Devil Dog Cupcakes

Makes 8 cupcakes

So, why are these called Devil Dog Cupcakes, and not plain old chocolate cupcakes? Well, funny enough, the cake I made for Mikey’s 50th birthday was a ring ding inspired on. In making these cupcakes, I realized the taste of the final baked ones reminded me of a the old Drake’s treat called Devil Dogs (do they even make them anymore?). These cupcakes are much lighter in texture, but they chocolate stands out, whereas there’s just enough sugar in the cake to add balance without it being sweet. That’s what I remember Devil Dogs’ cake tasting like; I’m sure it’s changed if they still exist.

I thought about piping some frosting into the centers, but knew my cupcakes were cool enough to frost, but definitely not to fill (we wanted to sing happy birthday before the sun went down). If you leave the cupcakes simply frosted without toasting, and close your eyes, you’ll float back to your Devil Dog childhood, eating days.

A few notes: I used my vintage pan, and apparently 8-cup tins were quite common at one time. A modern 6-cup muffin tin should work fine, or perhaps a 6-cup jumbo muffin pan. This recipe should, in theory, also work for a single 8-inch layer cake, or two-layer 6-inch cake. Keep in mind that I haven’t baked it that way myself, though, so experiment at your own risk (translate: no nasty comments). And please share with us if you do try baking it in a different size pan—crowd sourcing at it’s best (and tastiest!).

Also, I opted for maple sugar in this recipe, even though the frosting uses regular cane sugar. I wanted them to stand alone as separate recipes, even if they’re a contradiction in terms of sweetening agents once put together. If you prefer to use cane sugar (or that’s all you have on hand), then swap in 1/2 cup (50 grams) of granulated cane sugar.

Regarding the buttermilk, you could omit the baking soda and swap in regular milk, but the resulting cake will not be as light and airy (it’ll still be great!). You can also make your own soured milk to use by adding 1 1/2 teaspoons of cider vinegar to a measuring cup. Fill it with enough milk to reach the 1/2 cup line, and you’re good to go.

3/4 cups (110 grams) whole wheat pastry flour

1/4 cup (25 grams) cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoons (3 grams) baking soda

1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) baking powder

1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) sea salt

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick / 56 grams) butter, softened

7 tablespoons (66 grams) granulated maple sugar

1 large egg, at room temperature

1/2 cup (120 m) buttermilk

3 tablespoons (45 ml) brewed coffee

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

7-Minute Marshmallow Frosting

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line an 8-cup muffin tin with parchment paper cups.

Add the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt to a small bowl. Whisk to blend.

Add the butter and sugar to a separate, clean bowl. Using a hand mixer, beat until creamy and well combined, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the egg, and beat until well blended, about 1 minute. Add the buttermilk, coffee, vanilla, and flour mixture to the bowl. Starting with the mixer on the lowest speed, mix just until combined, and the batter comes together. Stop the mixer, and use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Turn the mixer onto medium-high, and beat the batter for 30 seconds more.

Fill the cupcake tins 2/3 full. Bake cupcakes for 15 minutes, or until a metal skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let rest on a cooling rack for 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from the tin, and let them finish cooling completely on a wire rack.

Swirl dollops of marshmallow frosting on top of the cooled cupcakes. Serve as-is, or for an extra special treat, run them under the broiler for about 60 seconds, until the frosting is golden to your desired doneness (you may need to rotate the pan halfway through to ensure even browning).