Self-Serving Cupcakes

When I was younger, chocolate cake was my festival food of choice. There were some weirdos I knew who liked yellow cake or shudder carrot cake, but for me it was always chocolate. Those other things, they weren't cakes; they were barely acceptable vehicles for icing. (If I wanted a carrot sweet, then I could have gajar ka halwa, which is about a billion times better than carrot cake.) I still feel this way about angel food—it seems like a rubbery, spongy thing that you might use as a structural element in one of those layered pudding-and-fruit affairs, but not serve as a dessert in its own right.

When I discovered custard and cannoli, I forgot cake for a time. For years, delicate almond-flour confections held my heart.

But, like a forgotten tulip patch, it comes back. I made chocolate cupcakes today.

These are from Nigella Lawson's recipe for chocolate birthday cake, in How to Eat; the chocolate flavor is not as intense as I would have liked, and so next time I do this I will make chibi-brownies.

But the texture is not bad at all, and the deep, bitter coffee ganache (I cheated, Nigella does not specify this) balances the slightly excessive sweetness of the cake; it saves me from thinking I am eating kiddie food.

And it feels good, baking cake for no reason whatever.


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