I have a strange relationship with sweets. I’m kind of obsessed with making them, but I’m not really that much into eating them. I don’t have a big sweet tooth (I’ll take wine and cheese over cookies almost any day of the week). And when I do get hit with a sweets craving, it’s usually short-lived. Like, if I bake a batch of something sweet, I usually take one bite of it and I’m done. And since I live alone, that usually means I’m left with a whole lot of something sweet on my hands.
It has always been my dream to come up with a recipe that would bake just a teeny tiny something, just a single serving of a delicious homemade treat–just enough to scratch the itch and nothing more, nothing less. So I started thinking about it. The more I thought about it, the more I realized this dream recipe of mine would also have to be extremely quick and easy, and would have to call for very basic ingredients that are always around the house (so that I could whip it up in the middle of the night even with an empty pantry, naturally). There should be no butter that would have to soften before I could begin. There should be no eggs I’d have to figure out how to divide into fractions. There should be no messy chocolate to melt. There shouldn’t be a lot of dishes to wash in the end. Most importantly, the resulting item should be the real deal. It shouldn’t be a pale imitation of the real article, but rather it should be just as delicious as a full batch of the very best homemade cake. (Because there’s nothing worse than trying to quench a craving with a sub-par treat, am I right?)
This seemed like an impossible dream, but I decided to give it a try. I took one of my tried-and-true chocolate cake recipes, one that uses only simple ingredients that are always in my kitchen, one that has no butter or eggs or melted chocolate. I cut it down to a tiny fraction of the original scale. I did some math. I made some calculations. I tried some test batches. And ladies and gentlemen, I am very, very pleased to announce that I DID IT! I believe I have developed the perfect mini recipe. It makes two–exactly two–moist, rich, sophisticated, decadent chocolate cupcakes. Real cupcakes.
I believe this may be the greatest thing I have ever done in my life. Would you like the recipe? It would be my pleasure. Here goes.
Like a standard recipe, you’ll start by combining all the dry ingredients in one bowl. But unlike a standard recipe, you won’t need much. You’ll only need 3 tablespoons of flour. I mean isn’t that just… cute?
Then pop those babies in the oven!
…and whisk it all together. Pop it in the fridge for about 10-15 minutes to slightly set, which will give it a better spreading consistency for icing the cupcakes. After chilling it, whisk it again, then let it rest at room temperature.
And if your craving was really truly teeny-tiny, you can save one cupcake for another day. Pop it in a take-out container then stash it in the freezer. When the urge strikes, take it out and let it thaw at room temperature for 20 minutes or so, and it will be good as new.
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda (just eyeball half of a quarter-teaspoon and it will be fine)
1/16 teaspoon salt (otherwise known as a pinch)
2 tablespoons cold water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/16 teaspoon vanilla (ie, just a few drops)
1 tablespoon chocolate chips (optional)
Chocolate Frosting (mini recipe follows)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Whisk all the dry ingredients together in a small bowl. In a second small bowl or spouted measuring cup, combine the wet ingredients. Add the dry to the wet and stir till combined, whisking well. Divide batter between two cupcake liners and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Bake for 18 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Allow to cool before frosting.
Chocolate Frosting For Two Cupcakes
By Brett Bara
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
3 tablespoons confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon half and half or any milk/cream
dash of salt
Melt the butter in a small bowl. Add all the remaining ingredients to the butter and whisk to combine. Refrigerate for 10-15 minutes or until frosting is partially set. Whisk again then allow to rest at room temperature until cupcakes are cool enough to frost. (Start making the frosting as soon as the cupcakes go in the oven, so that it will be set and ready to go once the cupcakes are cool.)