The perfect cupcake for any chocolate lover! These chocolate cupcakes are deliciously moist with a delicate crumb and decorated with a swirl of ultra decadent milk chocolate buttercream.
This recipe was originally published on January 27th 2016.
These chocolate cupcakes definitely live up to their name and as the title describes, they are ultimately good. I’ll never need to find a new chocolate cupcake recipe ever again and neither will you.
Made with a combination of dark chocolate and cocoa powder for intense chocolate flavour. I usually just add cocoa powder to my chocolate cupcakes, but this time I wanted to elevate the flavour by adding even more chocolate to the mix!
The cake itself has a perfect crumb texture. It’s rich, chocolatey and fluffy and will stay moist for days without becoming dry.
After you’ve baked the cupcakes, the next step is to make the milk chocolate buttercream. It wouldn’t be a cupcake without buttercream after all.
These cupcakes will pretty much suit any buttercream you could think of, but this time I went for a classic milk chocolate buttercream. My milk chocolate buttercream recipe is unbelievably delicious and super simple to prepare – it’s pretty much a standard vanilla buttercream recipe with the addition of melted milk chocolate.
To make it, cream the butter until softened and then add the icing sugar. I get many questions from readers asking me to help with their buttercream dilemmas and the most common question is regarding the texture of buttercream and for example why it’s grainy and not smooth. My top tip is to sift your icing sugar for the best buttercream that’s free of any lumps – I’ve had countless buttercream disasters because of not sifting my icing sugar, so it’s definitely worth not skipping this step!
Continue to mix the butter and icing sugar for about 2-3 minutes or until the buttercream is fluffy and has lightened in colour. Finally, add the vanilla extract, double cream and the melted milk chocolate and mix gently until all the ingredients are combined and the buttercream is smooth.
This buttercream has just the right balance of sweetness and isn’t too rich. I did in fact eat a few spoonfuls from the bowl before decorating the cupcakes. It’s a hard job being a food blogger sometimes…
I’m addicted to this buttercream and now these chocolate cupcakes. I cannot wait to bake my next batch!
85g dark chocolate, finely chopped
40g cocoa powder
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules or powder (optional)
180ml boiling water
105g strong white bread flour (can be substituted with plain flour)
150g caster sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large free-range eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Milk Chocolate Buttercream:
125g butter (salted or unsalted), softened
250g icing sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3-4 tablespoons double cream
200g milk chocolate, melted and cooled
- To make the cupcakes: Place the chopped chocolate, cocoa powder and coffee granules/powder (if using) in a medium mixing bowl. Pour the boiling water over and whisk until smooth and all the chocolate has melted. Place in the fridge for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180°C / 160°C Fan / 350°F / Gas Mark 4. Line a 12-hole cupcake/muffin tin with paper cases. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and bicarbonate of soda until thoroughly combined. Whisk the oil, eggs, vinegar and vanilla into the now cooled chocolate mixture. Finally, add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk until you have a smooth batter.
- Divide the batter between the paper cases – I find using an ice cream scoop best for doing this as it makes less mess. Bake for 17-19 minutes or until the cupcakes are well risen and a cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the centre. Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes and then transport to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.
- To make the buttercream: Cream the butter for about a minute or two to soften. Now add the sifted icing in two batches and beat for another 2-3 minutes until the buttercream is light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and double cream.
- Mix in the melted chocolate until just combined and decorate the cupcakes as desired. The cupcakes will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
- Use the best quality chocolate you can afford.
- If you’re not a fan of coffee you can substitute the coffee with water. You can’t really taste the coffee, but it intensifies the chocolate flavour so I highly recommend adding the coffee.
- When making the buttercream, remember to sift your icing sugar and add the sugar in batches to ensure you create a smooth textured buttercream.
- Feel free to decorate the cupcakes with a different frosting flavour like classic vanilla or something fruity like strawberry or raspberry.
- I decorated these cupcakes with Cake Angels Chocoholics Sprinkles (using the Milk Chocolate Vermicelli and Milk Chocolate Drops).
