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When I was in law school my roommate and I decided to forgo cable to have extra cash for beer. We could only get two (sometimes three) local stations with our rabbit ears. Luckily, because of the stellar location of Vermillion, SD we were able to watch PBS from three different states. The PBS show America’s Test Kitchen quickly became one of my favorites. It seems like the place for bakers and cooks who aren’t as glamorous or busomy  (Giada de Laurentis I’m looking at you) to be on Food Network. Plus, everyone on the show seems a little nerdy, like they could explain to you how the yeast actually makes the dough rise.

So when I saw the America’s Test Kitchen Cooking Light Supplement, I got excited. The inside is full of delightful recipes (and no ads!). So which one did I choose to make? The chocolate cupcake recipe. Obviously. I’m always skeptical of light dessert recipes. As far as I’m concerned, if you’re going to have dessert then go for it. Full calorie. Otherwise, chew some gum. I tried to find the link to this recipe online but apparently they want you to buy the supplement, so it wasn’t there. Below I have copied the ingredients verbatim, but changed the order of the mixing just to make things easier.

The cupcakes are really tasty (they were even better the next day). Less so with the frosting, but to be honest I’ve never made frosting at home that I liked, so maybe it’s just me. Also, it makes twice as much frosting as you need for 12 cupcakes.

Low-Fat Chocolate Cupcakes


  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
  • 1/3 cup dutch processed cocoa
  • 3/4 teaspoon instant espresso
  • 3/4 cup boiling water (you may substitute 3/4 cup hot coffee for the espresso and boiling water)
  • 3/4 cup bread flour
  • 3/4 cup granulate sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 5 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup dutch processed cocoa
  • 6 tablespoons 1% milk room temp
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 ounce bitter sweet chocolate, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Preheat the oven to 350. Combine the chocolate, espresso powder and cocoa powder in large bowl. Pour boiling water over chocolate and cover bowl. Let stand for five minutes to melt the chocolate. While chocolate is melting, mix flour, sugar, salt and baking soda together in a medium bowl. Mix egg, oil, vinegar and vanilla extract in another bowl or in a large measuring cup.
  • Uncover chocolate, whisk until smooth, let stand two minutes to cool. Once cooled, mix in egg mixture until smooth. Mix in flour mixture small amounts at a time until smooth. Pour into 12 cup muffin tin outfitted with cupcake liners. Bake for 17-19 minutes. Let cupcakes cool completely before frosting.
  • To make frosting, mix together sugar and cocoa. Stir the softened butter into the melted chocolate, add vanilla. Add to bowl with sugar/cocoa. Then stir in milk. Mix until completely incorporated.

Baker’s Suggestion #1: I didn’t use Dutch process cocoa. If they sell it at your local grocery store, then go for it. My grocery store is full of 50 lbs bags of rice, so there’s only room for regular ole’ Hershey’s Cocoa Powder.

Baker’s Suggestion #2: Spray your cupcake liners with cooking spray before you fill them. Because no one likes to have to scrap cupcake off the inside of the liner. Not that I’ve ever done that. I’ve just, you know, seen other people doing it.

Yep, this is going to turn out well.

At this point I thought, why bake them? Why not just just drink them like little chocolate shots?

Lower in calories and doesn’t taste like a rock! Fantastic!