I baked these late at night. Sometimes that happens, because I’m a slow baker or I don’t really plan ahead. Or I have to empty the dishwasher first. Usually late night baking works out pretty well, especially if its bread. That’s probably my favorite baker smell. Oh, aaaand cinnamon. These deliver on the smell goods.
After pulling the last batch out to cool, and laying my head down on my pillow my nose pulled itself into the air. The scent was heavenly. I lay there, cozy and warm in bed with the house all quiet. I thought maybe getting into bed so late would wake my sweetheart, but then he drew in a deep breath and let out a sigh and a “mmmm”. And I knew he felt it too… that feeling of pleasantly drifting off to the lingering smell of chocolate and cinnamon.
Chocolate Cinnamon Mini Cakes
These are cakes. I took one bite and knew there was no way I could lie and call these muffins. They are far to rich and decadent. Add bittersweet chocolate chunks or mini chocolate chips. In my mind these were easier then mini cupcakes because the sugar cinnamon sprinkle on top takes the place of frosting and gives a satisfying crunch of sugar between your teeth.
Makes 4 dozen mini cakes
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temp
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs, at room temp
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/8 cup water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup 60% bittersweet chocolate chips, roughly chopped, or mini chocolate chips (semi sweet or dark)
Cocoa-Spice Sugar Sprinkle:
1/8 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Dutch-process cocoa
pinch ground ginger
pinch ground cloves
1/8 cup sanding sugar or sparkle sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place mini cupcake liners into mini cupcake pans. I baked these in two batches.
In a bowl with a hand mixer, or in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and creamy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beat after each egg addition to make sure it is well mixed in. Scrape down the sides of the bowl if you need to.
In another bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, cinnamon, salt, baking powder and baking soda to incorporate and get out any lumps. In yet another bowl (it’s worth it, I promise) whisk together the buttermilk, water and vanilla.
Now, with the mixer on low, alternatively add the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture to the egg/butter mixture: I did flour-buttermilk-flour-buttermilk-flour. Don’t over-mix, just beat on low until they are just combined. I like to beat for about 10-15 seconds after each addition so incorporate it a bit before adding more to the pile.
Now you are ready. Let that sit for a minute while you blend/whisk (use a fork and call it good…) together the sugar sprinkle ingredients in a small bowl.
Fill your muffin cups with about 2 tablespoons of batter. You want the batter to come up to the top and just make a point that is a little higher then the muffin cake liner. Sprinkle each one with 1.5-2 teaspoons sugar mixture. Bake for 30-33 minutes.
These make two batches, so when the first one comes out make sure you poke them with a toothpick- if it comes out clean they are done. Carefully take out of the hot pans and set aside on a rack to cool, then repeat the filling process.
Bake just before bed time, and you’ll have sweet, sweet dreams.