Monthly Archives: November 2012

Chocolate Olive Oil Cupcakes & Hurricane Sandy


As many of you know, Hurricane Sandy recently ripped through the east coast and did some considerable damage. Much of NYU, including my dorm, has been left without electricity, so I am writing this from my roommate’s home. I am so thankful to be somewhere with electricity and hot water and send the warmest of thoughts to my friends and fellow New Yorkers who have been affected by the storm and remain in the city.

Pre-Sandy, it was my suitemate Becca’s birthday. On Monday we were all quite excited because classes were canceled and we had time to put together dinner and dessert for the birthday girl. Little did we know, Sandy would reach us later that night and knock out our electricity and turn much of Lower Manhattan upside-down. Thankfully, we were able to have a lovely evening of good food (spaghetti with homemade meat sauce and cupcakes which I will tell you about very soon), good laughs and good company.

As I have mentioned before, dorm cookery is a bit difficult because our ingredients are limited. I’m not sure why I have only procured olive oil and refuse to buy vegetable oil. Perhaps some part of me thinks olive oil is more useful, even though I typically find myself baking in the kitchen? Who knows. Because our kitchen is devoid of vegetable oil of any kind, I substituted olive oil for vegetable oil in the chocolate cupcakes I made for Becca. I was a bit nervous about the outcome, but I am happy to report they tasted great and nobody noticed the vegetable oil stand-in. That being said, I waited until after the cupcakes had been devoured to share my secret, lest someone be turned off by the thought of savory olive oil in her baked good.

The recipe I used is a one-bowl cupcake recipe from Sophisticated Gourmet. Anything one-bowl is fantastic for a cook in a small kitchen, because it means fewer dishes to wash. Boy, do I miss the dishwasher.

To top off the cupcakes, I made a quick ganache, mostly because I lack an electric mixer and so it would be nearly impossible to cream butter and powdered sugar together. The ganache was quite easy and tasty—just melt some butter and chocolate together and you have a delightful cupcake-topper! And of course, because this was a birthday, I had to douse the cakes in rainbow sugar. The un-frosted cupcakes (Becca doesn’t like frosting) looked beautiful with rainbow sugar.

If you want to make a knockout chocolate cupcake with little effort, definitely try this recipe. I would recommend using dark chocolate cocoa powder to amp up the flavor.

Hope you all have a good weekend, and if you were affected by Hurricane Sandy in any way, I hope for the quickest of recoveries.

Chocolate Olive Oil Cupcakes
Adapted from The Sophisticated Gourmet
Makes about 12 cupcakes

1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup boiling water

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line muffin tins with paper liners.
  2. In a large heatproof bowl, whisk together sugar, flour cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the egg, sour cream, olive oil and vanilla and stir until combined. Pour in the boiling water and mix, starting from the center and working your way outward. The batter will be watery; this is normal.
  3. Bake for 15-19 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cake comes out clean.
  4. Transfer cupcakes to cool on wire racks for about 10 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.

Dark Chocolate Ganache
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

In a double boiler, stir butter and chocolate until completely melted. Let cool at room temperature before frosting the cupcakes.

I should also mention that while my roommates and I were stranded in our dorm room, I made some pumpkin spice steel cut oats for dinner by the light of my iPhone. I never let the dark get in my way. Photo credit to the lovely Becca. Please excuse the silly face.