chocolate cupcakes with almond buttercream frosting

a.k.a. - Contestant #2 for Bjørn's 1st birthday cake!  This is a rich chocolate cake that surprisingly calls for mayo!  Yep, MAYO!  I've always wondered about cake recipes that call for mayo, and so I had to try making one for myself.  You would never know it was in there, and the cake turned out nicely moist and fluffy!!

This recipe makes a huge batch of cupcakes!  (I am sick and have a sick baby today so didn't want to dig around for my pans, and ended up making 24 mini-cupcakes, 12 regular-cupcakes and 1 round regular cake.  Normally I would use all mini-cupcakes and this would make at least 48!)

Contestant #1 is these Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting.

I am sure there will be a Contestant #3, but I'm not sure yet what it will be...  perhaps a Banana Chocolate Chip Cupcake with Peanut Butter Frosting?

Or maybe I should just make all three???

Chocolate Mayo Cupcakes Recipe

1/4 cup chocolate chips
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 3/4 cups boiling water
2 3/4 cups flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/3 cups mayonnaise
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350° F.  In a small bowl, whisk together the chocolate chips, cocoa and water until smooth.   In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, soda and powder.  In your mixing bowl, cream together the sugars and mayo until smooth, about 3 minutes.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each one.  Stir in the vanilla.

Add the flour mixture alternately with the chocolate mixture blending well after each addition (Flour, Chocolate, F, Ch, F, Ch, F.)  Pour into cupcake-paper lined muffin tins, about 2/3 to 3/4 full and bake for 20-25 minutes, depending on the size of your cupcakes - until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.  Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting.

Almond Buttercream Frosting Recipe

1 cup butter, softened
3 teaspoons almond extract (or vanilla if you prefer)
8 cups powdered sugar
2/3 cup heavy cream

Beat the butter until fluffy.  Beat in the extract.  On low, beat in the powdered sugar and cream, alternating between the two until the frosting is smooth and the consistency is what you would like.

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