Chocolate and olive oil. Two things that I would've guessed should not be added to a recipe together, yet I was brazen enough to give it a try a couple of months ago.
Remember I mentioned playing around with goat's milk butter to make Oliver's Buttercream Frosting? Well, I had to get creative with the cupcakes too to avoid anything derived from cow's milk. Isabella really wanted a chocolate cupcake, and frankly I'm glad she was so insistent because I would've probably shied away from using olive oil in this batter otherwise.
Using artificial substitutes was not an option. Honestly, even if it's from the healthfood store, all that stuff scares me and feels a little too frankenfood-like. Butter I know. Olive oil isn't foreign. Dairy-free soybean margarine just conjures up factory-food images I'd rather not put into anything I'm cooking for people I love.
Now, I thought I was a devoted butter girl, but as you may remember from those lemon olive oil cupcakes, I started thinking a little differently recently. Sure a fat is a fat, but olive oil is a healthier one compared to butter. That means I can eat all the cupcakes I want now, right? Please just let me enjoy this dream for a few more minutes. Another thing I love about working with olive oil in baking is there's no wait time for the butter to soften. It really helps when the spontaneous urge to bake hits you.
I plan on making a big batch of these cupcakes to celebrate this July when Gina, Ilina and I are finally all in one place. And, don't be surprised if you hear us from every corner of the globe when it happens. Gina, author of Taste This, and resident baker and cook at Bowlicker, is my San Francisco Italian counterpart. The first time we met, it's as though we'd known each other for years.
Imagine my big personality shoved into the body of a five foot Indian gal, living in North Carolina. Well, meet Ilina, and like me, she tells it like it is in real life and over at her blog Dirt & Noise. She also posts a cocktail every Friday, so you can understand why we'd get along so well.
Unbelievably, Gina and Ilina have never met in real life. I'm the in real life connection. Until July. Then all hell breaks loose, and New York City will never know what happened when they come storming into town.
chocolate olive oil cupcakes
makes 18 cupcakes
I used almond milk in the batter, but if there are no dairy allergies, then feel free to swap in whole cow's milk. I don't stock skim or low fat milk, but sure those would work fine too. And if there's a nut allergy, then please definitely do not use the almond milk. That might sound like a no-brainer, but I felt the need to make it clear.
2 cups (8.5 ounces) flour
1/4 cup (1 ounce) 100% cocoa
1 tablespoon (11 grams) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (3 grams) coarse sea salt
3 large eggs (200ml), at room temperature
1 (8 ounces) cup sugar
1/2 cup (125ml) extra virgin olive oil or regular
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (125ml) whole milk or almond milk
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line one 12-cup muffin tin and one 6-cup muffin tin with paper liners; set aside. Whisk flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in a bowl; set aside.
In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, sugar and olive oil, until thick and well-mixed. Whisk in the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and pour in the milk, stirring well with a wooden spoon until just combine. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling 2/3 of the way. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until center springs back when gently touched or a metal skewer inserted comes out clean.
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