It's no doubt that the seasons, as well as the holidays that come and go with them, have a big impact on my cravings. So it's probably no coincidence that I found myself craving Devil's Food cake in the past few weeks. Although, to be quite honest, I crave chocolate all the time! If I'm not having some type of chocolate dessert at the end of the day, I will eat a couple squares of chocolate at some point during the day, almost every single day. It's like an unwritten rule. I find that I'm a much happier person when I have some chocolate in me.
Instead of a cake, I thought I'd make a few cupcakes and put some of my Halloween-theme cupcake decorations to use! These devilishly dark chocolate cupcakes are my kind of Halloween treat.
For fun and a little variety, I stuffed the cupcakes with a chocolate apricot filling before baking. I stirred melted chocolate together with a little apricot preserve and butter, let the mixture cool and stiffen enough to roll into balls, and then chilled them until time to bake. I was a little too generous with my chocolate-apricot surprises (in my greediness, I made the chocolate rounds larger than I should have). The heavy filling mostly sank to the bottom but if you'll do as I say, not as I do, and go a little lighter on the filling, you should have more success. Regardless though, the extra chocolate from the filling melds into everything while adding moisture and the apricot flavor, while not very distinct, provides a little note of fruitiness in the background that's quite nice. The cupcakes themselves are so moist and just heavenly for any fellow chocoholics out there.
Inspiration really is everywhere. In this case, the inspiration for the filling came specifically from a recipe, which originally involved red velvet cupcakes, that I found in a book - a cozy, culinary-themed mystery book to be exact. You probably know the type of book I'm talking about - the kind that often have corny titles and silly covers. They may seem silly at first glance but I have to admit I'm a fan of many of them and judging by the proliferation of these types of mystery books, I'd say there are many people who enjoy them like I do. Life is serious enough as it is and, sometimes, I just don't want anything too "heavy" and I totally welcome a reprieve in the form of some light, entertaining, good reads.
The other thing I was also channeling with these cupcakes is America's Test Kitchen's ultimate chocolate cupcake recipe, which is a full-on chocolate cupcake with chocolate frosting that includes a round of chocolate ganache placed in the cupcake batter right before baking. It sounds like chocolate heaven and I wonder why I've yet to make that exact recipe! And lastly...these cupcakes had me thinking of Italian tri-color (or rainbow) cookies - something we love dearly at my house - which have apricot and chocolate elements to them.
I hope you have a fun and safe Halloween! Remember to devour some devilishly good treats, all the better if it involves some good dark chocolate.