Monday, May 10, 2010
Science Fiction Double Feature and Chocolate Yogurt Cakes
The world, as I’ve often read, is divided into two categories; people who love chocolate, and people who are indifferent to it. I, my friends, am definitely not someone who could do without. I currently live with two people who could care less about chocolate, and as blasphemous as that is, it never deters me from making chocolaty things.
This past summer I discovered this recipe on the oft mentioned Smitten Kitchen, and since I’m also a lover of baking with yogurt, I knew I had to try it right away. These tiny cakes are simple to whip up and oh-so-tasty. They’re perfect for tea parties or an afternoon snack. Or breakfast. I think the almond extract and the yogurt are my favorite parts of this batter; the yogurt keeps the cakes dense and moist while the almond makes them so aromatically pleasing, you'll think you've died and gone to...an almond grove?
They make me just that much more grateful for mini-muffin tins, so that I can delude myself into thinking that it’s perfectly okay to eat more than two of these at a time. And let’s face it, I hardly limit myself to just two of these little pretties. I like to eat mine very unceremoniously, straight out of the oven or re-warmed with a big dollop of black raspberry preserves on top while watching my latest TV obsession, Doctor Who.
I’ve got a soft spot for older science fiction films and serials, and I’ve recently bit the bullet and decided to dive headfirst into Doctor Who from the very beginning in 1963. I always see commercials for the modern running of it on the BBC in between Antiques Roadshow episodes, and thought it’s always looked like fun, I most definitely am not one to jump into a show or movie halfway through.
(image via Forbidden Planet)
So I looked up the lists [and lists and lists and more…you get the picture] of episodes and have been able to get quite a bit of them via Netflix. There are loads of missing episodes that I won’t be able to see, but I figure most Doctor Who fans are missing them too, unless they were lucky enough to see them when they originally aired, so I don’t feel too left out. I would be an absolute liar if I said that I didn’t love it. A comrade at work just today told me about another old science-fiction show called The Quartermass Experiment, which sounds rather promising.
Chocolate Yogurt Snack Cakes
Taken from Smitten Kitchen, who borrowed it from David Lebovitz's The Sweet Life in Paris
Makes around a dozen cupcakes or 4 dozen mini-cupcakes
7 ounces chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup plain, whole-milk yogurt
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cupcake tin with paper liners, coat with non-stick baking spray or butter the molds.
Using a bain-marie (a double boiler; I just like the fancy French terminology) melt the chocolate with a 1/4 cup of oil. This can also be done in the microwave in 15 second intervals. Make sure to stir thoroughly in between heating bursts, being careful not the burn the chocolate.
In a medium bowl whisk the eggs, extracts, yogurt and remaining 1/4 cup of oil. In a larger bowl whisk flour, salt and baking powder together. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and gently fold in the yogurt mixture. Add melted chocolate and stir until smooth.
Spoon batter into baking tins and bake for 20 - 25 minutes for regular-sized cupcakes, 15-18 minutes for mini-cupcakes, or until the centers are set. You can use the toothpick method if you like, but I usually don't bother. Cool on a wire rack before serving, if you have the patience. I usually just eat mine warm with preserves on top. These cakes will last about 4 days or so if kept in an airtight container.
P.S. As you can see, this last time I had to throw in some cocoa powder, since we were a little short on chocolate; about 2 ounces short, so I added 3 tablespoons of cocoa, with no rhyme or reason behind my measurements. I didn't notice a difference in taste, so feel free to do the same, or to stick to the original.
Cristina 'Dammit Janet' Keith