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A mostly healthy and budget-friendly cooking blog

August 22, 2014
by Erin Clarke

Salted Chocolate Olive Oil Cupcakes

Salted Chocolate Olive Oil Cupcakes are the dessert representation of one of my favorite childhood books, Matilda by Roald Dahl

Salted Chocolate Olive Oil CupcakesIn the book (and movie), Matilda, has the ability to move objects with her mind, a power I sorely envied as a child. Honestly, I still envy it, particularly when I’ve just settled down with a warm Blueberry Banana Crumb Bar, only to realize that (*gasp*) I forgot to add ice cream and now must stand up and walk 3 feet to the freezer to retrieve it. Agony! Matilda would be able to float that carton on over without disruption. Forget flying—telekinesis is now at the top of my super-power wish list.

{Side note—while looking up the term “telekenesis,” I stumbled upon this. If anyone succeeds, please let me know. I do loathe moving from the table once I’m already seated with my dessert.}

Matilda’s antagonist is Agatha Trunchbull, Matilda’s cruel and unusual headmaster. Despite her horrific ways, The Trunchbull has one quality worth emulating: excellent taste in chocolate cake.

Salted Chocolate Olive Oil Cupcakes RecipeI can no longer remember the exact words Roald Dahl uses to describe The Trunchbull’s cake, only that since the age of nine when I first read this book, it has been fixed in my mind as the epitome of what the ideal chocolate cake should be: outrageously moist, sinfully chocolaty, and paradoxically light and indulgent at the same time. The Trunchbull’s chocolate cake is the chocolate cake by which all others should be measured.

I baked (and eaten) dozens of chocolate cakes in pursuit of the perfect chocolate I imagine when I think of Matilida, and I have finally found it in today’s Salted Chocolate Olive Oil Cupcakes. Forget the over-dried, sickly sweet-frosted excuses for chocolate cakes that appear at office anniversary parties. Salted Chocolate Olive Oil Cupcakes are decadent, unbelievably moist, and reminiscent of an old-fashioned chocolate cake you would be proud to serve your grandmother.

Salted Chocolate Olive Oil Cupcakes

In Matilda, The Trunchbull’s chocolate cake is enormous. At one point, she forces a boy by the name of Bruce Bogtrotter to eat it in front of the school as punishment for stealing a slice. In the spirit of Bruce Bogtrotter, I wanted everyone to have a cake of their own to devour, so I baked the batter into manageable cupcakes instead. Now, should you choose to eat the entire pan of cupcakes, I support you. Bruce Bogtrotter, who defeated The Trunchbull by victoriously demolishing the entire cake, supports you too.

Salted Chocolate Olive Oil Cupcakes are unquestionably the most intensely moist cupcakes I’ve ever tried. Heaven. My secret: olive oil. In addition to being heart-healthy, olive oil resulted in a far more moist, tender chocolate cake than any other butter-based chocolate cake I’ve baked.

Salted Chocolate Olive Oil Cupcakes. The most moist chocolate cupcakes I've ever had!In keeping with the chocolate oomph I was after with these cupcakes, I choose to frost them with a dark chocolate ganche. For my fellow chocolate devotees, the rich, glossy ganache is the ideal pairing with the moist, spongy cake. If you are looking for something a bit lighter (relatively—we are still talking about chocolate cake here), a whipped ganache or chocolate buttercream would also be fabulous, and I imagine a peanut butter frosting would be excessive in the best possible way.

Salted Chocolate Olive Oil Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache

A moment for honesty: this chocolate-on-chocolate situation is teetering on the edge of cocoa danger. We might only be able to have one before we slip into a deep, dark chocolate coma. One final ingredient, however, keeps these luscious cupcakes in the blissful “I can totally go back for seconds” zone: fleur de sel. A light sprinkling of this fine sea salt cuts the chocolate’s richness juuuuust enough to make them absolutely suitable for multiple servings.

Salted Chocolate Olive Oil Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache. The BEST chocolate cupcake recipeSalted Chocolate Olive Oil Cupcakes are chocolate cake as chocolate cake was intended to be. I like to think that Roald Dahl would approve. With this recipe before you, I have but one question to ask:

What would Bruce Bogtrotter do?

