I love the smooth, shiny surface. These cakes always bake up moist and light, and are absolutely delicious. And they look cute with some decorations, too!
It's from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook, and I've used the recipe so much that the page is all crumpled and stained from past baking experiences (my baker side smiles with satisfaction at this, while the librarian in me struggles not to cry). It makes quite a bit of batter, so if you're making a cake, you'll need two pans (or a large bundt pan), and two standard 12-cup muffin pans for cupcakes.
Here's the recipe:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 tsps. baking soda
1 1/4 tsps. baking powder
1 1/4 tsps. salt
2 large whole eggs, plus 1 large YOLK
1 1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsps. vegetable oil
1 1/4 tsps. vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups warm water
Preheat the oven to 350F. Line your muffin pans with paper liners or spray your cake pans with cooking spray.
Sift together flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl.
Add the eggs and yolk, milk, oil, vanilla and water, and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until smooth and combined (about 3 minutes). Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups (about 2/3 full) or cake pans.
Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until a knife/toothpick inserted in the middle, comes out clean.
My cupcakes took about 25 minutes, but the cake took much longer, around 60 minutes (Martha suggests 45 minutes for the cake).
Cool the cupcakes completely before frosting.
And here are the cooling cakes: