Thursday, March 15, 2012

Midnight Sin Chocolate Cupcakes with FakeOut Buttercream Frosting

I didn't really have a good reason to make cupcakes yesterday other than I wanted them.  Every time I go to the grocery store I see all the baked goods that I can't have because of dairy.  I've yet to try making a 100% dairy free cupcake with frosting and decided yesterday was the day to give it a try.  These actually turned out so good you wouldn't even realize they were dairy-free.  Of course if you can have dairy I suggest using it but for us non-dairy goers this recipe was awesome.  I found the cake recipe at Not So Humble Pie and the frosting recipe was just an altered version of a Wilton recipe.  The original recipe was called Midnight Sin Chocolate Cake.  It was good but I'm thinking the original recipe would have been magnificent.  If you can have dairy I'd definitely check out the original recipe that includes a chocolate mousse filling and chocolate ganache topping.  It does definitely look sinful.   And of course anything dessert in my house gets a healthy dose of sprinkles because my kids think that is the perfect finishing touch to our masterpiece!       

Midnight Sin Chocolate Cake

2 3/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup dutch processed cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup boiling water
1 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons instant expresso powder
1 3/4 cups, spooned and leveled unbleached all-purpose flour
4 large egg yolks
2 large eggs
1/4 cup almond milk (You can also use buttermilk)
1/2 tsp. lemon juice

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Place a rack in the lower third of the oven and set a baking stone on it. (The stone helps the cake bake evenly and prevents humped tops. If you don't have a stone, the cake will survive don't worry. Just be prepared to trim any uneven tops and make sure the cake gets an adequate amount of time in the oven to fully cook.)

You'll need two 9" or two 8"cake pans for this cake or muffin tin. Spray the pans with non-stick spray oil and then line them with parchment (sides and bottom--this is a sticky cake) then spray the parchment with even more non-stick spray. 

In a medium sauce pan, combine the sugar, dutch processed cocoa, salt and baking soda. Stir with a whisk until combined and then slowly add the boiling water while whisking. This will bubble up a bit while the baking soda reacts with any remaining acidity in the dutch processed cocoa. Once thoroughly mixed, place the sauce pan over medium-high heat and bring back to a boil. Then remove from heat and allow to stand for a minimum of 10 minutes. This step makes the dutch processed cocoa even more alkaline, so our cake will be nearly black. 

While waiting on the chocolate mixture, get your mise en place goin' on! Measure out the flour, almond milk and add lemon juice to that, and separate the eggs.   Add the oil and vanilla to the bowl of your stand mixer with the paddle attachment (this can also be done by hand with a wooden spoon). 
When the chocolate mixture is ready, stir in the instant espresso powder. (This won't make the cake taste like coffee, rather it enhances the chocolate flavor of the cake. Dutch processed cocoa has great color but it isn't quite as flavorful as it's light-colored acidic cousin, natural cocoa.) Add the chocolate mixture to your stand mixer and mix on low speed for about 20 seconds. Add the flour and continue to mix on low until combined. With a minimum amount of beating, add the egg yolks, eggs, vanilla and milk. The batter will be very thin. 

Divide the batter between your two pans and place in the oven on your baking stone.  Bake for 25-30 minutes (for 9" rounds. Add 5-7 more minutes for 8" rounds) until the center of the cake springs back when you touch it.  For cupcakes it takes about 18-20 minutes.  Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Run a thin knife around the edge of the cake to loosen and invert onto a flat dish lined with parchment.   Allow to cool completely then wrap the rounds individually in plastic and place in the refrigerator to chill before assembling.

FakeOut Buttercream Frosting:

1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/2 cup non-dairy butter substitute, softened
3/4 cup cocoa 
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
3 tbsp. almond milk

This makes about 3 cups of frosting.  In large bowl, cream shortening and butter with electric mixer. Add cocoa and vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use. For best results, keep icing bowl in refrigerator when not in use. Refrigerated in an airtight container, this icing can be stored 2 weeks. Rewhip before using.


  1. Looks nice and yummy. Thanks for sharing the recipe. I will surely try this out.

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  2. Hmm, I wish you could've made my birthday cake!