Jackhammering

The cookie: Mini chocolate cupcakes (I know they’re not precisely cookies, but they’re bite-sized, delicious, and this is my blog so I can do what I want)

The speakers: Two guys busting up the sidewalk with a jackhammer outside of Cafe Vita on Pike and 10th

The story:

Me: What’s the best thing about jackhammering?

Guys: The money you get when you’re done.

Me: What’s the best thing about not jackhammering?

Guys: Drinking.

The most awesome thing about these guys by far was that they let me jackhammer. Jack the hammer? Hammer the jack? And I never turn down an opportunity to try something new. I even got to wear glasses– for safety’s sake, not just because I wanted to look cool.

The recipe:

I adapted the cupcake recipe from a Smitten Kitchen recipe for Everyday Chocolate Cake. I say adapted because when I bake anything, I habitually do these things:

1) Remove 1 or 2 tablespoons of sugar

2) Add a few more pinches of salt

And every time people eat my bake goods I hear the same praise: “Wow, this is good! And I don’t even like sweets! But this one isn’t too sweet.”

Exactly.

Mini Chocolate Cupcakes

This cake was originally baked in a single loaf pan, but I distributed my batter among 24 mini tarts and several ramekins.

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup minus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Dutch cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt plus a few generous pinches

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Butter and lightly flour whichever pan you’re using. In a large bowl, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy– don’t worry if the mixture clumps up; adding the egg in the next step smooths things out. Add the egg and beat well, then the buttermilk and vanilla. The batter will look a bit curdled but this is normal. SIFT the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt together in another bowl– don’t skip the sifting like me (because I think sifting is for squares, but squares probably don’t end up with little balls of unmixed cocoa powder in their cake). Stir the dry ingredients into the wet until well-blended but do not overmix.

For a 9 x 3-inch loaf pan like in the original recipe, bake for 60 to 70 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. I baked my tiny cakes for 15-20 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack for about 10-15 minutes and then pop the cake(s) out and cool them on a rack.

This didn’t turn out to trump my other favorite chocolate cake recipe, but it bakes up flawlessly and does have a dark, chocolatey flavor. Folks on SK commented that they subbed Greek yogurt or sour cream for the buttermilk; I haven’t tried either, but I love the tang of yogurt or sour cream in sweet recipes like these, so let me know how it turns out if you try it.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Jackhammering

  1. cakespy mentioned u on twitter so thought I’d stop by. tasty recipe and great story. so funny they let u jack hammer

  2. Heehee you said jack the hammer. I’m super jealous, that looks like fun! And those cupcakes look deeelicious.

    • Jackhammering was fun, and not at all strenuous like you might imagine. I thought it’d shake me right out of my boots, but it was surprisingly… soothing? Maybe like a massage for your upper body. Hey! Maybe it’s like those elastic belts women wrapped around their middles that supposedly jiggled their weight off. Could be a new fitness fad!

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