Last month we had a big party to celebrate the launch of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day and my husband Graham’s birthday. I served our favorite Devil’s Food cupcakes with a sweet cream cheese icing. Of course the bread was the star of the night, but these cupcakes got rave reviews and several people asked for the recipe.
The dark chocolate cake has a texture that is smooth and rich. Its flavor is not overly sweet, because of the intensity of the coffee and rum (the Devil in “Devil’s Food” perhaps?), which make it a great match for cream cheese frosting sweetened with Lyle’s Golden Syrup .*
If you haven’t tried Lyle’s you are in for a huge treat and a new addiction. I first had it when a friend of mine from South Africa gave it to me on a peanut butter sandwich. It is a decidedly British snack and like nothing you’ve ever had before. Lyle’s  is a syrup made of sugar cane that looks and feels like honey, but the taste is not nearly as cloying. It can be found in some grocery stores and even on Amazon, gotta’ love the internet!
3 cups granulated sugar
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/8 cups cocoa powder (It doesn’t seem to make a difference if you use natural or Dutch-processed), sift if lumpy.
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk or buttermilk
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup hot coffee
1/4 cup rum or brandy (if you opt out of the booze then use equal parts coffee)
Heat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare 3 dozen muffin tins with papers
Combine all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl and whisk until combined, set aside.
Whisk together, eggs, milk, oil and vanilla until well combined. Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Slowly add the hot coffee and rum to the batter and whisk until totally blended and smooth, about 2 minutes. The batter will be quite runny.
Fill a measuring cup or pitcher with the batter and then fill the muffin cups about 3/4 full. (Warning: some people have reported back that their cupcakes overflow when they fill them this full. You may want to try the first batch 2/3 full!)
Bake the cupcakes for about 18-20 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.
Allow to cool on a cake rack and then frost with cream cheese icing. Recipe follows:
Cream Cheese Icing with Lyle’s Golden Syrup*
1 (8 ounce) package of Philly’s Cream Cheese (I am really brand loyal, having tried lots!), softened
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 Tablespoon Lyle’s Golden Syrup  (use honey if you are in a pinch)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Combine all the ingredients in a medium sized bowl and cream together until smooth. I used a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip to decorate these cupcakes. You may want to double the icing recipe just in case you find yourself dipping into the bowl with a spoon!
*For those of you that want to learn to decorate your cupcakes with a little more flare, I will be teaching a cake decorating class at Cooks of Crocus Hill .