My dear friend Eric, my fellow art school alumnus, emailed me this recipe last week. I was super stoked to try it out — and decided to make it in cupcake form.
I haven’t really ventured too far from my favorite chocolate cake recipe in the past couple of years since it’s so tried and true — however, this was the perfect opportunity to break out of my comfort zone.
This cake definitely has a unique taste and texture and it screams “homemade” upon first bite. It’s the kind of cake you remember having as a child, seated on a bar stool at your grandma’s green Formica counter top, your bright red Reebok hi-tops dangling inches above the floor.
I was fortunate to grow up with two grandmothers who always brought such warmth and love into the kitchen, churning out some of my favorite comfort foods, which I still love to make (and eat).
So, this recipe — though it didn’t come from my own grandma’s recipe book, is equally satisfying and delicious. And I love recipes with a history.
I’ll be sure and make this again — but in two-layer cake form — and let you know how it turns out. I’ll be real with you: these cupcakes are delicious, but not the prettiest. The frosting bears a striking resemblance to mashed potatoes — but don’t worry. It doesn’t taste like mashed potatoes. It tastes like a vanilla dream.
Okay. Here we go. Put on your frilly apron. Heels are optional.
Grandma’s Chocolate Buttermilk Cupcakes
Recipe via my friend Eric
Makes 24 large cupcakes
For the cake, you will need:
2 t. baking soda
1/2 c. cocoa powder
1/2 c. water
3/4 c. Crisco all-vegetable shortening
1 and 3/4 c. sugar
2 and 1/2 c. all-purpose flour, sifted
Pinch of salt
1 c. buttermilk
2 t. vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk baking soda, cocoa powder, and water together until well combined. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, cream together the Crisco and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down bowl with a spatula.
4. Add salt, buttermilk, and vanilla into sugar mixture and mix well. Slowly add in flour until thoroughly combined.
5. Add the cocoa mixture into the sugar mixture and combine fully, making sure it’s well incorporated — mix for about a minute or so.
6. Distribute batter evenly among muffin cups — I used a medium sized ice cream scoop. Bake 18-20 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.
To make frosting, you will need:
1/2 c. Crisco all-vegetable shortening
1/2 c. butter (1 stick), softened
1 c. sugar
6 T. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. milk
1 t. vanilla
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, cream Crisco, butter, and sugar together until light and fluffy — about 2 minutes. Scrape down bowl with a spatula.
2. Add flour, milk, and vanilla and mix well.
3. Chill frosting in refrigerator for 20 minutes before frosting cupcakes.
Cupcakes will keep for up to three days, stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Best if made night before serving. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before serving, to bring to room temperature.