Oh, chocolate. It’s made me weak in the knees since I was a kid sneaking it into the cart when my mom wasn’t looking. Some people prefer fruity desserts but I tend to lean toward the decadence of something chocolatey. If you’re in the same boat, then this recipe is for you: melt-in-your-mouth chocolate cupcakes with a chocolate buttercream that has been described by a friend as “the kind you need to put in the sink and fill the bowl with water because you can’t stop eating it.”
This is a classic flavor pairing that will satisfy any chocolate lover in your life, and I’m a firm believer that every cake maker should have a good chocolate cake and chocolate buttercream recipe up their sleeve. Whether you pair them together or use them separately to pair with other flavors, these are some great recipe staples. I’ve paired the chocolate buttercream with yellow cake and have paired the chocolate cake with tons of different buttercream recipes, some of my very favorites being almond, coconut, and raspberry buttercream.
This cupcake recipe calls for natural, unsweetened Cocoa Powder, which differs from Dutch-Process Cocoa Powder mainly because of (you guessed it!) the process by which it’s made. Natural Cocoa Powder is made by simply roasting cocoa beans and grinding them into a fine powder, while Dutch-Process beans are first washed with potassium to neutralize the acidity before the grinding process. The potassium solution causes the Dutch-Process Cocoa to react differently in recipes that use baking soda (like this one!), and although there are some recipes where Dutch-Process is the way to go, this one is better with the natural stuff. I use Hershey’s, but you can use any brand that doesn’t have the Dutch-Process label.
I’ve kept the decoration simple with these babies by piping a swirl of chocolate buttercream with my Wilton 1M tip, but feel free to get creative with the design. They’re made even more beautiful with these pretty sprinkles from Fancy Sprinkles in the Birthday Balloons mix. I just love the pops of color and texture they add!
Side Note: One of my favorite birthday presents this year was this tiny glass cupcake stand you’re seeing in the photo above! Isn’t it the cutest thing ever? I’m a bit obsessed.
Chocolate Cupcakes With Chocolate Buttercream
Rich and moist chocolate cupcakes topped with decadent chocolate buttercream.
- 1 1/3 cups (184g) all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup (63g) natural unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-Process)
- 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup (80ml) vegetable oil
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 1/3 cup (80ml) whole milk, room temperature
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup (240ml) boiling water
- 1 cup (226g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3 1/2 cups (420g) powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup (42g) natural, unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 Tbsp (45ml) whole milk, room temperature
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
Make The Chocolate Cupcakes
Preheat the oven to 325˚F and line a muffin pan with cupcake liners. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Place the sifted dry ingredients into the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the sugar to the mixture and mix at low speed until blended. Add the vegetable oil and continue to mix until the mixture is crumbly, about 1 minute.
In a separate medium-sized bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and vanilla extract until blended. With the mixer at low speed, add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and mix for two minutes, scraping down the bowl and paddle as necessary.
Slowly add the boiling water and mix until just blended and the batter is smooth, scraping down the bowl and paddle to ensure uniform consistency. Pour the batter evenly amongst cupcake liners, about ⅔ full each. Bake the cupcakes for 17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool thoroughly before frosting.
Make The Chocolate Buttercream
In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, whip butter on medium speed until creamy and light in color, about four minutes. Scrape down the bowl and paddle and turn the mixer to low, then add powdered sugar, cocoa powder, milk, salt, and vanilla extract. Increase the speed to high and beat for three minutes.
Let the cupcakes cool thoroughly before frosting with chocolate buttercream. In the images above, I've used Wilton tip 1M to pipe a swirl with the buttercream before adding sprinkles.
Make Ahead Tips: The cupcakes can be made ahead and stored at room temperature, covered with plastic wrap, for up to two days. Alternatively, they can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for up to two months.
The buttercream recipe can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. When you’re ready to use it, re-whip with your stand mixer.