A request for them was put in over a month ago, and Valentines seemed like a suitable occasion to finally spoil my Valentine. But then I went and made them a few days in advance. A full dozen. That’s a lot of cupcakes for a household of two. Of course, when you consider the current situation, that of a little human taking up residence in my belly, it no longer seems like so many cupcakes. In fact, it almost seems like not enough.
Not that I’m counting, but today that little human is 12 days overdue. A dozen cupcakes. A dozen days past my due date. It all seems reasonable in my head. And I know it does in your head too. Of course, this degree of gluttony is somewhat downplayed since I am, in fact, sharing about a third of these cupcakes with the one who put in the request for them in the first place (the same one responsible for putting me in this very uncomfortable state).
Have you ever waited 42 weeks to remove a watermelon from your belly? Ok, to be fair, he/she has only been watermelon-size since Christmas. Before that, the baby spent a few weeks as a cantaloupe, a week or two as a spaghetti squash, and quite some time as a kumquat. “Stop complaining”, you tell me. “The baby will come when he’s ready”, you say. “Hang in there, sport”, chants everyone of Facebook. But it becomes more than difficult not to dwell on the matter. And to develop a little insomnia (last night’s bedtime was 5:30 am!), to get a little stir-crazy, a little fed-up, to want to scream at innocent passerbys, to throw rocks at the birds. It probably doesn’t help having a clear view of the hospital from our living room window. I can see all those lights on up on the 5th floor. I know there are midwives checking their watches, wondering where I am, if I delivered in the bathtub and forgot to give them a call.
But then a thought popped into the old head: maybe this kid has the right idea.
A perfectly warm bath. A constant, soothing rocking motion. A dozen chocolate cupcakes with raspberry frosting. Hell, I wouldn’t give up that kind of luxury, either. Especially not for freezing outside temps and nothing but milk for the next half year. I’ve grown a little smarty pants! Someone way a head of his/her time. And as long as I’m digesting these cupcakes and sending chocolate-raspberry sugar directly into his/her bellybutton, of course this baby’s not going anywhere!
This is my newish go-to chocolate cake recipe. It’s full of depth, very moist, and everything else a person wants out of a chocolate cake. Equally suited to making cupcakes or a single, 9” round cake. Slather with your favorite frosting, or use my raspberry buttercream recipe below. Baby, husband, and most importantly, you, will be 100% pleased.
Chocolate Cupcakes to Extend Your Gestation Period
Makes 12 standard cupcakes
1 oz (28 g) semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 hot (120 mL) brewed coffee
1 cup (200 g) sugar
3/4 cup (100 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (65 g) unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/4 cup (60 mL) canola oil
1/2 cup (120 mL) well-shaken buttermilk OR plain whole-milk yogurt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 300F/150C. If you're making cupcakes, line the wells of your pan with fluted paper liners, or grease and dust them with cocoa. If you’re making a larger cake, grease pan and line bottom with rounds of wax paper. Grease paper.
2. Place chopped chocolate in a bowl combine with hot coffee. Let mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
3. In a large bowl, sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another (very) large bowl, beat eggs with an electric mixer (or strong arm and whisk) until thickened slightly and lemon-colored (about 3 minutes). Slowly add oil, buttermilk (or yogurt), vanilla, and melted chocolate mixture to eggs, beating until combined well. Add sugar mixture and beat until just combined well.
4. Divide batter amongst cupcake liners or the cake pan. Bake in middle of oven 20 to 25 minutes for cupcakes, or 50 to 70 minutes for larger cake, until a tester inserted in center comes out clean.
5. Cool completely in the pan placed on a rack. Run a thin knife around edges of pan and remove cupcakes, or invert cake onto racks. If making a cake, carefully remove wax paper. Cakes may be made one-two days ahead and kept, wrapped well in plastic wrap, at room temperature (although I sort of like keeping it in the fridge to firm up and for the flavors to develop a bit more).
Enough for 12 cupcakes or 1- 9” single layer cake
1/2 stick (2 oz/55 g) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 lb. (225 g) powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
scant 1/4 cup (60 mL) milk or cream
Enough raspberries to yield 1 Tablespoon of raspberry pureed (simply toss in a blender, use an immersion blender, or cheat and use some raspberry jam) *Push through a sieve if you're picky and want to remove the seeds.
1. In a large bowl, beat the butter until fluffy. Add half of the powdered sugar. Add the vanilla, and half of the milk (or cream), then beat again until fluffy.
2. Add the rest of the powdered sugar, the rest of the milk (or cream), and the raspberry puree. Beat until smooth. If too thing, add a little more powdered sugar. If too thick, add a little more milk or cream.
3. Frost immediately, or store in the refrigerator until ready to use.