Spring gatherings always necessitate a wow! dessert and the bigger the crowd, the more obvious it becomes that the perfect solution is cupcakes. Cupcakes are easy to make, can be decorated in a variety of ways (or not at all), and allow the eaters to remain mobile (and social).
This particular cupcake is rich and dense, chocolaty, and has a tight crumb. It strikes the perfect balance of sea salt, cocoa, vanilla and coffee. If you ever ate Drake’s Cakes Devil Dogs as a kid, these cupcakes will take you right back to that special place in your memories (hopefully you eat it a little slower though, and savor it with a cup of coffee or a nice glass of red wine).
The options for toppings are endless, but primary candidates include fresh whipped heavy cream, whipped coconut cream, or a light buttercream. You could also get really crazy and go for a peanut butter frosting for over-the-top decadence. For my latest function I topped about half of the batch with coconut cream and left half plain.
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose gluten-free flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon finely ground coffee
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup flax milk
Preheat the oven to 350° and line a 12-cup muffin pan with baking cups.
Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt and baking soda into a medium sized bowl.
In a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer), beat the shortening and sugar until light and fluffy, then sprinkle in the coffee granules. With the mixer on a medium speed add the eggs one at a time, beating until each is fully incorporated before adding the next. Add the vanilla. At low speed, alternately beat in the dry ingredients and the flax milk.
Use a number 2 scoop to transfer the batter into the baking cups. Bake the cupcakes for 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cakes cool for five minutes, then remove them from the muffin tin and transfer to a cooling rack.