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Jun 16, 2005 05:54 PM

Moist, rich cupcakes?

  • d

Does anyone have any recipes or tips for cupcakes that are just unbelievably rich and moist? I've tried some recipes and can't figure out how to get the cupcake of my dreams.

I had the perfect cupcake at a B&B and should've asked for the recipe then. Unfortunately, they're gone now.

I'd love any help!

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  1. j
    JK Grence (the Cosmic Jester)

    Biggest thing to do is make sure your oven is functioning right. Get an oven thermometer and leave it in there- your thermostat can be off by a surprising amount. Second thing is to take them out just a little before you think they're done. If you poke a tester in and get some crumbs, they're perfect. If the tester comes out clean, it's overdone and dry.

    1. Do you want chocolate cupcakes? I just made a cake following the back of a box of Hershey's unsweetened cocoa powder.

      The first thing I thought when I finished was "Wow, this batter would be great for making poofy chocolate cupcakes."

      The cakes almost puffed out of the pan while in the oven, even though I filled each pan only halfway. It stayed so moist that I had trouble telling whether it was done using the touch test. I had to stick a toothpick in it just to make sure, and even then I left it in an extra five minutes because it just looked so darned soft.

      I substituted half of the a/p flour with Swan's cake flour, and the result was really really fluffy, moist chocolate cake. I was really hesitant because a) Hershy's isn't great chocolate and b) how could it taste chocolatey with powder instead of real chocolate? Wow, was I wrong. The result is fanTASTic. I've been eating it nonstop all day. I think it was a combination of using some cake flour and really new baking powder.

      The recipe does not make a refined, fancy dessert. But who wants that in a cupcake anyway? My friend and I agree that this recipe brings you back to your childhood, and will make you want to dig in with your bare hands and make a huge mess.

      6 Replies
      1. re: nooodles

        I found that most recipes on back of boxes or packaging are really on the money. My ex-father was in the food industry and he said the companies spend big bucks on developing those recipes to make them fool-proof yet delicious. I've yet to encounter a bad package recipe.

        I made some brownie with some coco powder box and it was fabulous too.

        1. re: Wendy Lai

          Coincidentally, I'm currently reading What Einstein Told His Cook and R. Wolke says the exact same thing. It makes sense; they want you to keep buying their product, so they'd better have some great recipes on the box! Plus, I assume a lot of those recipes are the winners at those national cooking contests you see on FoodTV all the time.

          1. re: Wendy Lai

            I had an off the box/can recipe with cocoa powder for brownies... and it was to die for. I haven't made it in years... may be time to go get some cocoa powder

          2. re: nooodles

            "how could it taste chocolatey with powder instead of real chocolate?"

            It was discussed here a while back that cocoa is more chocolate than chocolate. It is the pure essence of chocolate, if you will, where as bar chocolate still has the cocoa butter. Thus, it makes perfect sense that cocoa makes a more intense chocolate flavor.

            As to Hersheys, you could try their recipe w/ Valrhona cocoa powder if you really want to go over the top. I usually mix the two.

            1. re: danna
              Caitlin McGrath

              What is classic devil's food cake if not chocolatey? It's made only with cocoa powder.

            2. re: nooodles

              The brownie recipe on the box is very good too.

            3. This is the ONLY chocolate cake recipe allowed in our house! :) It was my grandma's, then my dad's, and now mine! I don't have a frosting recipe for it b/c my dad is the only one who can make good frosting, so I just have him make it for me when I make the cupcakes or cake! It is a VERY moist recipe!

              Chocolate Sour Cream Cake

              1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
              2 1/2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
              1 egg
              1 cup sugar
              1 cup sour cream
              1 1/4 cups sifted cake flour (all-purpose works fine too)
              1/4 tsp. baking soda
              1 t. vanilla

              Grease 2 layer pans, one 12x9, or muffin pan (use liners if you use a muffin pan.)

              Melt butter and chocolate over low heat.

              Beat egg, add sugar and beat well. Add sour cream and beat.

              Sift flour with baking soda and mix in by hand, do not beat in. Add melted butter,chocolate, and vanilla and hand mix.

              Pour into prepared pan and bake at 350 45 minutes for bundt pan or 30 minutes for the layer pans or muffin pan. Cool 10 minutes. Invert and cool completely.

