I think these were meant to be the same as red velvet cakes but without the red food coloring. The basic ingredients are the same as in a red velvet, including the cocoa powder for the chocolate flavor and the buttermilk. The white vinegar in addition to the buttermilk is a bit unusual since typically, the buttermilk has enough tang without adding more acidity. Fortunately, that's offset by the baking soda.
I like the concept of little bite-sized desserts and am always on the lookout for stuff to serve at dessert buffet parties. You can enjoy one little dessert and move on to the next offering for something different. Or, if you like it, you can have another one without doing too much caloric damage. Just don't have 20. I'm a believer in portion control and I'm also a believer in having a little of the real thing rather than a larger portion of a low-cal, low-fat version (unless you actually like that stuff - I usually don't).
The recipe says this makes 24 mini muffin size cupcakes. In my 24-mini-muffin pan, I filled the cavities almost to the top and still had enough batter left over for a small ramekin. Depending on the size of your mini muffin pan, you may get slightly more than 24 mini cupcakes. Don't overfill these or you'll end up with muffin tops spilling over and you don't want that since these are little cupcakes, not little muffins. They're also harder to get out of the pan if the tops overflow since the cakes are more fragile than muffins.
I really liked these mini cakes. They weren't too chocolatey and their texture was light and moist at the same time. They're perfect as a bite-size since they're also a little fragile. I think if they were a larger size, they'd fall apart more easily. They were so good that you can easily serve them without frosting as well. I wasn't overly impressed with the frosting on this one but that could've been my fault. The flour & milk mixture was supposed to be chilled. I put it in the refrigerator to cool but I think I added it to the butter mixture too soon and the butter got a little warm and tried to separate. I put the whole thing back in the fridge after I mixed it in and beat it again once it really was chilled. I also added almost half a cup more powdered sugar in an attempt to get it to bind better. But to no avail - the frosting still looked like it was going to melt even though it was literally chilled. Definitely not a smooth frosting. But the mini cupcakes were good so if you have a vanilla frosting you like better, use that instead.
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
¾ cup sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup buttermilk
1 ½ teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ cup milk
1 cup powdered sugar
8 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350⁰F. Coat 24 miniature muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray or line with miniature paper liners.
2. Cream butter and add the sugar; beat until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and mix in the cocoa. In a small bowl, mix the flour, salt and baking soda. In a 1-cup measure, mix the buttermilk, vinegar and vanilla.
3. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture alternately with the buttermilk mixture. Beat until batter is smooth and fluffy. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, dividing equally. The batter will come nearly to the top of each cup. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until cakes feel firm when touched in the center. Remove from the oven and cool.
4. Make the frosting: In a small saucepan, combine the flour and milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thickened. Cover and chill. In a medium-sized bowl, beat the sugar, butter and vanilla until thick and light. Add the chilled flour mixture to the creamed mixture and blend until smooth.