Small Chocolate Cake, Brownies or Cupcakes

Organic Free-Trade Dutch Process Cocoa Powder

Organic Free-Trade Dutch Process Cocoa Powder

by Cat, July 2009 (photo, right, from Amazon (1))

Includes: Small Chocolate Cake, Brownies or Cupcakes: 1. Version I; 2. Version II

These two recipes were originally meant for cupcakes, but I bake them in my loaf pan, then cut into slices (like bread) to serve with raspberry sauce, or into brownies. Either way, they are rich and wonderful.

The first recipe includes strong brewed coffee and butter, and more flour; the second uses sour cream instead of butter, and less flour. Another difference: both call for Organic Free-Trade Dutch-process cocoa powder (as pictured above), but the second adds some regular baking chocolate squares. I love the flavor of Dutch-process cocoa, but you can also use Rapadura Organic Free-Trade baking cocoa (not Dutch-process).

If you make them as cupcakes, you can frost them if desired.

Small Chocolate Cake, Brownies or Cupcakes, Version I

This recipe is adapted form one in the local Daily Inter Lake newspaper, June 10, 2009 (2), but originally from the LA Times, by Noelle Carter (2).  The original recipe makes 20 cupcakes.  My adaptation is a half recipe. Since it doesn’t use much flour, I have not adapted this to a pre-soak.  It could be done, using the acidic coffee for the soak, if desired.

Original recipe (before halving), called for ¾ cup each cocoa and brewed coffee, 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 cup cake flour, 1 T baking powder, ½ tsp salt, 1 cup sugar, ½ cup brown sugar, 1 cup plus 1 T butter, 2 eggs and 2 yolks, and 1 ½ tsp vanilla.

Ingredients and Equipment for My Half-Recipe Version

  • ⅜ cup (6 Tbsp) unsweetened Organic Free-Trade Dutch-process cocoa
  • ⅜ cup hot, strong brewed coffee
  • ¼ cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup barley or malted barley flour, or cake flour (not brominated)
  • ½ cup unbleached white flour
  • ⅓ – ½ tsp stevia extract powder *
  • ½ Tbsp (1 ½ tsp) baking powder
  • ¼ tsp Unrefined sea salt
  • ¼ cup Rapadura sugar * (if not using stevia, use ½ cup white sugar and ¼ cup brown sugar or Rapadura sugar)
  • 4 ½ Tbsp butter, room temp.
  • 1 whole egg plus 1 yolk, room temp
  • ¾ tsp organic vanilla extract
  • 2 medium bowls
  • Small bowl
  • Hand mixer (or if making original full recipe, you can use a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment)
  • Loaf pan, small cake pan, or cupcake pans and liners for 10 cakes
  • Rack for cooling


  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Place cupcake liners into cupcake pans, for 10 cakes.
  2. Brew coffee.
  3. In medium bowl, whisk together cocoa and coffee until combined and smooth.  Set aside until mixture comes to room temperature.
  4. In separate medium bowl, sift together flours, baking powder, salt and stevia.
  5. In bowl of stand mixer using the paddle attachment, cream together butter and Rapadura until light and airy, about 5 minutes.  Scrape the sides as needed for even mixing.
  6. With mixer running, mix in whole egg, then yolk, until fully incorporated, adding vanilla with yolk. If making a full recipe, add eggs and yolks one at a time, and add vanilla with last yolk.
  7. Mix in one third of flour mixture, then one third of cocoa mixture, and repeat until all is incorporated and thoroughly combined, being careful not to over-beat.
  8. Evenly spoon batter into 10 cupcake liners; the batter should fill each liner ⅔ – ¾ full.
  9. Bake, one pan at a time, in center of oven, until cake(s) have risen and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 15 – 20 minutes; a single cake may take a bit longer than cupcakes.  Rotate pan halfway through baking time, for even baking.
  10. Remove pan to a rack to cool before frosting

Small Chocolate Cake, Brownies or Cupcakes, Version II

This recipe is adapted from Cooks Illustrated Magazine, April 2005 (2). It is nicely rich and not-too-sweet. I’ve not yet adapted this for presoaked flour – it’s just so good as it is, and uses less flour than other recipes.

The original recipe calls for ¾ cup sugar, but I make it with a combo of stevia and sugar, as written. You could try using ½ tsp stevia extract powder and no sugar, but the batter might need some sugar for the right texture.


Makes 12 cupcakes; or you can make it in a loaf pan and slice it into 12-14 slices.

See below for testing.

Ingredients & Equipment for My Half-Recipe Version:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, cut into 32 pieces (each Tbsp cut into 4)
  • 2 oz bittersweet chocolate, cut into pieces (or chips)
  • ½ cup Organic Free-Trade Dutch-process cocoa, unsweetened
  • ¾ cup unbleached white flour or a finely milled whole wheat flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¾ cup baking powder (aluminum-free)
  • 2 large eggs, whisked
  • ⅓ – ½ tsp stevia extract powder plus ¼ cup Rapadura sugar (or ¾ cup sugar and no stevia)
  • 1 tsp real vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp Unrefined sea salt
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • Loaf pan or small cake pan (or cupcake pan for 12 cakes, with cupcake liners)
  • Double boiler
  • Whisk
  • Small and large bowls
  • Cooling rack


  1. Bring eggs to room temperature to make them easier to whisk.
  2. Place oven rack in lower-middle position; preheat oven to 350° Butter and lightly flour loaf or cake pan (or place cupcake liners in cupcake cups)
  3. Combine butter, chocolate and dutch-process cocoa in top of double boiler over simmering water. Whisk until smooth. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Whisk flour, soda, baking powder and stevia in small bowl.
  5. Whisk eggs in large bowl; add sugar, vanilla and salt, whisking until incorporated. Then whisk in the chocolate mixture.
  6. Sift ⅓ cup of the flour mix over the batter, and whisk.
  7. Whisk in sour cream.
  8. Sift remaining flour mix over batter and whisk until homogenous and thick. Spoon into prepared pan(s). If using loaf pan, drop filled pan onto table several times to level the batter.
  9. Bake cupcakes 18-20 minutes, until tests done with a toothpick. If making in the loaf pan, it will take longer, 25 – 30 minutes.
  10. Cool before frosting.


3/31/10: I made this in a loaf pan, then sliced into 14 slices for serving with a raspberry sauce. Delicious. However, if you like this a bit sweeter, use 1/2 tsp stevia. Also, I had a few bumps in the making: first, I discovered my sour cream had started to go bad, so I had to go to the store to get more. Then I forgot to add the sour cream between the two additions of the flour mix, then baked it 5 minutes before I discovered my error. It had started to form a cake texture, but not too much, so I scooped the batter back into the bowl, re-buttered the bottom of the pan, whisked the sour cream into the batter, and poured back into the pan. Then baked it about 30 minutes. It turned out just fine, despite my forgetfulness.

5/24/13: Again made in loaf pan; this time everything was mixed in correct order. However, I only had 1/4 cup sour cream, so I added homemade yogurt to make the 1/2 cup total. Used 1/2 cup whole spelt and 1/4 cup unbleached white (wheat) flours; otherwise as written). Very fluffy batter. Baked 28 minutes; it fell a tiny bit in center while cooling, but not too bad.


  1. Amazon photo:
  2. Daily Inter Lake Newspaper, June 10, 2009, originally from LA Times, by Noelle Carter (
  3. Cooks Illustrated Magazine, April 2005

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