Salad Dressing Cupcakes

I’m currently on an 8-week weight loss challenge, but when your 5-year-old begs and pleas for cupcakes, the only way to keep her quiet is to just make the darn things and move on…without eating a single cupcake, and it’s hard!
Willpower is not in my vocabulary at all. Though I do practice it regularly, most of the time I fail miserably. With Lent being a few days away, I always remind myself of the times where I said I was going to give up chocolate or ice cream for 40 days and end up caving after the first week. So food isn’t something I can’t “give up” for Lent. This year it’s simply going to be reorganization. Reorganizing all the dreaded paperwork regarding the move, my dad, old bills, new bills, then the closet, Alex’s bookshelves, life in general…
I also used to rewrite most of my mother’s recipes to make her recipe boxes look a little neater and more organized, and for them to close shut. The smeared ink and rips from the worn-out index cards used to drive me mad.
The other day my brother asked about Mom’s salad dressing cake recipe. I found it, handwritten by me, of course.
About this salad dressing cake, it only has 7 ingredients, not including the frosting, and it’s also what Mom liked when it came to recipes: quick and simple. I kept the index card out in case I make it myself. The child wanted cupcakes, so I tried the recipe in cupcake form, with mayonnaise, because that was what I had in the fridge at the time.
Other things I did to the recipe: Instead of flour, I used cake flour. Cake flour makes your cakes and cupcakes fluffier, and doesn’t make them dry, which dry cakes/cupcakes are a problem I usually run into.
The recipe also calls for cold coffee.   Because we don’t have a coffee maker, we rarely drink the hot stuff anyway, so I usually steer clear from any recipe that requires it. Thank goodness for the refrigerated stuff! Recently Mike started up on Stok’s chocolate black coffee, so it’s a life-saver, even for him due to working nights and playing frontman for his band. Using black coffee with a chocolate flavor gave the cupcakes an even darker color and more chocolate to the taste.
But the star ingredient here is the mayo. If you have creamy salad dressing and no mayo, go for it! It works just as well. Once these cupcakes were cooled and frosted, peeling back the cupcake liner revealed how fluffy these things are, thanks to the cake flour.
Okay, okay, I did allow myself to have ONE to taste-test. Now to test my willpower all over again!

2 cups cake flour
1 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup creamy salad dressing (or mayonnaise)
1 cup chocolate-flavored cold black coffee
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (32 oz.) bag powdered sugar
12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) softened margarine
3 tablespoons milk
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
– Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pans with cupcake liners.
– In a mixing bowl with a whisk attachment, whisk together cake flour, sugar, cocoa powder and baking soda.
– Combine salad dressing, coffee and vanilla extract with dry ingredients. Mix together until blended.
– Fill each cupcake liner ½ to 2/3 full.
– Bake for 25-30 minutes, until toothpick inserted in a cupcake comes out clean.
– Remove from oven and allow cupcakes to cool in pans for 10 minutes before placing on wire racks to cool completely.
– For the frosting: Combine all 4 ingredients in a mixing bowl using a whisk or paddle attachment for about 3-4 minutes until frosting reaches a soft and smooth consistency. If frosting is mixing a little dry, add a little more milk.
– Frost cupcakes using a small offset spatula. Makes 21 cupcakes.

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