Chocolate Cupcakes with Bittersweet Glaze (AKA Baby Cakes)

Chocolate and I have a love hate relationship.  Growing up, I was never one of those people that craved chocolate.  On the few occasions that I would actually get dessert when I was growing up (my birthday, family get-togethers, etc…) I would choose vanilla over chocolate – I definitely craved vanilla – cake, pudding, ice-cream – I even (I know, brace yourself…) took the chocolate chips out of chocolate-chip cookies.

Then I went to France.  I remember my first pain au chocolate – it was amazing.  The chocolate was so delicious and creamy – and the texture with the buttery croissant made me want to cry.  I realized then that I really did like chocolate – but good chocolate.  As an adult, I do crave chocolate from time to time – and I only cook with really good chocolate.  Just like wine, my philosophy is that no matter what the chocolate – if you can’t eat it alone, you shouldn’t be baking with it.

I found this recipe in Molly Wizenberg’s book A Homemade Life – she talks about how she loves cupcakes with a thin layer of chocolate on top – almost like a glaze.  Except for my obsession with cream-cheese frosting, I would have to say I agree – I would rather just eat the cake than have a pile of sweet frosting.  These cupcakes were amazing…it was definitely a chocolate lovers dream.  The chocolate glaze on top was just perfect for people that don’t like sweet frosting.  This cupcake was so good, that I had to rename it a Baby Cake.  These are definitely to be eaten slowly, to enjoy every bite.



  • 1 ounce semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup hot brewed coffee
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup well-stirred plain whole-milk yogurt (not low-fat or non-fat)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped


Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.  Line the wells of a standard-sized muffin tin with paper liners or use silicone cupcake holders.

Put the semisweet chocolate in a medium bowl with the hot coffee.  Let stand, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth and opaque.

Meanwhile, in another medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer or, alternatively, a mixing bowl, if you plan to use handheld beaters, beat the egg on medium speed until it is pale yellow, about 1 minute.  Add the oil, yogurt, and vanilla, beating well. Gradually pour in the melted chocolate mixture, and beat to thoroughly combine.  Add the dry ingredients all at once, and beat on low speed until the batter is just combined.  Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the slides of the bowl and briefly stir to make sure that all the dry ingredients are absorbed.

Spoon the batter into the wells of the muffin tin, making sure that it is evenly distributed.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of one of the cupcakes comes out clean.  Transfer the pan to a wire rack, and cool for 20 minutes before – carefully: they’re tender! – removing the cupcakes.  Allow them to cool completely before glazing.

To make the glaze, melt the bittersweet chocolate in a metal or glass bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water.  Stir frequently to prevent scorching.  When the chocolate is completely smooth, it’s ready.  Working with one cupcake at a time, spoon a heaping teaspoonful of melted chocolate on top.  Tilt and rotate the cupcake to coax the chocolate out to the edge.  Alternatively, use a knife or icing spatula to spread the chocolate.  The top of the cupcake should be entirely covered with a thin layer of chocolate.  Spoon on more chocolate as needed.

Set the cupcakes aside at room temperature until ready to serve, at least an hour.  The chocolate glaze will firm up a bit and become matte. 

These cupcakes are even better stored in an airtight container the next day…

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Chocolate Cupcakes with Bittersweet Glaze

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5 thoughts on “Chocolate Cupcakes with Bittersweet Glaze (AKA Baby Cakes)

  1. Oh, these Baby Cakes look divine. You and my daughter would have a great time eating cupcakes (or cake) together, because she is firmly in the camp of “eat all the frosting and leave the cake!” I think what you’ve got here is a nice balance between the two. Now…I have to go find some chocolate. Thanks for sharing the recipe. :D

    Anyway, I found you through TasteSpotting and am writing to say that if you have any photos that aren’t accepted there, I’d love to publish them. Visit my site (below), it’s a lot of fun! I hope you will consider it.


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