              6 Replies
              1. re: Katie

                thanks for the recipe... I made the cake last night. the only problem was that it didn't rise at all. I am thinking maybe I over-beat the eggs? the batter didn't "pour", it was really thick. I mostly spread it in the pan. is there anything I'm missing?

                also.. it wasn't very chocolatey... but it was moist, dense.

                since you didn't include the frosting recipe, I made a raspberry filling, covered it with chocolate ganache and whipped cream and fresh raspberries. all in all, good, but disappointing.

                1. re: megan

                  Not the one who posted the recipe, but noticed that there's no baking powder, little baking soda, and not a whole lot of chocolate (for 2 cake pans). Not the same thing, but I made a banana bread last night that used 1 tsp. each of baking powder and soda. It rose fine, but the nuts and choc. chips sank to the bottom (even though I dusted in flour and layered in batter)! So you're not alone in baking disappointments...

                  1. re: megan

                    I'll check with my dad again on the recipe, b/c usually it looks pretty soupy! I'm sorry about that... I will let you know! It always turns out, so I hope I didn't lead you in the wrong direction! I apologize if I did!

                    1. re: Katie

                      I'd appreciate the feedback on the recipe... and thanks for the idea all the same. it was a lot of fun.. esp. since we had some late rain last night, hubbie worked late, a chill in the air. totally perfect for a little baking adventure.

                      1. re: megan

                        Here's where I made the mistake... I didn't have the recipe with me and I thought I could find the right one online, but I should have just waited! I feel really bad about it, and once I get the recipe from my dad, I will be sure to post it! And I would really like it if you would try it again at that point! I really am sorry! :(

                        1. re: Katie

                          well, you could always bake me a cake and mail it to me to make up for it.

                          just kidding... would love to have the recipe when you get a chance. I already have ideas for changing my raspberry/ganache combo... and it really is an easy recipe, so I'm looking forward to trying it again. Great food is always a product of experimentation... and my hubbie likes being my guinea pig... particularly if there is chocolate cake involved.

                          if easier.. you can e-mail me:


                2. I have eaten one too many dry, lackluster cupcakes (and cakes), but I think the key is to have either sour cream or buttermilk in the batter. IMO, if you're going to make cupcakes or cake, then you have to go all the way w/ the fat and not cut corners. Doesn't have to be obscene, just not too lightened.

                  Check the Food Network website for Barefoot Contessa's recipes. Her cupcakes always look yummy, but she def. doesn't skimp on the fat. Also check Martha Stewart website. Good luck.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Carb Lover

                    That's another thing that shocked me about the Hershey's recipe. I always thought buttermilk, sour cream, or tons of butter was necessary to make cake moist.

                    The only fat in the Hershy's cake is 1/2 a cup of vegetable oil. The recipe is enough for two tall 8" cakes or two thin 9" cakes. And it's moist! It really really is. I've only baked it once, but if others are game I'd love to see if it was just a fluke. Or I'll make it again and post back. I already sent half to work with BF and ate 1/2 the rest myself. It's moist and fluffy enough that I'd be willing to use it for ice cream cake.

                    And frankly, I'm no whiz with the oven, so if it worked for me it'd work for anyone who can work a cake mix.

                    1. re: nooodles

                      Yes, nooodles, veg. oil can also do the trick! A good friend had a recipe passed down to her for a basic chocolate cake that is rich and moist...and has 1/2 cup veg. oil, IIRC. The recipe is super simple, and quite delicious, as far as basic chocolate cakes go. I think I like brownies from a mix b/c they have oil instead of butter.

                      I would normally take you up on your replication challenge, but alas, I don't really like chocolate cake...more of a custard, ice cream, fruit kind of gal.

                      1. re: nooodles

                        As a by-the-way, buttermilk is generally very low in fat (1/2% in the most widely available brand in my area) - far, far less than sour cream, less even than 1% milk. It's the acidity that tenderizes in this case, not the fat. I love buttermilk-based baked goods, because they generally have a rich, tender crumb, but you aren't paying in fat.

                        1. re: curiousbaker

                          Thanks for the info. I knew that buttermilk was relatively low in fat, but didn't know that the acid was what aided in a moist, tender crumb. I suppose that sour cream provides both acid and fat. I've always liked donuts that had some buttermilk or sour cream in them.

                    2. The Best Recipe (by the cook's illustrated people) has a marvelous (we poked them and oohed and aahed for ten minutes as soon as they were cool enough to split open!) chocolate cupcake recipe. it's a variation of their chocolate cake recipe.

                      i hope that helps.