Salted Chocolate Olive Oil Cupcakes are the dessert representation of one of my favorite childhood books, Matilda by Roald Dahl.
Honestly, I still envy it, particularly when I’ve just settled down with Avocado Brownies, only to realize that (*gasp*) I forgot to add ice cream and now must stand up and walk 3 feet to the freezer to retrieve it. Agony!
Matilda would be able to float that carton on over without disruption. Forget flying—telekinesis is now at the top of my super-power wish list.
Matilda’s antagonist is Agatha Trunchbull, Matilda’s cruel and unusual headmaster.
Despite her horrific ways, The Trunchbull has one quality worth emulating: excellent taste in chocolate cake.
I can no longer remember the exact words Roald Dahl uses to describe The Trunchbull’s cake, only that since the age of nine when I first read this book, it has been fixed in my mind as the epitome of what the ideal chocolate cake should be: outrageously moist, sinfully chocolaty, and paradoxically light and indulgent at the same time.
The Trunchbull’s chocolate cake is the chocolate cake by which all others should be measured.
I baked (and eaten) dozens of chocolate cakes in pursuit of the perfect chocolate I imagine when I think of Matilida, and I have finally found it in today’s Salted Chocolate Olive Oil Cupcakes.
Forget the over-dried, sickly sweet-frosted excuses for chocolate cakes that appear at office anniversary parties. Salted Chocolate Olive Oil Cupcakes are decadent, unbelievably moist, and reminiscent of an old-fashioned chocolate cake you would be proud to serve your grandmother.
In Matilda, The Trunchbull’s chocolate cake is enormous. At one point, she forces a boy by the name of Bruce Bogtrotter to eat it in front of the school as punishment for stealing a slice. In the spirit of Bruce Bogtrotter, I wanted everyone to have a cake of their own to devour, so I baked the batter into manageable cupcakes instead.
Now, should you choose to eat the entire pan of cupcakes, I support you. Bruce Bogtrotter, who defeated The Trunchbull by victoriously demolishing the entire cake, supports you too.
Salted Chocolate Olive Oil Cupcakes are unquestionably the most intensely moist cupcakes I’ve ever tried. Heaven.
My secret: olive oil. In addition to being heart-healthy, olive oil resulted in a far more moist, tender chocolate cake than any other butter-based chocolate cake I’ve baked.
In keeping with the chocolate oomph I was after with these cupcakes, I choose to frost them with a dark chocolate ganche.
For my fellow chocolate devotees, the rich, glossy ganache is the ideal pairing with the moist, spongy cake.
If you are looking for something a bit lighter (relatively—we are still talking about chocolate cake here), a whipped ganache or chocolate buttercream would also be fabulous, and I imagine a peanut butter frosting would be excessive in the best possible way.
A moment for honesty: this chocolate-on-chocolate situation is teetering on the edge of cocoa danger. We might only be able to have one before we slip into a deep, dark chocolate coma.
One final ingredient, however, keeps these luscious cupcakes in the blissful “I can totally go back for seconds” zone: fleur de sel. A light sprinkling of this fine sea salt cuts the chocolate’s richness juuuuust enough to make them absolutely suitable for multiple servings.
Salted Chocolate Olive Oil Cupcakes are chocolate cake as chocolate cake was intended to be. I like to think that Roald Dahl would approve. With this recipe before you, I have but one question to ask:
What would Bruce Bogtrotter do?
Salted Chocolate Olive Oil Cupcakes
For the Cupcakes:
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons, plus more for pans
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder plus 2 tablespoons
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk shaken
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large egg at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
For the Salted Chocolate Ganache:
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate chopped
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 teaspoon instant coffee
- Fleur de sel or fine sea salt for sprinkling
- Place rack in the upper third of oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a a standard 12-cup muffin tins with cooking spray.
- Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or a large mixing bowl. Mix on low speed until combined. In a separate medium bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry. With the mixer still on low, add the coffee and continue mixing, just until combined. The batter will be very thin.
- Divide the batter evenly between the 12 muffin cups and bake 18 – 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in to the center of one cupcake comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool in the pans for 20 minutes, then with a fork, gently lift them out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Prepare the ganache: Place the chocolate, heavy cream, and instant coffee in a heat-proof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Do not allow the water to boil or to touch the bottom of the bowl. Heat the chocolate, stirring often, until almost completely melted. Remove bowl from the sauce pan and stir gently with a rubber spatula until the chocolate is completely melted and the ganache is silky smooth.
- While the ganache is still warm, spoon it over the top of each cupcake. While the ganache is still wet, sprinkle with fleur de sel. Let cupcakes sit a few moments to set, though ganache will not harden completely. Serve and enjoy.
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