Chocolate-Cinnamon “Mupcakes”

Last year Starbucks was selling a chocolate-cinnamon bread – which is a flavor combination I love very much – and it was so delicious! Its well-rounded piquant chocolate flavor lingered well after I was done eating it (or, in this case, sharing it with mom), so much so that I went home and searched for the recipe with the intent of baking it myself. Sadly, the ingredient list and accompanying nutrition facts from this recipe from Recipe Zaar made me a bit reluctant to allow the bread – while extremely scrumptious – to grace my hips, which I knew it eventually would. Well, desire finally overcame my fear of its three cups of sugar and three sticks of butter, with the caveat that I would only allow myself to lick the bowl (come on – it’s the chef’s right!) and eat two servings. The rest I would bring to work and let the boys swarm over. To ease this end, I decided to bake half a recipe and turn them into muffins instead.  The only change I made was to use 2 eggs for half a recipe since the full recipe called for 5 eggs, but the result seemed fine to me (maybe a bit flatter than I would have liked, but I wonder if half an egg would have made a difference??). This is the halved recipe:

Chocolate Batter

  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat buttermilk
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs one at time. Sift together the dry ingredients and alternatively mix into the butter/sugar/eggs with the wet ingredients (also mixed together), finishing with the dry. Make sure it’s well-incorporated. Mix together the following for a cocoa-spice sugar crust (very little was actually used, but the leftovers are great to have around), then sprinkle lightly atop the wet batter before baking:

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1 pinch ground ginger
  • 1 pinch ground cloves

It came together really easily – it’s actually a really easy recipe, although quite guilt-inducing during the creaming stage. The batter was delicious, and a freshly-baked muffin was simply fabulous. I baked them at 350F for 30 minutes and they were perfectly done. The only hilarious thing is that they had the flavor and texture of a cupcake more than a muffin, hence the moniker of “mupcake”!  Leave it to Starbucks to create and sell – and get us addicted to! – such a recipe…. And they are addicting!

The finished chocolate-cinnamon "mupcake" in all its sweetness and glory, though looking a bit flat....

The finished chocolate-cinnamon "mupcake" in all its sweetness and glory, though looking a bit flat....

As I said, they were a bit flatter than I expected them to be, which tells me they really would be better as a bread rather than muffins. Perhaps adding a third egg to a half recipe, or making sure I was using really fresh baking soda and baking powder (I thought mine were fresh, but I suppose you never really know) would help a bit. I read in Joy of Cooking that flat muffins can be caused by baking at too low a temperature, which contradicts a bit with the typical cupcake-baking temperature of 325F versus cake-baking temperature of 350F – not that Joy of Cooking is the cooking Bible, but I generally do trust their advice (although I noted Martha Stewart cooks her cupcakes at 350F, as did Renee). Maybe baking at 375F for 20-25 minutes would work? I suppose I could try next time, if I ever decide to indulge in these again … hmm, tempting…!

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