Lee's Kitchen: Chocolate cupcakes a delicious treat anytime

It has been a very, very busy week or two. Because I am involved with the Groton Public Schools, end-of-school activities keep many of us busy, between having lunch with quite a few of Fitch High School’s seniors who will get a special diploma for having finished the International Baccalaureate program to honoring many of our staff members who are retiring.

I also have special guests at my condo until early August. Logan, a rising senior at Bryant College, and Steve, who will be a junior there, are members of the Mystic Schooners, an elite baseball team that plays at Fitch High School.

I have never been a baseball fan, but that is changing. I have gone to their first two home games, one of which they won in the last inning.

The last baseball game I saw was the first home game of the Norwich Navigators, and only because The Day asked me to do a little piece about the hot dogs and hamburgers. I didn’t even know pitchers don’t pitch the whole game, nor did I know that there is such a thing as a relief pitcher.

I’m learning.

I have been excited about feeding these kids, since I often eat alone. Unfortunately, the kids’ schedule is such that they play almost every night around 6 p.m. and have to be there by 3-ish in the afternoon and can’t have a big dinner before a game.

So they have good breakfasts (late, because they are tired), like fresh fruit, take sandwiches with them to go to practice and get home after I am in bed. Team members do go out for dinner after the games.

They do manage to eat desserts. Yesterday I made three lemon cakes, and the double batch of oatmeal, ginger and chocolate chip cookies are gone. Maybe today I will make these easy and delicious cupcakes.

Chocolate Sour Cream Cupcakes

From Anne Byrn, Chocolate from the Cake Mix Doctor (Workman, New York, 2001)


Yield: 22 to 24 cupcakes (2 and one-half inches each)

22 to 24 paper liners

1 18.25 ounce package devil’s food cake mix with pudding

Three-quarters cup water

1 cup sour cream

one-half cup vegetable oil

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Place rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners. Set pans aside.

Place cake mix, water, sour cream, oil, eggs and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Blend with electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute. Stop machine and scrape down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes more, scraping down sides again if needed. Batter should look well combined. Spoon batter into lined muffin cups, filling each liner three-quarters of the way full. Place pans in oven.

Bake cupcakes until they spring back when lightly pressed with your finger and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, around 20 minutes (check a few minutes earlier). Remove pans from oven and place on wire racks to cool for 5 minutes. Run a dinner knife around the edges of the cupcake liners, lift cupcakes up from the bottom of the pan using the end of the knife and pick them out of the cups carefully with your fingertips. Place on wire rack to cool for 15 minutes before frosting.

Meanwhile, prepare frosting of your choosing, and spread tops of cupcakes with frosting. Serve.


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