Vanilla Chocolate Mini Cakes

It's March in California, should be nice and warm right? Nope. It's cold here this week in San Francisco, we live on top of a hill and today the wind has a strong pacific ocean chill to it. Warmer days to come, but a good day for baking. And chocolate. I haven't forgotten the Blueberry Lemon Yogurt Cake I made last month, the texture was so rich and moist, so good we devoured it in about three days, well maybe two, it was just there and then gone. I thought to try a variation on it, and while this was somewhat of an experiment, it works, super tasty and satisfying. The core recipe is the same, yogurt cake, but made with vanilla bean and shaved/chunked chocolate. And a note about vanilla beans, we currently have a ton of vanilla beans, I finally bought some online after spending ridiculous amounts of money on 1 bean, like $5 for ONE bean at Whole Foods (I love me some Whole Foods but that is just nuts). So I found a place on amazon that has them at $18 for 1/2 pound. This is such a deal, there has to be about 50-70 beans in the package! Why does Whole Foods and other culinary shops charge so much? Seriously? But if you need vanilla beans that is the way to go. 

I wanted to make little mini cakes from this recipe rather than use a loaf pan, so I ended up using 2 different types of baking pans, I only had 2 mini cake pans, and 4 mini pie/tart dishes, but these worked out to the right amount, so you will need eight 4-ounce baking dishes/pans or four 8-ounces. You could also use a loaf pan like the original recipe, but it will have to bake longer, closer to 50 minutes. 

This is very quick to make and I love having all these little cakes around! Hope you enjoy. Recipe below.

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Vanilla Chocolate Mini Cakes

  • 1 1/2 Cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 3.5 ounce dark chocolate (roughly chopped and divided in half)*

Makes eight 4-ounce or four 8-ounces mini baking dishes (alternatively this can be made in standard loaf 8.5"x4.5"  pan, baking time will increase to 50 minutes)

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease small cake pans with butter.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.

In a large bowl combine the yogurt, sugar, eggs, vanilla seeds and vanilla extract, whisk until combined. 

Whisk the flour mixture into the liquid mixture until well combined.

Fold in the oil with a rubber spatula until thoroughly mixed, then fold in half of the chocolate chunks.

Pour the batter in the mini pans and top each with remaining chocolate chunks. bake for 30 minutes (toothpick should come out clean in center)

Remove from oven to baking rack and cool for about 10 minutes before removing from pans. 

* Keep half of the chocolate chunks large for the topping

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