Yay! Cupcakes Are Here To Stay!

Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

In my new book, Choclatique (Running Press), I wrote that the best birthday party I ever had was my eighth where mom made old-fashioned, Texas State Fair-style corndogs and chocolate cupcakes. Now this was many years ago when you could find cupcakes in any little bakery. They were nothing special—just something else to fill the display case made with the leftover cake batter and decorated with that inexpensive chocolate compound frosting. At holiday time they would top them with a few sprinkles to add to the festive mood.

I was always partial to the chocolate cupcakes from Royal Bakery just outside Beverly Hills. This was our family’s one-stop bakery; they made really great breads and pretty good pastry. The cupcakes were a nickel a piece. I could put down about 3 at a time. When they raised the price on them, mom put me on a 1950’s style austerity diet and limited me to just one—which was probably a good thing.

And then the unthinkable happened… cupcakes all but disappeared. They were no longer displayed between the Bavarians and the Danish. You could still find Hostess crème filled “belly bombers” in the grocery aisle, but cupcakes were nowhere to be found in the bakery.

So you can imagine I got all excited when the first Sprinkles opened about a mile east of our office in Beverly Hills. Now, if you have had your head in the sand for the past 5 years or so and don’t know about them, Sprinkles is the store that single-handedly brought back cupcakes. I like to call it the Sprinkles Phenomena. These are not just any cupcakes, but these are designer cupcakes made with different batters and frostings, well merchandised and uniquely decorated in and sold in an upscale environment that always seems to have a block-long line of hungry customers, devoted Hollywood stars and serious epicureans alike trying to get in. That’s not all that got upscaled—somewhere along the line the price per single cupcake rose to $3.50 each or $39 a dozen.

As you can imagine, since Sprinkles first opened, locally owned cupcake shops have been popping up all over the place. While some have argued that this trend won’t last, the plethora and popularity of shops opening up all over the U.S. —and now the world—say otherwise. There is even an entire Food Network competition celebrating the cupcake.

Of course, many of us have our own favorite cupcake shop near to where we live, but during these troubled times a $3.50 cupcake is rather dear, so why not make your own? As a chocolate cupcake fanatic and a pastry chef, I still like to make my original recipe which tastes pretty much like the cupcakes I used to get from the long-gone Royal Bakery. Why not give my recipe a try?

The ChocolateDoctor’s Easy-to-Make Chocolate Cupcakes

Easy-To-Make Chocolate Cupcake
Total Time: 35 minutes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 20 to 22 minutes

Makes: 12-14 Cupcakes


1/4 pound (1 stick) butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, Choclatique Rouge Cocoa Powder
1/2 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Note: Use the best cocoa powder you can afford; it makes a difference.


  1. Preheat the oven to 400º F, then turn it down to 350º F just prior to baking.
  2. Using an electric mixer fitted with a whisk, cream the butter until it is soft, then add the sugar. Beat about 4 minutes longer until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time beating until they are well combined.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients and whisk to incorporate them.
  5. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the butter and sugar and beat it just to combine. Add 1/2 of the liquids (milk and vanilla), scrape down bowl and beat to combine. Continue adding the dry and wet ingredients alternately. Finish with the dry ingredients. Do not over-mix.
  6. Fill muffin tins 2/3′s of the way and bake for about 20-22 minutes. Allow to cool before decorating.

Old Fashioned, Delicious Chocolate Buttercream Frosting


1/4 pound (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, Choclatique Rouge Cocoa Powder
4 cups confectioner’s sugar
1/4 cup whole milk, plus a few tablespoons to adjust consistency
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Beat the butter and the cocoa until smooth, then add the sugar 1 cup at a time, beating with each addition.
  2. Add the milk and the vanilla extract and beat for about 3 minutes.
  3. Using a disposable pastry bag pipe the frosting on top of the cupcakes.
  4. “Sprinkle” with Choclatique White or Dark Chocolate Curls & Real Chocolate Decoratifs.

ChefSecret: This is a great starter recipe for kids and newlyweds.

Choclatique by Ed EngoronIf you’re interested in learning more about chocolate, its effects on the human body and improving your disposition, buy Choclatique—150 Simply Elegant Desserts. It is a great anytime gift and most importantly, the recipes make luscious tasting desserts perfectly the first time and every time thereafter. It is a foolproof guide to making all of your favorite desserts and improving your sweet disposition and those all around you.

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