Borrowing a classic ingredient from a 1950's chocolate cake recipe, the secret to this easy and downright decadent cupcake is mayonnaise. Yuck! Mayonnaise you exclaim! But think about it, mayo is a smooth emulsion of egg and oil with a touch of lemon juice, vinegar, salt, and sugar. All normal ingredients in cake. But the magic is in mayo's egg-oil emulsion, creating a lovely, moist density along with a tender crumb and decadent dark chocolate flavor. It’s down-right perfect. By substituting the best cup-for-cup gluten-free flour blend on the planet, I’ve got my cake and can eat it too! And let’s not forget the frosting. Chocolate cream cheese is my fave!
Easy Chocolate Cupcakes – adapted Cook’s Illustrated
Makes 12 cupcakes or one 8” square cake
1 ½ cups gfJules gluten-free flour blend
1 cup sugar
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
½ cup Dutch-processed cocoa (I recommend Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa)
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup hot brewed coffee
⅔ cup mayonnaise (I recommend Hellman’s Real)
1 large egg, room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350°F. Line a 12 section muffin tin with paper liners or grease an 8-inch square baking pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, grease parchment, then flour the pan.
Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl.
In another bowl, combine cocoa and chopped chocolate. Pour hot coffee over cocoa mixture and let it sit, covered, for 5 minutes.
Gently whisk chocolate mixture until smooth and cool for 10 minutes. Then whisk in the mayonnaise, egg, and vanilla.
Whisk the mayonnaise mixture into the flour mixture until well-combined.
Spoon batter into cupcake liners until nearly full or pour/scrape into prepared pan.
Bake cupcakes 17-19 minutes, cake 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean with a few crumbs attached.
Let cupcakes cool in pan about 10 minutes on a wire rack, then carefully remove them from pan to finish cooling.
Let cake cool in pan on wire rack 1-2 hours.
If you don't plan to eat these cupcakes the first day, I recommend freezing them and thawing as needed. Gluten-free baked goods tend to stale quickly.
Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
Enough for 12 cupcakes or one 8” square cake
4 oz. block-style cream cheese at room temperature
¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
½ tsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. salt
1 ½ oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, combine the cream cheese and butter until smooth and creamy. Mix in the vanilla and salt.
On low, mix in the melted chocolate until thoroughly combined.
Add the sugar, ½ cup at a time, mixing on low, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. When completely combined, whip the frosting for 10 seconds until fluffy.
Use immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to two weeks. Allow refrigerated frosting to stand to room temperature until it is spreadable.
Frosting may be frozen for up to 3 months. When ready to use, let it thaw in the refrigerator, then on the counter top to room temperature. Beat it with a spoon before spreading, as minor separation may occur during the thawing process.