In my philosophy classes this quarter we've been talking quite a bit about mind/body dualism, the theory that the mind and the body are separate. The difficulty lies in explaining just how the two are separated-after all, if the mind is non-physical, how can it have an effect on the physical world? And how can the physical world affect it?

    Cupcakes are the answer. These little morsels of sugary goodness transcend the physical sensation of eating and bring joy to the very essence of your being. If milk does a body good, cupcakes do a mind good.

    I know cupcakes have been in vogue lately and are expected to go out of style at any moment, but these mocha cupcakes are never going to get old. I don't see how cupcakes could ever be anything less than beloved anyway. They're adorable, for crying out loud!

Mocha cupcakes
*makes about 15 full-size cupcakes, and about 15 mini cupcakes

2 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup skim milk
2 tsp espresso powder
3 eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder

Melt the chocolate in a large glass or cermaic bowl in the microwave. Allow to cool. Add the butter and mix well. Cream in the sugar and add the vanilla. In a separate glass, mix the milk and espresso powder, stirring until the espresso powder is completely dissolved. Incorporate this into the other mixture. Add the eggs and wisk to break the yolks. In a separate bowl, combine the flour and baking powder. Add this to the wet ingredients, and wisk for 1 minute until the batter is smooth and thick. Fill cupcake cups a little more than halfway. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes for the mini cupcakes, and 15 minutes for the full-size cupcakes. Allow to cool before frosting.

Mocha Buttercream Frosting:

1/4 cup butter, soft
about 2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 oz unsweetened baking chocolate, melted
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp milk
1/2 tsp espresso powder

Mix the butter with 1 cup of powdered sugar. Add the melted chocolate and the vanilla, and stir to fully incorporate. Mix the milk and espresso powder in a separate glass to dissolve the espresso powder, then add this gradually to the frosting. Add about 1 cup more powdered sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, until the frosting has the desired consistency. Frosts about 15 full size cupcakes and about 15 mini cupcakes.

To make chocolate decorations:
Melt 2 tbsp semi-sweet chocolate chips. Put the melted chocolate in a ziplock bag, and snip off one of the corners of the bag, making a hole about 1/8 inch wide. Pipe designs onto a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper, then put the sheet in the freezer for 5 minutes to solidify. Gently peel the decorations off of the waxed paper and place them on top of frosted cupcakes.