Chocolate Spice Cakes
  • 1 cup fat free buttermilk
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup canola oil
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¾ teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350. Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners OR butter a 9 X 13 baking dish.
  2. In a large bowl, Whisk together the buttermilk, sugar, oil, and vanilla.
  3. Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Mix well.
  5. Stir in the black pepper.
  6. Divide the batter between the 12 prepared muffin cups OR scrape it all into the buttered 9 X 13 pan. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl and gently stir the batter while dividing it so that the pepper is distributed evenly.
  7. Bake the cupcakes for 12-14 minutes, turning the pan halfway through baking, or until a pick inserted into the center comes out clean. If you made the 9 X 13 cake, bake for 10 minutes, turn the pan, and then bake for 10 more minutes. Check with a toothpick inserted into the center.
  8. Cool the cakes completely.
  9. See notes for frosting, serving, and assembly.
To assemble these with the lemon thyme pastry cream, unwrap each cooled cake and slice them in half, horizontally. Spoon a bit of the cooled pastry cream onto the bottom half and top with the top half of each cupcake. The cakes pictured here are topped with a traditional chocolate ganache (semi-sweet chocolate chips & heavy cream) and a sprig of thyme. These cakes would be excellent with ganache only. Or a basic buttercream frosting. Martha Stewart has a recipe for a black pepper buttercream that would work well, too. Be creative!! And eat more cake.
Recipe by Sugar Dish Me at