I searched all over the internet to find a recipe and find one I did. As well as a rockin' recipe for chocolate frosting. So I proceeded to do my thing in the kitchen (man, I make a mess!). I produced 2 batches of the best cupcakes ever and then sat in front of them...looking at them. I hadn't been invited anywhere, I wasn't having a party (I'm in exile), and I was supposed to start a diet on Monday. The cupcakes and I needed to part ways...pronto! I took a couple down to the concierge and gave some away to friends, but yesterday the first floor of my two story cupcake palace was still almost fully occupied.
My friend Doreen stopped by on her way to her first-time visit to my neighborhood beauty shop and I decided to go along and catch up on some beauty shop chatter. And to find a home for my creations. I donned my dark glasses to hide my still swollen visage, put the lid on the chocolate beauties and off we went, my cupcake valise in hand.
I passed out cupcakes to the ladies in the shop and as more came in to chat (it's that kind of shop and I love it) I continued to give them away. I explained the concept of a cupcake...you simply peel off the paper and eat it with your fingers. This approach did not seem to work with The Ladies of the Salon. They tried as per my instructions...but it just wasn't going to fly. They all asked for a spoon.
The ladies adored the "little cakes". Not too sweet, so moist, trés fondant... yada. yada, yada. And for some reason, watching them delicately holding this little cake wrapped in bright paper in the palm of their hands and slowly eating it with a spoon made my cupcakes seem so...special. More like a grand dessert than a picnic food.
By the time Doreen was shampooed, coiffed, and welcomed into the folds of The Ladies of the Salon, I still had a few left. Off we went to Hublot, the neighborhood bar/cafe that my friend Fehti owns. I passed the rest of them out to all the guys stopping by for their afternoon coffee/pastis/whiskey/beer. Once again, I gave them instructions. But, within seconds they too were asking Fehti for spoons. Come on guys, man up! This is a cupcake we're talking about! Still it was really sort of adorable. Several did, however, point out that they looked a little like les crottes des chiens (we're experts here in Aix on piles of dog doo because we're constantly stepping in it or working to avoid it). So in effect, they were a little more masculine about the whole thing!
So now, I'm going to share the recipe because people have been asking for it. The cupcakes are an old recipe from World War II, developed by some ingenius soul who couldn't easily get her hands on eggs, milk, butter or sugar. So, in fact, they're vegan and lactose free. And in spite of that... absolutely delicious. The best. I found the recipe on Food.com but it's an old recipe and can be found everywhere.
1 1/2 C. flour
1 C. granulated sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/3 C. cocoa powder
1/2 C. oil
1 C. water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 T. vinegar
Mix these ingredients until moist and well blended, fill the cupcake cups about 3/4 full and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
The frosting rocks as well. Light, creamy, not too sweet and it doesn't make you feel as if you're eating piles of sugary fat. It's made with flour and is cooked so it takes a little more time. But it's the best I've ever tried and I'm not a great fan of frosting. I got the recipe on Kelsey's site but I'll rewrite it for you here.
Best Chocolate Frosting
2/3 C. granulated sugar
1/3 C. flour
3 T. cocoa powder
1 C. milk
1 C. butter
1 C. chopped semi sweet chocolate or chocolate chips.
Cook the flour, sugar, cocoa and and milk over low heat, whisking as you go and as it thickens. When it gets to the consistency of a thin pudding (dunk the back of a spoon in it. If your finger leaves a path as you sweep it across the spoon, it's done). Let this cool or put it in the fridge. It cannot be warm for the next step.
Some time later....after the chocolate mixture has cooled... melt the chocolate in the microwave. Don't overheat, it will get grainy. In a separate bowl, cream the butter with an electric mixer and then add the cooled cooked chocolate mixture. Whip that up and add the melted chocolate. Whip again. "Whip it good". If you'd like, add a teaspoon of instant espresso powder to the mix. Num!
Now, my advice is to eat les petit gateaux with a spoon (after all, this is a blog from France and it IS the French way). They will taste even better!