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Election night cupcakes

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Laura Edwins/The Christian Science Monitor

(Read caption) Everyone loves chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting. Decorate them with red or blue candy to show support for your political party, or both if you're feeling bipartisan.

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There's no doubt about it, cupcakes work for every occasion. Banish any thought that these treats are just for kids, and quell your rollar coaster of Election Day emotions with a sugar rush.

This simple recipe, which can be done ahead of the Tuesday night returns, is perfect for an election night party. Both the batter and the frosting can be stored at room temperature for a couple hours, or in the refrigerator for a couple days. The chocolate cake batter makes fudgy, moist cakes, and the vanilla frosting starts off velvety, but hardens a bit on the cakes to form a crispy, sugary coating that melts in your mouth.

This recipe is specifically for cupcakes, rather than an adapted cake recipe, so it's intended to make exactly 12. My muffin tin is a bit smaller than the standard size, and I found I had enough batter for about 14 cupcakes. I also found myself with a lot of extra frosting, even after I layered more frosting onto the cakes than I usually would.

Decorate the cupcakes with red or blue to celebrate your political party, or both if you're feeling a bit bipartisan. I used thin red licorice and the blue pieces from Hershey's York Peppermint Paddy Pieces for my American "flags." Blue M&Ms would work just as well. I also experimented with red food coloring and shredded coconut.

Even if you're watching the election results alone, you may want to have some cupcakes on hand. Is there any better way to celebrate your candidate's win, or drown the dismay of a loss than with chocolate and frosting?

Chocolate cupcakes with crispy magic frosting
Recipe adapted from "Flour" by Joanne Chang
Makes about 12 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped 

1/4 cup cocoa powder (the original recipe calls for Dutch-processed cocoa powder, I used regular Hershey's, which worked fine)

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

1/3 cup water

1/2 cup milk

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