It’s a late October afternoon and the world outside is cold and grey. There is sleet falling from the cloudy sky and those with places to be are grumbling out on the streets below. But you?
You don’t have anywhere you have to be. You are inside and it is warm, the lighting is romantically soft, there is music playing and it sounds vaguely French. Perhaps Italian. It’s acoustic, in any language. Your best friend is with you and you are gabbing in the kitchen. She’s sitting on the counter, watching you mix ingredients and laughing at the splotch of flour on your shirt as she tells you about the book she just finished. The air is a dreamy cocktail of cocoa and vanilla and you are at peace.
Sounds just like every Sunday afternoon, right?
Okay, so, maybe everything doesn’t always fall picture-perfectly into place, and maybe you have too much going on in your life to ever comfortably assert that you have nowhere to be. Maybe your music is in English and a little rough around the edges, but we truly believe that no matter what else is going on, there is no more effective shortcut to cozy than baking, and what could possibly be cozier than a batch of chocolate cupcakes?
Here is our classic and fool-proof recipe to help set the mood.
1 and 1/3 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 and 1/2 cups white sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk
Step 1: Preheat oven to 350, and sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa, and salt.
Step 2: Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Step 3: Add eggs one at a time, and the vanilla extract. Then add the flour mixture and the milk, alternating between the two and beating well between each addition.
Step 4: Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full. Of course, we couldn’t resist adding Smarties to our cupcake centres… and potato chips as an experiment
because YOLO. Bake the cakes for 15-17 minutes.
Step 5: While the cupcakes are baking, prepare the frosting. We were going for a Halloween-y look with a dark chocolate cake and orange frosting, but, as we soon realized, turning white frosting orange is hard.
We used a pre-made frosting to save time, and added red and yellow food colouring, but the closest we could get was this interesting salmon hue. At best, we can say its grapefruit coloured (at worst, pepto-bismol).
Step 6: Frost and enjoy. Protip: we are too cheap/lazy to buy actual piping bags, so we improvised with a ziplock. The result was definitely homey, but still beautiful and delicious.