birthday treats for a January (read resolution) birthday: chocolate yogurt cakes

It's co-worker birthday time!  Spunky Chicago girl new to the lulu team this fall, Katie, celebrates a birthday today.  Yesterday I quizzed her on just what dessert she might eat because she has joined in on a 21-day clean eating program with many of our fellow lemons that I am pretty sure does not include sugar, white flour and chocolate.  I was assured she might have a little cake to celebrate because she loves cake and it is her birthday.  So I searched for a recipe that wouldn't be too rich and wouldn't make too much because even though I am continuing on with my usual omnivore/everything in moderation program, I do not need a dozen cupcakes staring me down.  Found a French recipe for little chocolate cakes (suspiciously resembling cupcakes) that made just a dozen unfrosted little treats with a reasonable ingredient list.  My pantries, refrigerators and freezers are still full and it's always a mission of mine in January and February to cook through the food I have on hand so this recipe I used some of the lovely Callebaut chocolate I purchased for that amazing Irish Coffee Three Layer Cake I baked in December.

While I was in the kitchen last night I also tossed together a new kale salad, made a tray of raw "oatmeal raisin" bars featuring dates (a quest that will be documented) and cooked some wheat berries for some salad I'll decide on later this week.  All that because I really intended to come home and reorganize my kitchen or some other silly chore that was just too much to take on after my second day back amongst the working and the more or less healthy.  Lacked focus, but somehow got some things done despite myself.

Without further ado, here is my first blog post of the new year.  Make a little batch now or bookmark them for a baking day when you need a little chocolate.  They are not too sweet, but moist and kind of cute with their cracked puffy tops.

Chocolate Yogurt Cakes

7 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 C vegetable oil, divided
1/2 C plain yogurt (I used fat free Greek yogurt, but the recipe calls for whole milk yogurt)
1 C sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 C flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 T King Arthur Flour Cake Enhancer, completely optional
confectioner's sugar for dusting

Heat your oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners or lightly spray the pan (I try not to spray my nice new pans, the spray bakes on in a really hard to remove sticky film and that makes me sad).
Melt chocolate with 1/4 C of the vegetable oil in a small bowl in the microwave on high for 30 seconds, stir and then repeat at 15 second intervals until smooth.  In a medium bowl, stir together the remaining 1/4 C oil, yogurt, sugar, eggs and vanilla.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cake enhancer (if using).    Make a well in the center of the dry mixture and pour in the yogurt mixture.  Stir together a few times and then pour in the melted chocolate and stir, scraping sides, until just combined.
Scoop out batter into muffin cups.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until the cakes are barely set in the center and a tester comes out clean.  I just patted mine lightly and they sprang right back so I did not need to test them.
Turn out onto a wire rack and cool.  Dust with confectioner's sugar.  Or enjoy them warm with some whipped cream and berries.  I imagine that would be the French way.

Makes 12 little cakes

little French chocolate yogurt cakes


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