I eventually chose this recipe from Food.com, called Mom´s Chocolate Cupcakes:
* 1 1/2 cups flour
* 1 cup granulated sugar (I used 3/4 cup)
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1/3 cup cocoa powder (I used 1/2 cup)
* 1/2 cup oil
* 1 cup water (I used coffee)
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 tablespoon vinegar
1. Mix all ingredients together until moist and well blended.
2. Put in cupcake cups and bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees F.
3. Frost with your favorite icing.
4. To make a layer cake, double the recipes and put in 2 round cake pans.
5. Increase baking time to about 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
I have to say these are not the most chocolate-y things I´ve ever eaten, but they are yummy! And the texture is exactly what I remember as cupcakes - a fine grained sponge cake that is moist but not dense. I´m using oversized cups and a muffin tin so I got 8 large cupcakes (remembering my last experience when they only came up half way.) I´ve seen the recipe elsewhere online as Depression Cake, presumeably for the absence of expensive eggs and dairy.
I did a search for chocolate buttercream, thinking I would try out a cake decorating kit I picked up at Lidl. There are a couple of different versions, some requiring heating egg whites with sugar and then incorporating the butter and chocolate. Or there´s the simpler powdered sugar/butter/chocolate ones, such as here at Savory Sweet Life.
Of course nothing ever goes that smoothly, I discovered that I only had about 3/4 cup of powdered sugar which is one of those things that you can´t find just anywhere. So I improvised on the amounts and managed enough for 3 cupcakes, but not enough to make it worth dirtying the decorating equipment, so that will have to wait for another time. The result was satisfyingly buttery and sweet, but again not chocolate enough for me.
And sure enough, V tried one, liked it OK and proceeded to eat a Magnum icecream bar instead. (Dove bar for y´all in the US)
Not going to win any awards for presentation or photography:
For more fun cupcake recipes (and more):
A Tender Crumb