The chocolate muffin to end all chocolate muffins

Based on Beatty’s Chocolate Cake by Ina Garten

I’ve recently learned to bake a few staples and I’m more interested in fine tuning those before moving on to others. As the father of a five year-old, chocolate cake tops that list.

I’d tried chocolate cake before, and despite the fact that it was my first time baking anything, I felt the recipe was lacking. I turned to my friend Caitlin, a dab hand at baking anything, for help. She pointed me to this recipe by Ina Garten.

Seemed simple enough to make, so why would this be better than what I’d tried before? For starters, buttermilk and coffee. The other recipe had neither. I’d also been meaning to try cake flour (instead of all-purpose), a better cocoa powder and do muffins instead of a large cake (portion control and no messy pan-greasing).

Dry ingredients

  • 1 cup (8 oz) of cake flour. I used Bob’s Red Mill Pastry Flour. You could also use 7 oz of all-purpose flour.
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 3 oz (half of 3/4 cup) of Dutch-processed cocoa power. I used Droste.
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking power
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Wet ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of buttermilk. I didn’t have any, so I used 1/4 cup of Greek yogurt and 1/4 cup whole milk.
  • 1/4 cup of vegetable oil. I used olive.
  • 1 large egg at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


  • 1/2 cup of freshly brewed coffee


  • Standard 12-cupcake pan
  • Large cupcake liners. I used these by If You Care. These don’t need greasing.
  • Two large bowls
  • Flour sifter or sieve
  • Whisk
  • Spatula

Heat the oven
Pre-heat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit. Set cupcake liners in the cupcake pan.

Prepare the dry ingredients
Sift all the dry ingredients, except the sugar, into a bowl. Add the sugar and mix them with a whisk.

Prepare the wet ingredients
Add all the wet ingredients to the other bowl and whisk till they’re combined. Don’t overbeat; we just need an even mixture.

Combine wet and dry, add coffee
Gradually add the wet ingredients to the dry, mixing with a whisk to combine them. Add in the hot coffee and combine. Again, we’re just looking for an even batter; don’t overbeat.

Stick it in the oven
The batter should be quite runny. Pour it equally into the cupcake liners, making sure not to fill more than half of each cup. You might have some batter leftover but don’t overfill the cups. Stick the pan in the oven for 18–20 minutes or until a wooden skewer comes away clean when inserted.

Take the pan out and let it rest for about 10 min. Pluck the muffins out and let them cool for another 15–20 min. The tops will firm up a bit but the liners will keep the moisture in.

Don’t worry if a few overflow when they rise, they’ll still taste great.

Photo by Aneta Voborilova on Unsplash

Father, husband, designer. Trying to do as much with as little as possible.