Recipes & Advice
Cocoa Cabanas

Makes 30 cupcakes

From The Essence of Chocolate: Recipes for Baking and Cooking with Fine Chocolate by John Scharffenberger and Robert Steinberg (Hyperion, 2006).

Flo Braker is the celebrated author of several award-winning cookbooks and a former columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle. An early friend of SCHARFFEN BERGER Chocolate, this is one of her signature recipes.

Expand/Collapse Ingredient Details


  • 1/2 cup unsifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon SCHARFFEN BERGER Cocoa Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 ounces walnuts or pecans, toasted & finely chopped to yield 1/2 cup (optional)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar

Special Equipment

  • 30 miniature muffin cups (approximately 1-1/2 x 3/4 inch )


Adjust rack to lower third of oven and preheat oven to 350 F. Line the muffin cups with miniature cupcake liners.

Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt on a sheet of waxed paper, set aside. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Remove from heat; stir in the sugar. Pour into a 3-quart mixing bowl; set aside to cool slightly, about 30 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla, stirring until just blended. Stir in the flour mixture, then the nuts.

Fill each paper-lined muffin cup 2/3 full. Bake in preheated oven 13 minutes only. Don't overbake. Remove pans to wire racks to cool 5 minutes, allowing cakes to firm a bit. Carefully remove cakes to other racks to cool. Lightly sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.

These are best eaten the same day they are baked. Or freeze in airtight containers for up to 1 month.

Note: Flo thinks these are prettier served without the muffin papers. If the minicakes are not already frozen, freeze them for 30 minutes. The papers can then be lifted quickly and easily from the rich, sticky surfaces without altering the shape of the cakes.

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