Hey Cupcake!

Ernie and Leola Freeman

My parents Ernie and Leola Freeman about 1955.  She made an old fashioned cake for a party


Today I am making cupcakes to take to church.  It’s a potluck.  Cupcakes are easier to manage when you have lots of food on a flimsy paper plate to manage.  Cupcakes show up everywhere now days.

Throughout most of my younger life, cupcakes were for kid’s birthday parties.  They were mostly served at school parties by room mothers. These cupcakes were either yellow cake or chocolate cake, made from a cake mix in the room mother’s kitchen. The frosting would be chocolate, or perhaps mom had used some food coloring in white frosting because, after all, it was a party!  Sprinkles were applied as a sparkly decoration.

Of course, if you could manage to save some of your allowance, you could get a Hostess chocolate cupcake with that yummy creamy filling.  When I was a kid I could get one for three cents.  I guess that makes me kind of old.  That just means I know what I’m doing!

cat eats cupcakes

red cat eating cupcakes on the table

Now there are cupcakes for every swank occasion.  Parties and weddings have stacks of cupcakes arranged in layers.  The cupcakes are every color, flavor and theme.  They are beautiful.  They are funny.  They are exotic.  They are adorable.  Oh, and they taste great!

My nephew and his wife served layers and layers of red velvet cupcakes at their wedding.  They served mirrored platters of cupcakes on every table in the reception hall.  I ate three of them.  Well, they were sitting right in front of me.  You would have too.

Even the local bakeries and grocery stores display beautiful works of cupcake art.  There are even all-cupcake bakeries.

cupcakes tier

cute and colorful yummy cupcakes tier

There are tiered cupcake displays —  five tiers!! There are cupcake tree displays.  Imagine!  A cupcake tree.  Oh my.  There are cupcake bouquets.  There are cupcakes in ice cream cones.  There are cupcakes with fortunes inside the liners. There are cupcakes with two flavors — half and half cupcakes..  And the liners, every color and theme that anyone has ever thought up.

Miniature cupcakes

mini cupcakes on a multi level tier in different colors

But I’m the vintage cook with my cats and an old recipe box.  I’m going to make my mom’s recipe for “Chocolate Chip Mocha” cupcakes.  I don’t remember ever tasting these but the recipe card is in her precise handwriting.  I know the recipe will be perfect and delicious.  My mom always got everything right.  A nice trait to have!

One time, I was going to start a sewing project and lost my pattern.  I looked everywhere in my apartment.  I was so frustrated.  I was going crazy looking for the danged thing.  Finally in desperation, I called my mom.  I told her my problem and she told me to look on top of the refrigerator.  And you know what?  There it was.  She always got everything right.  We called her the finder of lost things.


This is my mom, Leola’s, recipe. These would show up at school on my birthday when I was a little girl. Yum. I always wanted purple frosting (my favorite color) but that never happened.



  • DSC_0127_edited-1
  • Ingredients:1 cup shortening
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup cold coffee
  • 3 cups. Flour
  • ¼ cup baking cocoa
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • Directions
    Cream shortening, add sugar and eggs.
  • Whisk flour, baking soda, cocoa and salt together in a separate bowl.
  • Add flour mixture and coffee alternately .
  • DSC_0140_edited-1
  • Stir chocolate chips and nuts.
  • Pour the batter into a lined cupcake tin Bake 12-15 minutes at 350 degrees. Use a pick to test for doneness. 



The full recipe is really too much cake for two of us to tackle.  I needed to cut it down so I can make just six cupcakes, a reasonable amount for the two of us.   Here’s what I came up with for smaller portions:

Same cupcakes—less of them:

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/8 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup strong coffee
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Put the ingredients together following the above instructions.  Put just four liners in the cupcake tin and fill them 2/3 full.  Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

I thought this would make six cupcakes.  It made seven.  Darn!  You can see what a mess I made.  I’m just messy by nature, but I have one of the smallest kitchens in the world!  Maybe I should start a crowd funding for a bigger kitchen.  Or start blogging about surviving a small kitchen.

My dad was a photographer and started training me when I was about five years old.  I’ve taken thousands of pictures in my life but I’ve never taken pictures and cooked at the same time.  A challenge since my camera is right handed.  It means I have to cook left handed.


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