Salted Chocolate Olive Oil Cupcakes

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 6 minutes

Yield: 12 cupcakes

Salted Chocolate Olive Oil Cupcakes

A recipe for the most moist and decadent chocolate cupcakes you will ever bake!


    For the cupcakes
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk, shaken
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
  • For the Salted Chocolate Ganache
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon instant coffee
  • Fleur de sel or fine sea salt, for sprinkling


  1. Place rack in the upper third of oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a a standard 12-cup muffin tins with cooking spray.
  2. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or a large mixing bowl. Mix on low speed until combined. In a separate medium bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry. With the mixer still on low, add the coffee and continue mixing, just until combined. The batter will be very thin.
  3. Divide the batter evenly between the 12 muffin cups and bake 18 – 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in to the center of one cupcake comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool in the pans for 20 minutes, then with a fork, gently lift them out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
  4. Prepare the ganache: Place the chocolate, heavy cream, and instant coffee in a heat-proof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Do not allow the water to boil or to touch the bottom of the bowl. Heat the chocolate, stirring often, until almost completely melted. Remove bowl from the sauce pan and stir gently with a rubber spatula until the chocolate is completely melted and the ganache is silky smooth.
  5. While the ganache is still warm, spoon it over the top of each cupcake. While the ganache is still wet, sprinkle with fleur de sel. Let cupcakes sit a few moments to set, though ganache will not harden completely. Serve and enjoy.


Store leftover Salted Chocolate Olive Oil Cupcakes at room temperature for up to two days or in the refrigerator for up to five days. Although coffee is included in the batter and ganache, it adds moisture and intensifies the chocolate flavor. The cake, however, does not taste like coffee.

I’m sharing the recipe for Salted Chocolate Olive Oil Cupcakes in partnership with Pompeian Olive Oil. August is National Olive Oil month, and Pompeian is inviting each of us to make healthy choices by pledging to swap olive oil for butter in everyday recipes. (You can find a butter-to-olive oil conversion chart here.) I am a true advocate for simple exchanges that promote healthier living without sacrificing taste, and these decadent Salted Chocolate Cupcakes are the tastiest example I can imagine.

Other yummy olive-oil baked treats:


I am a regular recipe contributor for Pompeian and receive compensation, but all opinions are my own. As always, thanks for supporting the brands I partner with, which enables me to create more quality content for you.

August 20, 2014
by Erin Clarke

Blueberry Goat Cheese Drop Biscuits

I’ve decided that the fastest way to endear myself to others is to become a Blueberry Goat Cheese Drop Biscuit.

Blueberry Goat Cheese Drop BiscuitsMinus the whole issue of people eating me, being a Blueberry Goat Cheese Drop Biscuit would assure me an invite to every swanky club and secret wine book club. I could score reservations at Girl and the Goat (will it ever happen?) and backstage passes to Beyonce’s next concert (crush!). Drop biscuits are so darn lovable, even the most intimidating of bouncers or strident of hostesses could not resist their flakey, buttery, melt-in-your mouth softness.

In addition to their cloud-like texture and endless versatility, drop biscuits are so darling, they don’t even need to you press and stamp them into rounds. Simply mix, scoop, and bake. This Blueberry Goat Cheese Drop Biscuit recipe is one bowl, no fuss, and all reward. I aspire to be this low maintenance.

{Continue reading and snag the recipe…}

August 18, 2014
by Erin Clarke

Skillet Tomato Casserole with White Beans and Parmesan Croutons

Croutons epitomize my every at-bat in middle school softball: high potential, terrible execution. While my athleticism has only declined, I am happy to report that croutons have been redeemed by Skillet Tomato Casserole with White Beans and Parmesan Croutons.

Skillet Tomato Casserole with White Beans and Parmesan CroutonsIn theory, croutons should be one of the best things in life: lightly crunchy bread that adds texture, soaks up flavor, and express delivers them both to my taste buds in carb form. In practice, most are dry little bread rocks that scrape the roof of my mouth and are too solid to spear with a fork. At best, I eat them with my fingers when no one is watching. At worst, a failed fork-to-crouton harpoon session sends one flying out of my Caesar salad and into my neighboring diner’s wine glass. This is no proper way for food to behave.

