Dark chocolate cupcakes with creamy, luscious white chocolate buttercream. These are for chocolate lovers only!
It is National Chocolate Week. This is one of the UK’s biggest chocolate events and I don’t know about you, but I’ll take pretty much any excuse to eat chocolate. To celebrate I baked cupcakes, not just any cupcakes, divine dark chocolate cupcakes with white chocolate buttercream.
If you’re a chocoholic just like me, then these scrumptious cupcakes will definitely be right up your street!
The recipe starts with Cook’s Illustrated ultimate chocolate cupcakes, a recipe I cannot stop raving about it. With rich chocolate flavour, each cake is gloriously fluffy and will just melt in your mouth. There’s no denying that this is my favourite chocolate cupcake and I’m sure it will soon become yours too. The cupcakes also have the perfect flat top and that means you can decorate each cupcake with a nice, generous swirl of buttercream. I have tried many chocolate cupcake recipes, all of which had claimed to the best, but it was Cook’s Illustrated’s recipe that ticked all the boxes for my taste testers and myself.
It wouldn’t be a cupcake without the buttercream after all. A creamy, luscious white chocolate buttercream sits atop a seriously fudgy and moist chocolate cupcake.
To make the buttercream, start by creaming your butter for a few minutes. You’ll want to have left your butter out overnight to ensure it’s really soft. Bear in mind the softer your butter is, the airer and lighter your buttercream will be. Once you’ve whipped your butter add the sifted icing sugar (in two batches) and slowly combine into the butter to avoid a sugar cloud and icing sugar going flying everywhere! Add the vanilla and continue to whip the butter and icing sugar together for an additional five minutes until the buttercream is really fluffy and light. Finally add the melted white chocolate and the cream or milk and try your very hardest to resist eating spoonful after spoonful…
I wasn’t successful resisting eating the buttercream before icing the cupcakes. Yes, maybe I did eat a couple of spoonfuls, but who can blame me because homemade buttercream is addictive!
And the finished cupcakes? It was love at first bite. I did however refrain myself from eating cupcake after cupcake by giving the majority of the cupcakes away to my good friends and a few family members. Anyhow, I know another batch will definitely be happening in the near future!
I’ve listed some tips in my recipe notes, those can be found just below the ingredients and method. Hopefully you’ll find them helpful and enjoy the cupcakes!
Dark 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 salt
1/2 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
White Chocolate Buttercream:
225g (1 cup) salted butter, softened
250g (2 and 1/2 cups) icing/confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
175g (6 ounces) white chocolate
60ml (4 tablespoons) double cream or milk
- 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 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.
- 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.
- To make the frosting: Melt the white chocolate over a bain-marie or in a microwave in 20 second intervals. Leave to cool. As the chocolate cools, cream the butter for about a minute or two to soften. Now add the sifted icing sugar in two batches along with the vanilla and beat for another 5 minutes until the frosting is fluffy and light. Mix in the melted chocolate followed by the cream/milk.
- Decorate the cupcakes as desired. They’ll keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, I guarantee you these cupcakes won’t last that long!
- I highly recommend using caster/superfine sugar when making these cupcakes. If you only have granulated sugar on hand, you can blitz it in a food processor for a few seconds to make it superfine.
- Adding a teaspoon of instant coffee granules or powder adds to the intense chocolate taste. If you’re not a fan of mocha flavour, then just leave the coffee out of the recipe as it will work fine without.
- For this buttercream I prefer to use salted butter rather than unsalted. This is because the white chocolate is very sweet, if you want you can use unsalted butter, but you might want to add a pinch or two of salt to the buttercream as you mix it.
- You’ll need to use pure white chocolate and the best quality you can afford. Don’t substitute with white chocolate chips as they have stabilisers added and that will affect the texture of your buttercream.
- I prefer to use double/heavy cream in my buttercream rather than milk. Cream will make a creamier, fluffier and richer textured buttercream.
- Decoration is totally up to you, I decorated my cupcakes with triple chocolate curls which I purchased at my local supermarket. I also think decorating with milk or white chocolate buttons, chocolate shavings or sprinkles would look lovely.
- To decorate these cupcakes I used a large closed star tip. It’s my favourite piping nozzle and makes the buttercream look like a Mr Whippy (soft serve) ice cream.
- This recipe makes enough buttercream to generously ice 12 standard sized cupcakes. I did have a little buttercream left over, so you’re not a fan of too much buttercream then I would half the recipe.
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