Chocolate cupcake recipe from Cook’s Illustrated, milk chocolate buttercream recipe by What Jessica Baked Next
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37 thoughts on “Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes”
a perfectly posh cupcake! Bet it tastes divine.
These cupcakes are gorgeous, Jessica! I love that pretty frosting. I am so bad when it comes to frosting, as mine look like fat blobs! 🙂 I bet these taste amazing, too!
Thanks Gayle! I bet your frosting tastes and looks great. I think you’d really like these!
Love anything chocolate. These cupcakes look and sound ultimate indeed. 🙂
These are GORGEOUS – so much chocolate going on! Love the milk ball on top!
They look delicious Jess! Chocolate is the king of all cupcake flavours after all 🙂 And I definitely agree on using coffee to bring out the chocolate.
Thanks Charlotte! The coffee really adds to the intense chocolate flavour in these cupcakes. Really happy you like them!
I am tempted to make a batch of your frosting and just call that my lunch. This looks amazing, Jess!
Thanks Eva! Frosting for lunch sounds like a brilliant idea!
Wowza, Jessica these cupcakes totally look like the ultimate! A chocolate lovers dream, for sure! Loving that you used dark chocolate in the cupcakes and that frosting looks killer! So YUM! Cheers, girlfriend!
Thanks so much, Cheyanne!
These cupcakes look awesome, Jess! And that frosting…woah. I might need a double batch of the frosting. You know, just for testing purposes and all. 🙂
Thanks David! I’ll take any excuse to make/eat this frosting again… 😉
I need to make cupcakes, now when Valentine’s Day is around the corner! These look gorgeous and delicious!
These cupcakes look fantastic! It really is hard to make the PERFECT chocolate cupcake and it looks like you’ve mastered it!
Thanks Linda! You have to give these a try. This is definitely the best chocolate cupcake I’ve ever tried!
Wow! These would definitely satisfy my chocolate craving! The cupcake looks so moist, and that frosting definitely does look creamy. I could eat that on anything!
These cupcakes are absolutely perfection for us chocolate lovers! I’m swooning over that frosting!
Absolutely GORGEOUS! That frosting is perfection.
These chocolate cupcakes look perfect! I’m addicted to chocolate, so I would love to have a bite! You decorated them perfectly, and that ball on top is such a nice touch!
That frosting! So incredibly creamy, it looks amazing. I am definitely a chocolate person! <3
Love all that deliciously creamy frosting- I’m such a chocolate fan 🙂
I just recently made some chocolate cupcakes and yours look so much more moist than mine! That frosting sounds so perfect too!
Oh my goodness! These cupcakes look irresistible! I love chocolate!
These cupcakes look amazing, Jess! So soft and fluffy! And that frosting is to die for!!
Wow! These are gorgeous!! Love the addition of dark chocolate 🙂
It’s all about chocolate for me, and these cupcakes look like they would satisfy even my chocolate cravings! That frosting looks so creamy and amazing!
Oh my! These do look amazing!!! I really love the frosting and your little chocolaty decorations!
These look incredible! We actually made some chocolate cupcakes yesterday and it was the first cupcake that I have had in about a year. I will give these a try next time.
I love your perfect cupcakes, Jess! They always look amazing. Thanks for the great frosting recipe, too. I always struggle with my frostings! 😉
These definitely look like THE perfect chocolate cupcakes!
Hi Jess this look so good and easy to follow quick question if i wanted to make more cupcakes or even a chocolate cake would i just double the recipe?
Hi Sonia! If you wanted to make more cupcakes you could definitely try doubling the recipe, I’ve never tried that but it should work just fine. For a chocolate layer cake I always use this brilliant recipe from Ina Garten.
They look so moist and delicious!
Can I use olive oil?
You can use olive oil, but it’s best to use a light flavoured olive oil rather than extra virgin olive oil which will be too strong in flavour. I hope you enjoy the cupcakes!