I’ve been racking my brain this week trying to come up with a new and unique cupcake recipe. Usually my creativity isn’t so stifled, but I’ve been in a bit of a frosting rut stemming from a failed Italian Meringue Buttercream (IMBC) fiasco. Last weeks Easy Banana Cream Pie Cupcakes were just that – easy, and I’ve been craving something more challenging and time-consuming to really satisfy my baking needs. I knew I had to redeem myself and remake the Italian Meringue Buttercream or I’d never be satisfied, but I couldn’t just leave it at plain vanilla or chocolate. A little side note: I’m actually very neat and organized when it comes to most parts of my life, but when it comes to baking supplies…watch out A&E, this hoarder needs an episode! 🙂 I decided to use my extensive extract collection to stoke my creative fires:
In the past I’ve made root beer float cupcakes, and they were delicious…but I didn’t want to do something that I had done before. I thought cola floats would be a little different, but not enough to be really distinct from root beer. That’s when I had my Ah-Ha! moment and decided to combine cherry and cola – not only would it make a float from my favorite flavor of soda, but it would give me an excuse to play with frosting colors and layers (not that I usually need one!). Now that I have my flavors picked, I decided that a nice deep, dark chocolate cupcake with a little bit of cola extract would hold up extremely well under layered cherry and cream IMBC. The chocolate cupcake batter I chose has a very special place in my heart. It’s light, fluffy, similar in texture to a box cake mix, and very moist but most of all:
There are no eggs, butter, or milk in this cake!!
You may be tempted to question my mental status now, and I definitely have my quirks, but trust me – this cake is magic! I first stumbled upon it while trying to find an eggless cake recipe for a coworker with an egg allergy. From what I have gathered “Crazy Cake” (sometimes called Wacky Cake) is a Depression era recipe created because of the high costs of eggs, butter, and milk during that time. It uses vinegar and baking soda to create lift, thus eliminating the need for eggs for leavening. Even better…. this is a one bowl recipe! First we start by placing all of our dry ingredients in a large bowl:
Now add all of your wet ingredients except the vinegar. I like to save this for last so it doesn’t get mixed to death. After your vinegar goes in you will notice some fizzing/bubbling. This is completely normal!
Pretty darn easy, right?? Next step, fill your cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake at 325 for about 16-19 minutes. The original recipe called for 350 but I prefer to bake at a lower temperature for longer to keep this recipe (and others) from getting hard edges or crusts while waiting for the center to finish cooking.
Now to top these babies we’ll be using the Italian Meringue Buttercream recipe here. I split my frosting and colored half of it pink and flavored it with cherry extract. The other half I left white and added a little bit of heavy cream and extra vanilla extract.
The first step is to make a circle base on our cupcakes in cherry frosting using a medium-sized closed star tip.
Next, we need to add a pretty little cream/float dollop on top using a slightly smaller closed star tip.
These little beauties were chocolatey with subtle hints of cherry and cola and a velvety cream finish reminiscent of a real ice cream float. I highly recommend the combo and can’t wait to hear how my coworkers like them when I bring them to work 🙂
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso
- 2 cups water
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons white distilled vinegar
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees
- In one large bowl mix all dry ingredients
- Add water, vanilla, and vegetable oil and mix until combined
- Add vinegar (cake batter will fizz/bubble slightly. This is the vinegar and baking soda creating lift)
- Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full or pour batter into pan
- Bake cupcakes for 16-19 minutes or until center springs back upon pressing. A 9x13 will take 30-40 minutes.
- Let cool fully before frosting. Enjoy!
- Want to change the flavor from chocolate? Well the sky is the limit with this cake! Substitute the same amount of cornstarch for the cocoa powder. You can also add juice instead of water for great flavor combos or to make flavors more intense!