Sometimes you just need a good old regular chocolate cupcake with chocolate frosting. But I’ve learned through the years that “chocolate cupcake” is, (in the words of a meeting I attended recently at work where we were trying to define our team “culture”) a “black-hole word.” When I think of chocolate cupcakes, I think of elementary school birthdays and Safeway. But you probably have your own definition of what a “chocolate cupcake” should taste and look like.
In my memory, it was regular policy back at my elementary school for the parents to send or bring their kids’ favorite treat for the whole class to enjoy. It was a bit of a competition. Some parents would go the homemade route and bring in cookies, or Rice Krispy treats. Others — and these were always my favorite — would go the non-traditional route and bring in Twinkies or other Hostess Goodies (side note: do you remember when they were going to never make Twinkies again? Pretty sure now that that was DEFINITELY a marketing ploy to get people to stock up or try them to see what they were going to miss, and then get addicted).
These were obviously great days, but there were sometimes kids who brought in Safeway cupcakes for their treat.
Don’t get me wrong, as a kid I probably couldn’t care less. Sugar was sugar and I was happy to eat treats. I bet I even brought in Safeway cupcakes to class for my birthday. But now the thought of Safeway cupcakes (or any grocery store cupcakes besides maybe Whole Foods) — chocolate, vanilla, with colored (ew ew ew!) “buttercream” frosting really grosses me out. Their “chocolate” flavor tastes very un-chocolatey, and I’m convinced the frosting is just white frosting with brown food coloring.
So now that I’m through with that rant….let me give you a better way. This chocolate cupcake recipe hits all my requirements for what makes a good chocolate cupcake. In my world, the base should be sweet, and taste faintly of chocolate. And the top should be ganache — or basically melted chocolate with a splash of cream & some corn syrup. This helps achieve the perfect balance of “cake” and “chocolate,” and you can add more frosting if you want a more pure chocolate taste.
These were so good, we had to give them away when we baked them, or risk eating them all in one day. But now I kind of regret it and wish I had more to eat right now. At least my birthday is coming up this month!