February 14, 2011

Cute As A Cupcake

Last Friday, as soon as 5:00pm hit the clock, it was clearly the hour for happy hour. I rushed home, curled my hair, curled my lashes, and put on that favorite pair of jeans (not to be outdone by the high-heeled boots). TGIFriday had barely commenced, and I was already out on the town, painting it red. Or green. Or whatever color means that you are taking this city by storm and no one can stop you.

Which would be great if any part of that was true. Because by 5:00pm on Friday, I was actually stuck in traffic after a long day of doctor appointments, wearing the same sweatpants that I had already “donned” a few days that week, with hair that may or may not have been brushed (I’m gonna go with not), flowing in a tornado of frizz behind me.

And when I actually got home and attempted to put myself together, which consisted of brushing my teeth with that last squeeze of toothpaste that I had to really work for, I didn’t actually paint the town anything. But instead, I spent my evening frosting cupcakes with my dear friend, making three dozen Dora the Explorer look-alikes for her niece’s 3rd birthday party.

Yeah, that was my Friday. And I don’t feel bad about it one bit. Not one speck of edible glitter. Because while going out was/is/can be super fun, so is sitting in your sweatpants and licking frosting from a spoon with a real pal who doesn’t care that you smell just a little bit.

With that, I give you a recipe for sodium-free chocolate cupcakes that was created for me, by my darling little sister-in-law, who still has years of curled hair and hot pants ahead of her. So while she’s out doing her thing, I’ll just sit back on my couch, catch up on the last few episodes of Glee, and enjoy a few of these.

Chow on.

makes 12


  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder (sodium-free brand)
  • 3 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup plus 3 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 F. Line a muffin tin with paper or foil cupcake liners.

2. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt-free baking powder.

3. Place the chocolate and butter in a large, heatproof bowl and put over a pot of simmer water (this is your double boiler). Stir frequently until melted and smooth, about 5 minutes. Remove the bowl and let it cool to room temperature, 10-15 minutes.

4. Using a wooden spoon, stir the sugar into the chocolate mixture until combined. Stir in the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition, and then mix in the vanilla.

5. Gently fold the flour mixture into your chocolate, sugar, egg mixture until no traces of flour remain. Do not overmix.

6. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cupcake liners until each is 3/4 full.

7. Put into oven and bake until you can insert a toothpick into the center of the cupcake and it comes out clean, with only a few crumbs attached, 20-25 minutes.

8. Allow the cupcakes to completely cool on a wire rack, 1 hour, and then garnish with salt-free buttercream frosting or powdered sugar.


stins February 14, 2011 at 9:37 am

I can attest that these are absolutely delicious! Though a tip for those looking to make coffee-infused buttercream…the coffee doesn’t play very nice with the butter so you might want to try mixing with an immersion blender. Otherwise you risk ending up with slightly soupy / separated frosting.

Susan H. February 14, 2011 at 11:09 am

These look delicious and I have all the ingredients in my cupboard. This is what I will make for a sweet valentine treat for my husband tonight. We have just started eating a “salt-free” diet because of my husband’s medical condition. Your blog is a big help in making the transition to this new way of eating. What salt-free frosting do you recommend for the cupcakes and can you direct me to a recipe. Thanks!

twosunkissed February 14, 2011 at 4:23 pm

A wonderful buttercream frosting that I use is:

3 large egg whites
3/4 c sugar
1 c unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, soft
Any flavoring (coffee, vanilla, chocolate)

Heat the egg whites and sugar in a pan set over a pot of simmering water and heat until the sugar is dissolved. Then, using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar until the mixture is white and stiff. After the mixture holds stiff peaks, add the butter pieces a little at a time until completely mixed in. Add any flavors you’d like after that!

sodium girl February 14, 2011 at 4:54 pm

Well there you have it! From the gift horse herself. I couldn’t have said it batter…I mean better!

jess February 15, 2011 at 10:03 am

THIS is a Friday night I’d love. My BFF is coming into town this weekend, and I’m totally going to make cupcakes for us to frost.

Lisa February 21, 2011 at 8:23 pm

You are such an amazing friend!!! The Dora cupcakes were such a hit!!!

jean November 6, 2013 at 12:31 pm

Can the “cute as a cupcake” chocolate cupcakes be made as 1 big cake instead of cupcakes? What adjustments should I make to do so?
Thanks so much

LYNN September 10, 2016 at 2:38 pm


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