2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3 Tbs. unsweetened cocoa powder,
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) softened unsalted
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
For the icing:
2 egg whites
2 1/2 to 3 cups confectioners? sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbs. fresh orange juice
Black or dark brown food coloring
Preheat an oven to 350°F. Butter 12
muffin-tin wells or line them with paper
In a medium bowl, whisk together the
flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda
and salt; set aside.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer,
beat together the butter and sugar on
medium-high speed until light and fluffy.
Add the egg and vanilla and beat well.
Beat in the flour mixture in three
additions, alternating with the buttermilk.
Spoon the batter into the prepared
muffin tins, filling each one about
two-thirds full. Bake until a toothpick
inserted into the center of a cupcake
comes out clean, 16 to 20 minutes.
Remove from the oven, let the cupcakes
cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then
transfer to a rack and let cool to room
To make the icing, in a bowl, using an
electric mixer, beat the egg whites on
high speed until soft peaks form. Add the
confectioners? sugar, vanilla and orange
juice and continue to beat until thick and
shiny. The icing should spread easily. If
too thick, add more orange juice. If too
thin, add more confectioners? sugar.
Transfer one-third of the icing to a small
bowl and color with black or dark brown
food coloring. Spoon this dark icing into
a pastry bag fitted with a tip, or pour it
into a plastic squeeze bottle.
Now, ice the cupcakes and make the
cobwebs: Spoon the white icing into the
center of a cupcake and spread with a
small spatula or butter knife. Starting at
the center of the cupcake, pipe a spiral
of the dark icing from the center to the
outer edge. Then drag a sharp knife
point from the center of the spiral to the
edge of the cupcake. Wipe the knife
clean, move about 1/2 inch to the left or
right, and drag the knife in the opposite
direction from the outer edge to the
middle of the cupcake. Continue in this
way until you have worked your way
around the cupcake and formed the
cobweb. Repeat with the remaining
cupcakes. Makes 12 cupcakes.
Date: July 21, 2002