In the attention-craving, shock-value style, characteristic of young kids’ humor delivery, I used to boast my favorite kind of pizza was blueberry. In the highly exaggerated, dramatic, facially expressive style, characteristic of young kids’ reactions, my friends would squeal, “Blueberry? Eeeewwwwwwwww.” The detail I was purposefully withholding for heightened childhood drama was the fact my favorite pizza was a dessert pizza.
If you want to revert momentarily to your inner child, you’ll present these cupcakes with a minimal yet alarming description, “Have a chocolate mayonnaise cupcake!” Faces will drain of the zeal that filled their faces just seconds ago. Just like little Quelcy, you’ll let their minds reel momentarily, and then you’ll quickly remind your sweet-toothed friends, mayonnaise, when made simply and purely, is mostly oil and eggs. Mayonnaise in cake merely means a richer, moister cake. Order will be restored, and chocolate cupcakes will be savored!
I adapted these cupcakes from a Bon Appétit cake recipe, in an effort to share chocolate cake more conveniently with more people. I used a salty, roasted pecan for some of the garnishes and pink Himalayan sea salt for others. The choice is yours, but I highly recommend popping the frosted cupcakes into the toaster oven to melt the icing ever so slightly before serving.
Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake with Chocolate Caramel Icing
adapted from Bon Appétit
Olive oil for greasing pan
2 1/4 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 large organic eggs
1 1/2 cups raw cane sugar
1 cups organic, olive oil based mayonnaise (not low-fat)
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
12 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup organic light brown sugar
1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup
1/4 cup water
1 cup organic heavy cream
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 teaspoon Pink Himalayan sea salt for garnishing
pecans for garnishing
For the Cupcakes
Preheat oven to 325°. Lightly brush cupcake pans with olive oil.
Whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat eggs and sugar until pale and doubled in volume, about 4 minutes.
Add mayonnaise and vanilla and beat until just combined.
With mixer on low speed, add dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with 1⅓ cups lukewarm water in 2 additions, beginning and ending with dry ingredients.
Scrape batter into pans, dividing evenly.
Bake cupcakes, rotating halfway through, until a tester inserted into the centers comes out clean, 20–30 minutes.
Transfer pans to wire racks and let cool 20 minutes before turning out onto racks. Let cool completely.
For the Frosting
Put chocolate in a medium bowl.
Bring sugar, maple syrup, and 1/4 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar.
Boil, swirling pan occasionally and brushing down sides with a wet pastry brush, until mixture turns a deep amber color, 10–12 minutes.
Remove from heat and whisk in cream (mixture will bubble vigorously). Return to medium heat and cook, stirring, until smooth, about 2 minutes.
Pour caramel over chocolate and stir until mixture is smooth; let cool, stirring occasionally.
Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat chocolate mixture, gradually adding butter, until frosting is thickened and smooth, about 1 minute. Chill, stirring occasionally, until stiff enough to spread easily, 20–25 minutes.