Why is it that when you make snack cakes in muffin tins, that they are not called muffins? I have decided that unless you frost them, you really can’t call them cupcakes – although truthfully, that’s what they should be called. In France, you almost never find cupcakes – that is definitely an American dessert. What you do find is little miniature cakes though, with no frosting – and they don’t need any frosting, they are so delicious and moist, you don’t need anything to distract from the wonderful cake. I am not a huge frosting person anyway, unless it is cream cheese or marshmallow – both are not too sweet, and definitely enhance a cake, instead of turning it into matter that holds the frosting on.
This recipe was printed in David Leibiwitz’s book Sweet Life in Paris – and his recipes are excellent. These cakes are not something you would see in a patisserie, but something that a French mother would make for her kids as a snack. These cakes were amazing – the little bit of almond extract really went a long way – these cakes were moist and extremely flavorful. The top hardened slight upon cooling, but the inside of the cakes stayed moist for days. If you are looking for a rich chocolate flavor, look somewhere else – these are just subtle, but oh so worth it. Even though they are called snack cakes, I think that serving these with coffee in the morning would be acceptable. Hey, just call them muffins, and you are good to go.
- 7 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper cupcake liners or lightly butter the pan.
In a heatproof bowl set over simmering water, melt the chocolate with 1/4 cup of the oil. Once melted and smooth, remove from the heat. (Alternately, you can do this in the microwave on high for 30 seconds, then in 15 second increments, stirring well between each until smooth.)
In another bowl, mix the remaining 1/4 cup oil with yogurt, sugar, eggs and vanilla and almond extracts.
In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the yogurt mixture. Stir lightly a couple times, then add the melted chocolate and stir until just smooth.
Divide the batter among the muffin cups and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until they feel barely set in the middle and a tester or toothpick comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack before serving with coffee and a nice dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream and any berries you can scrounge up in your fridge. Or, you know, as is.
Do ahead: These cakes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for four days.
For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here: Chocolate Yogurt Snack Cakes