Croutons, I believe in your potential, and I have found it in Skillet Tomato Casserole with White Beans and Parmesan Croutons. {Continue reading and snag the recipe…}

August 15, 2014
by Erin Clarke

Roasted Red Pepper Parmesan Dip

Roasted Red Pepper Parmesan Dip is for those nights when what you need for dinner is a salad, but what you want is a giant bowl of bean dip, a bag of chips, and no regrets.

Skinny Roasted Red Pepper Parmesan Dip-Disappears at parties!

Despite my penchant for creating lower-guilt versions of classic dishes, the “light” versions of certain foods cause me immediate skepticism. Chips and dip are two of these. I’d rather have a smaller portion of real-deal chips and dip and feel satisfied, than eat three times the quantity of the flimsy stuff and wonder why all I’m thinking about afterwards is French fries and brownies. {Continue reading and snag the recipe…}

August 13, 2014
by Erin Clarke

Healthy Peanut Butter Yogurt Fruit Pizzas

Healthy Peanut Butter Yogurt Fruit Pizzas want to know: Can you handle the cuteness?

Healthy Peanut Butter Yogurt Fruit Pizzas. Rice cakes spread with peanut butter "sauce" and topped with fresh fruit. Kids love this after school snack!I would apologize for these little healthy peanut butter pizza snacks—I got a tiiiiiiny bit carried away with the fruit art—but they are too addictive for regrets. You are looking at Healthy Peanut Butter Yogurt Fruit Pizzas #4, #7-10, #13, and #15. I lost all self control during the photoshoot and all of the missing numbers disappeared into my mouth. I also might have temporarily jammed my camera button with peanut butter. Worth it.

I’m not usually one for ultra cute food (minus these luscious Mini French Silk Cookie Pies, which are so divine, I’d probably eat them off my kitchen floor), but I had so much fun arranging pretty shapes with the fruit slices between bites, I couldn’t help but show off my mad stained-glass fruit skillz.

I’m sorry I just spelled skillz with a “z.” Twice.  {Continue reading and snag the recipe..}

August 11, 2014
by Erin Clarke

Fizzy Peach Jalapeno Margaritas {+a SodaStation Giveaway!}

Fizzy Peach Jalapeno Margaritas are me, holding onto summer kicking and screaming.

Fizzy Peach Jalapeno Margaritas

The sun is setting earlier, I spy pumpkin on Pinterest, and I can detect the faint sound of a football game in the wind. HOLD IT EVERYONE! I love a slice of apple pie as much as the next sane person, but we still have summer days to relish and Fizzy Peach Jalapeno Margaritas to sip.

Margaritas are my favorite cocktail, and I have high standards: No mixes, fresh lime juice only, and salt that rim. Though a well made classic ‘rita on the rocks will forever be dear to my heart, I love creating new margarita twists to share with friends, which I assume is why I continue to be invited to dinner parties. Of all the recipes I tested this year, Fizzy Peach Jalapeno Margaritas were the winner, and I plan to spend the rest of my summer enjoying them as often as socially acceptable.

{Continue reading and snag the recipe…}

August 8, 2014
by Erin Clarke

Coconut Zucchini Muffins

Zucchini and I have a complicated relationship. Coconut Zucchini Muffins are my coping mechanism.

Zucchini Coconut Muffins - Healthy zucchini muffins made with coconut oil and whole wheat flour, with toasted coconut on top.With zucchini, July is all romance. It’s been ages since we’ve been together, we can’t get enough of each other, and sappy violin music follows us everywhere we go. I’m in summer produce heaven.

By August, zucchini gets clingy. It moves from occupying a small corner of my crisper to sprawling lawlessly all over the bottom shelf of my refrigerator and out onto the counter. What was once a good thing (the occasional summer veggie burrito or zucchini waffle) deteriorates into total squash mutiny, and I find myself struggling to find creative ways to deplete my supply.

{Continue reading and snag the recipe…}