chocolate cupcake recipe before?). Same goes for vanilla, or coconut, or any other cupcake imaginable. In the flavor department, cupcakes need to utterly defy their small size. They need to be feisty li’l thangs.
And feisty these certainly are! After a mishap of overflowing chocolate batter (and the smoke billowing from the oven, removal of half-baked-but-still-delicious cupcakes, window opening, and oven clean-up that followed soon thereafter), I tried again with the other half of the batch. With vivid visions of those overflowing cupcakes in my mind and smoke still singing my nose hairs, I filled each liner a little under halfway with batter. Needless to say, this approach turned out infinitely better results.
Wouldn’t you agree?
Witch-in-a-Ditch Halloween Cupcakes
“Especially Dark” Chocolate Cupcakes (slightly adapted from Hershey’s Kitchens)
- 2 cups sugar
- 1-3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa
- 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup skim milk
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup boiling water (or coffee, to intensify the chocolate flavor)
- 8-1/4″ straws, cut into thirds (2-3/4″ for each witch leg)
- Tootsie Roll Midgees (one per boot)
- Wilton yellow sparkle gel frosting
- Heat oven to 350°F. Grease or line two cupcake tins.
- Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large mixing bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of electric mixer just until combined. Stir in boiling water or coffee (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared tins.
- Bake 20-22 minutes or until done – cupcakes should spring back slightly to the touch. Let cool completely before frosting.
- Frost and distribute sprinkles on cupcakes.
- Cut each straw into thirds. To form boots, microwave each Tootsie Roll on high for 7-8 seconds. Mold into the shape of a boot and let cool slightly. While its still soft, insert straw into top of boot, rotating straw as you apply pressure. Set aside and repeat with remaining witch legs.
- Draw boot laces and/or buckles onto each cooled Tootsie Roll boot with yellow gel frosting. Let it sit to dry a while. Then insert two witch legs, boot side up, into each cupcake.