Oh how I love a cup-a-cake (this is how I pronounce it because, let's face it, it just makes them sound so much sweeter). Whenever you feel happy or sad or silly, they are the perfect little dessert. A bit time consuming, perhaps, but so worth it in the end.
For these little beauties, I used a chocolate cake recipe from...you guessed it: Ina Garten...and just poured the batter into a muffin tin. No paper frilly things necessary because they a) are expensive and b) get in the way of devouring the cake beneath.
I also used a nice Belgian cocoa powder. I am a huge Ghirardelli fan and always use their chocolate chips, but their cocoa always seems a little stale to me.
For a few of the cakes, I cut a hole in the center and filled it with extra frosting - a nice little surprise for the unsuspecting.
I also contemplated adding 2 heaping spoonfuls of peanut butter into the buttercream but decided against it because I just wanted my chocolate pure and sinful :)
I also cut the recipe down to 1 1/2 sticks of butter - which I set out all day so they would actually be room temperature. If you don't do this, you get terrible little chunky butter pellets that are unattractive and an awful reminder that you ARE eating pure butter.
A handy trick I use to fill the pastry bag is to orient a Ziploc baggie over the rim or a cup - this way both your hands are free to fill it up. Then, pick the bag up, snap it shut, and squeeze the icing to one side. Snip a little hole with kitchen scissors and decorate away!
Finally, I sprinkled the tops with some funfetti chocolate chips my boyfriend shipped over from Michigan - thanks, sweetie!