chocolate | cupcakes | frosting | frosting tips | miscellany | recipe | unique | YOYO!

Black & white.

February 25, 2011

There are a few things I want to address before I get to the baking. First: my friend Yoyo is the best. I know that I gush about her all the time, but I can’t help it. She’s fantastic. She custom made me this awesome cowl, and I am in LOVE with it. This was taken almost 2 months ago before I met the Cooking The Books ladies for coffee.

It’s a houndstooth cotton lined with warm black fleece, and it’s reversible! I’m sure she’ll make you a custom order, if you want one. She does amazing work, and her prices are crazy affordable. I plan on having her make me another for sure. Oh, and notice all that snow behind me? Ha. Sucks. It was so bright I was squinting because the sun was reflecting off all of that snow! Thankfully by now most of that is melted, or at least all gray and slushy. Today we’re having such a bad rain/wind storm! How things change.  My hair is also (slightly) longer and darker now, in case you were wondering. Anyway, the second thing I wanted to share is I joined (finally) Frosting for the Cause a month or so ago.  Frosting for the Cause is a project you can read more about at the site, but here’s a snippet:

Beginning January 1, 2011 a total of 365 sugar cookie & cupcake bakers/decorators and bloggers from across Canada and the United States will take turns doing a guest post here at Frosting for the Cause. Once a day, every day for a year you will be treated to a new and talented blogger who will showcase their home-made, hand-decorated cookies or cupcakes together with their recipes. Almost everyone, everywhere, has been touched by cancer in one form or another. The guest bakers will also share in a very personal manner with readers of Frosting for the Cause, about a woman in their life who had to face this terrible disease head-on.

Also, in accordance with their rules, I’m pledging to donate $25.00 to the American Cancer Society, and also in my post I will be telling the story of a survivor; my mom. My posting date is April 3rd, but I’ll keep reminding everyone periodically so you don’t have to remember that. I encourage all you bakers to join- it’s fun, and its for a good cause.

So now that you know what’s going on with me, let’s get back to the baking! Continuing with the black & white theme of my cowl, I thought I’d give these cupcakes another go. Last time I did them, I was relatively new to baking, and while they came out really good… I thought I’d try ’em again, using dark cocoa powder. This time I used a dual frosting technique as well. I also halved the recipe because from what I remember I got like 30 last time, and I really have no need for 30 black & white cupcakes right now. 17 is one thing. Over 30 is quite another. I only have so many family members to share them with, not to mention only so many glass domes & cake plates to store things in!

I might be a bit of a perfectionist, but I’m really not happy with my photos of these. I think it’s time to invest in a really good camera. In real life, they looked better, I promise, haha. Although despite how they look, these cupcakes are some of my absolute favorites. So delicious.

I’d suggest you make both batters at once, one after the other, then spoon them into the liners at the same time, side by side. Otherwise, whichever color you put in first will slide across the bottom.



  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup whole milk


  1. Preheat oven to 350° degrees F. Butter and flour a standard 12-cup muffin pan, or use paper liners. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt (and chocolate powder when you’re making the chocolate cupcakes); set aside.
  2. With an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition; add vanilla, and mix until combined. On low speed, beat in half the flour mixture, followed by milk; end with remaining flour mixture. Mix just until incorporated (do not overmix).
  3. Fill muffin cups with 3 tablespoons of each batter, side by side. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean, 22 to 24 minutes. Cool cupcakes in pan, 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Yeah, it’s a huge recipe. 4 eggs & a half pound of butter!  But if you halve it, it’s not bad, plus it’s definitely not as bad as these. For the frosting, I wanted to use a favorite of mine from Our Best Bites and do half vanilla and half chocolate. Be sure to read the post there on it, there are lots of weird things that can happen if you don’t use real name-brand butter or make substitutions. However, I forgot because I was making it while watching Elton John on David Letterman. I swear. So I made a new buttercream that is quite delectable from I am baker. I just used Hershey’s Special Dark unsweetened cocoa (in the cupcakes as well, however it didn’t make the buttercream quite as dark as it did the cupcakes, which was a disappointment). That was probably my fault though. Although I made a similar mistake with my last dark cocoa attempt… hmph.

Chocolate frosting never comes out good in photos, at least not for me. It always looks like shit, literally. Even with some sparkly sugar on top. Oh well.

Oh and speaking of black & white, I also received a surprise present today from Yoyo: this black & white polka dot apron! Pictures to come, of course.

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  1. I can’t find the Hershey’s Dark cocoa powder ANYWHERE in my local grocery stores!! Do you order it online? Or do grocery stores in your area carry it in stock?

  2. Hey Nicole… I’m sorry about that! I get mine at Stop & Shop, I’m not sure if all their stores carry it or not, but that’s the only place I’ve gotten it. That’s really the only place I’ve actually looked for it.

  3. I only use Hershey’s dark cocoa powder now for my chocolate ‘cakes. At my local grocery, it’s on the same shelf as the original cocoa powder, right next to it.

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