Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes

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.

chocolate fudge cupcake WJBN

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!

(Makes 12)

Ingredients:

Chocolate Cupcakes:

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

Method:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Recipe Notes:

  • 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

Enjoy!

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Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes

Decadent chocolate fudge cupcakes with a moist crumb, topped with salted caramel buttercream. You’ll find it hard to stop eating these!

chocolate-salted-caramel-cupcakes

(Recipe and blog post updated September 2016)

I originally shared this recipe in October 2013. It remains one of my favourite cupcake recipes. I made these cupcakes three whole years ago for my grandad’s birthday. This was one of the first recipes I shared on my blog all that time ago. I’ve kept the concept of the original recipe the same, but I’ve made a few alterations, which I believe have made these cupcakes even more delicious.

chocolate-cupcakes

So what makes these chocolate cupcakes special? I think the reason these cupcakes stand out from the other recipes I have tried is because this particular recipe incorporates melted dark chocolate into the batter. Sounds silly, right? But a fair share of chocolate cupcake recipes only call for cocoa powder, which is ok, but for me cocoa powder alone doesn’t pack that real chocolate flavour punch, you need a touch of dark chocolate in there for the strong chocolate taste. Also, the addition of coffee in the cupcake batter is a must! Coffee helps to bring out the chocolate flavour, but if you’re not a fan of mocha flavour or are making the cupcakes for kids/non coffee lovers, then you can leave it out and just use boiling water instead.

Another thing I changed to the original recipe is this time I added caramel to the buttercream. The first time I shared the recipe I topped the cupcakes with vanilla buttercream and drizzled each cupcake with caramel. This new version is a cheat’s recipe, I’m not even ashamed to admit that I use readymade caramel/dulce de leche, but if you have homemade you can definitely use that.

Decoration is where the fun begins! I like to decorate by drizzling each cupcake with extra caramel and some cubes of dairy fudge or chewy caramel candy/sweets. Feel free to scatter over some chocolate or sprinkles as well!

(Makes 12)

Ingredients:

Chocolate Cupcakes:

85g (3 ounces) dark chocolate, finely chopped

40g (1/3 cup) cocoa powder

1 teaspoon instant coffee granules or powder (optional)

180ml (3/4 cup) boiling water

105g (3/4 cup) bread flour (can be substituted with plain/all-purpose flour)

150g (3/4 cup) caster or granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon (3g) salt

1/2 teaspoon (3g) 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

Salted Caramel Buttercream:

150g (2/3 cup) salted butter, softened

375g icing sugar, sifted

100g (3.5 ounces) caramel or dulce de leche

Pinch of salt

Method:

  1. 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.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180°C / 160 Fan / 350°F / Gas Mark 4. Line a 12-hole 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 dry ingredients and whisk until you have a smooth batter.
  3. 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 5-10 minutes then transport to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.
  4. To make the buttercream: Once the cupcakes are cool, make your buttercream. Cream the softened butter until smooth. Add half the icing sugar and mix to combine. Add the remaining half of the icing sugar and beat again until throughly incorporated. Now continue to beat the butter and icing sugar together for about 5-7 minutes until it’s fluffy and a light pale colour. Make sure you scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl to ensure even mixing.
  5. Finally, add the caramel/dulce de leche along with the salt and beat until combined. Adjust consistency of the buttercream with the double cream/milk. Taste the buttercream and add more salt if you’d like. Frost the cupcakes as desired. Decorate the cupcakes with an extra drizzle of caramel, fudge/caramels, chocolate or sprinkles.

Recipe Notes:

  • Bread flour can be substituted with regular plain/all-purpose flour. The bread flour has a higher gluten content and produces a denser, more even structured cupcake.
  • This recipe calls for caster or granulated sugar. I’m based in the UK and caster sugar is the most commonly used sugar in baking. It’s a superfine sugar and dissolves better than granulated sugar.
  • Prior to making the buttercream, I recommend leaving the butter out overnight at room temperature to soften. The softer the butter, the creamier and smoother your buttercream will be.
  • I used a large closed star tip nozzle to pipe the buttercream onto these cupcakes.
  • Decorated cupcakes will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. I don’t think cupcakes have ever lasted that long in our house!

DSC09971

Enjoy!

jess

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