There’s been a cold war between cupcakes and I for many years.
Allow me to explain.
Yeah, basically, so, I hate cupcakes. Hate them. Always have. Why do they think they’re so cute? I’ve always found them so dry and dull and boring. I don’t care what is on top of them. Speaking of which, can we stop putting nonsense on top of cupcakes? Actually, not just cupcakes, any cakes. I saw one online the other day that had a whole Twix chocolate bar poking out of it – STILL IN THE WRAPPER.
But yeah, anyway. There. I hate cupcakes.
That was until one day I was very much craving a chocolate cake (that’s a good title for mhy future memoir actually…) but didn’t have any plans to see anyone or leave the house for a week, and the thought of eating an entire chocolate cake to myself is something that I am of course capable of but not entirely fond of doing when I want to have some self-respect.
So, I decided to do what I hate the most and make some cupcakes, that way I could eat as much as my cravings desired, before stashing the rest away in the freezer, ready in their contained, individual case cuteness ready to be grabbed when ready.
Now I had some ground rules.
It had to be a moist cupcake. Like I said, every cupcake ever in the existence of ever, has always been dry to me, so I needed to make sure moisture was packed in there, especially as my intention was to freeze the batch. So for this, I created an oil and yogurt/milk combination. You could of course just use buttermilk or have the same amount of milk and sour it with a teaspoon of white wine vinegar or lemon juice. And for the oil, because I wanted full flavour at every opportunity, I opted for olive oil instead of a flavourless vegetable oil (which you would be able to use if you needed to).
In addition to this, given the richness of the oil and yogurt, I want to make sure the sponge stayed light and delicate and was not too thick and cloying, so I use a plain flour and cornflour mix to create a softer, gentler crumb.
I can now officially declare the cold war to be over.
I was so happy with the final product that I actually ended up eating them all over the space of a week to myself, so in fact, would probably have been better off making a cake. However, I had enough ingredients to make another batch which I froze. I can absolutely confirm that these cupcakes are so good, even after a thaw, because it still retains that squidgy moistness, but maintains to hold on to the crumbly architecture of a feathery sponge.
I like these cupcakes adorned with nothing more than a mere dusting of icing sugar, but there’s nothing stopping you from making a buttercream. I have an Almond Butter Cream in my book of Christmas recipes, Get Stuffed, (download for free here) which would be fantastic with this, but there’s also something wonderful about serving these cupcakes zapped warm in the microwave alongside a dollop of cold, cold vanilla ice cream and a light dusting of cocoa powder.
Makes roughly 18 – 20 cupcakes
250g plain yogurt
1 tbs full-fat milk
125ml olive oil
200g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g plain flour
35g cocoa powder
1 tbs baking powder
Icing sugar (to serve – optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180C and line a metal 6-hole cupcake tray with paper cake liners.
- In a jug or small bowl, stir together the yogurt and milk, just to loosen the yogurt slightly and leave to one side while you continue with your cake mix.
- In a large bowl, combine the olive oil and sugar, stirring until you have a vibrant yellow gritty mix that resembles lemon sherbet.
- In a jug, beat together the eggs and pour these into the mixing bowl along with the vanilla extract, and mix until a grainy batter begins to form.
- In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cornflour, coco powder and baking powder with a good pinch of sea salt and stir together with a fork until everything has combined to a dusty, light brown colour, and there are no big lumps in the powders.
- Using a spoon, gradually add the bowl of dry ingredients to the bowl of wet ingredients, and once a dark batter has begun to form, pour in the milk and yogurt mix that has been sitting to one side. This will bring the batter to a thick texture.
- Once all has combined, spoon the batter into your prepared cake liners, filling them up to just over the halfway mark.
- Slip the tray in the oven and bake for roughly 20 minutes until the cupcakes feels springy to the touch, and a cake tester comes out clean when prodded into the sponge.
- Place on a wire rack to cool for roughly 15 minutes before removing the liners from the tin and allowing to sit on the cooler rack alone for a further 15 minutes.
- Repeat with the remaining batter in the bowl, filling up liners as you go. Of course, you will get this done quicker if you had a 12-hole tray but like I said… I went years hating cupcakes so only ever settled for a 6-hole. Oh well. Anything good is worth waiting for.
- Of course, dust with icing sugar to serve, or see intro for more serving suggestions.