Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes

Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes by @browneyedbaker :: www.browneyedbaker.com

Hello, hello! Quickly before I dive into these unbelievable cupcakes (which are every bit as amazing as they look), a quick apology for the lapse in posts last week. I had some recipes ready to share with you, but had some major Internet connection fails at the house we were renting. However, I’m back (and MARRIED!!… more on that later!) and way overdue on getting your kitchen dirty.

Now, let’s talk cupcakes! This is the 35th cupcake recipe I’ve shared on this site, and can you believe it’s the first chocolate-chocolate version?! I’ve had some chocolate cupcake bases, but those were topped with things like peanut butter frosting, espresso buttercream and salted caramel frosting… then there were the faux Hostess cupcakes, the black-bottom cupcakes and the vegan chocolate cupcakes. They are all fabulous cupcakes, but I felt it was high time that I find a chocolate cupcake and frosting combo that could be “the one” – my go-to when I needed something fabulously rich and overflowing with chocolate flavor. I’ve definitely found it and I’m not looking back.

Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes by @browneyedbaker :: www.browneyedbaker.com

First things first – the cake part of these cupcakes is phenomenal. It’s often times hard to find a cupcake recipe that not only domes perfectly when baked, but is also moist and tender inside (not dry and crumbly). These are all of that and more; they totally melt in your mouth. To enhance the flavor and the moist texture, a dollop of chocolate ganache is placed on top of the cupcake batter before they are baked. It’s an optional step and you can make the cupcakes with out it, but I highly, highly recommend it. It’s the perfect segue from the cake to the frosting.

Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes by @browneyedbaker :: www.browneyedbaker.com

Oh, that frosting. It’s almost beyond words. Satiny smooth, buttery, just sweet enough and oh-so-chocolatey. I could (and did!) eat it with a spoon. Piled high on those cupcakes, it’s the perfect frosting-to-cupcake ratio for me. I just can’t get enough frosting. (Of course, if you like less frosting, you can use less and you’ll have some leftover.)

Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes by @browneyedbaker :: www.browneyedbaker.com

I don’t believe I’ll ever search for another chocolate-chocolate cupcake recipe ever again. I’m sold on these cupcakes and frosting, plus I love that ganache filling. While I knew I couldn’t have a dozen cupcakes sitting around the house, the day after I had sent the leftovers on their way with my mom, I immediately regretted my decision. That’s a sure sign that I found a winner!

Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes by @browneyedbaker :: www.browneyedbaker.com

One year ago: Fresh Orange Sherbet
Two years ago: Pepperoni Pizza
Three years ago: Salted Caramel Brownies
Four years ago: Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Squares
Five years ago: Zebra Cake

Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes

Yield: 12 cupcakes

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 17-19 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

These cupcakes are a chocolate-lover's dream!

Ingredients:

For the Ganache Filling:
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
¼ cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon powdered sugar

For the Cupcakes:
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
⅓ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
¾ cup hot coffee
¾ cup bread flour
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Frosting:
1¼ cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
¾ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
¾ cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 ounces chocolate (milk, semisweet or dark), melted and cooled

Directions:

1. Make the Ganache Filling: Place the chopped chocolate, heavy cream and powdered sugar in a small bowl. Heat in the microwave on high power until the mixture is warm to the touch, 20 to 30 seconds. Whisk until smooth, then refrigerate until just barely chilled, no longer than 30 minutes.

2. Make the Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard-size muffin pan with liners. Place the chopped chocolate and cocoa powder in a medium bowl. Pour the hot coffee over the mixture and whisk until smooth. Refrigerate mixture for 20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl; set aside.

4. Whisk the oil, eggs, vinegar and vanilla extract into the cooled chocolate mixture until smooth. Add the flour mixture and whisk until smooth.

5. Divide the batter evenly between the muffin pan cups. Place one slightly rounded teaspoon of ganache filling on top of each cupcake. Bake until the cupcakes are set and just firm to the touch, 17 to 19 minutes. Cool the cupcakes in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove the cupcakes from the pan and place on the wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour.

6. Make the Frosting: In a food processor, process the butter, sugar, cocoa powder and salt until smooth, about 30 seconds, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the corn syrup and vanilla extract and process until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Scrape the sides of the bowl, then add the chocolate and pulse until smooth and creamy, 10 to 15 one-second pulses. Frost the cupcakes as desired. The frosted cupcakes can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Notes:

  • The ganache filling can be omitted it if you'd like a more traditional chocolate cupcake.
  • The frosting can be kept at room temperature for up to 3 hours before using, or refrigerated for up to 3 days. If refrigerated, let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before using.
  • I used the Ateco #823 decorating tip for piping the frosting.

(Recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated)

Share This Post...



450 Responses to “Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes”

Comment Pages 1 2 3 4 6
  1. Liz on August 19, 2013 at 11:22 am

    Hi… I’m pretty much the new kid on the block here. I’ve only been following your blog for a few months and just wanted to add my congrats to all the others regarding you marriage to someone that obviously love to eat as much as we do. I’m so happy for you.

    I also wanted to thank you for ALL the amazing recipes that you send our way. They are awesome. The only problem is I ending up having to borrow from Peter to pay Paul. Lol… I wouldn’t have it any other way. I have been spending so much on ingredients.

    Congratulations and thank you.,

    Liz

    Reply

  2. Cat on August 19, 2013 at 11:26 am

    Cara mia, CENT’ANNI!!! Hope your CCC knows he just netted the jackpot! Much happiness, always. As the old Italian blessing goes, “May you grow old on the same pillow.”
    Can’t wait to take this one for a spin. But I’ve been starving the last few days because I have to get on the scale at the doctor’s office tomorrow. Ah, the torture of delayed gratification…I want to make them NOW! Picture me tomorrow, breaking the 3-minute mile getting home from the dreaded weigh-in to start baking. Think I’ll even get my mise-en-place ready tonight. Your pictures are always amazing, true visual poetry. I’d assume you use an SLR and a tripod set-up. Is that right? Just wanted to tell you how much I appreciate that your cupcake recipes are scaled down to make just 12. If they made the standard two dozen, I’d be a whale by now!

    Reply

  3. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts on August 19, 2013 at 11:47 am

    Congrats on getting married!! These cupcakes look stunning and perfect for any celebration! I love chocolate on chocolate, and these look so decadent!

    Reply

  4. Fran@fransfavs.com on August 19, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    I think etiquette dictates that I’m supposed to say Best Wishes to you and Congrats to your lucky guy (for “catching” you!). At the risk of Emily Post swooning, I want to say Congrats AND Best Wishes to the both of you for a very long, healthy, and happy life together! And thanks for the push to make these ultimate cupcakes. I’ve had the CI recipe sitting in a pile for too long. Your photos are outstanding and make me want to lick my computer screen.

    Reply

  5. Annie @ Annie's Noms on August 19, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    Congratulations on being married! :D These cupcakes look divine. I’m forever in search of the perfect chocolate cupcake and I’m hoping this is it! I got pretty close with a recipe from a book I have, but I’m not sure they were quite perfect! Love the addition of bread flour in this recipe and I’m intrigued to find out how it adds to these beauties!

    Reply

  6. Karen Condit on August 19, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    Wishing you a lifetime of happiness. This recipe just rocketed to the top of my “Try This” list. Thanks for inspiring the rest of us to get back into the kitchen and try new things.

    Reply

  7. Toni McFadden on August 19, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    Congratulations to you and your chief culinary consultant! Can’t wait to see pictures.

    Reply

  8. Moira @ Hearth and Homefront on August 19, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    Congrats on the wedding!!! (And these cupcakes look fabulous too!)

    Reply

  9. annie on August 19, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    Michelle,
    Huge congratulations to you and your beloved on this really special occasion. Wishing you both lifelong health and happiness Was Einstein at the wedding? I hope we’ll get to see your CCC in a picture with you. Thanks for this recipe…it’s a chocoholic’s dream. Best wishes from a long time reader.

    Reply

    • Michelle on August 19th, 2013 at 10:55 pm

      Thank you, Annie! Einstein wasn’t there; it was quite a long drive so he stayed home. We missed him so much!

      Reply

  10. Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes on August 19, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    Congrats on getting married!! SO happy for you! Can’t wait for you to share pictures :) Love the cupcakes

    Reply

  11. AnnieC on August 19, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    Congrats on your marriage.

    I’ve been making this recipe since I saw it on the show a long time ago. It’s the best chocolate cupcake recipe I’ve made or eaten. It’s very intensely chocolate and these come out almost black for me. The batter will be runny and that is normal. The best thing to do is make it in a bowl with a pour spout because you can just pour it into the liners that way. It’s worth it to use coffee in the recipe, as that deepens and enhances the chocolate flavor. Bread flour is critical for the gluten development, no substitutes.

    The ganache most likely will sink in some or all of your cupcakes. I have tried with all different amounts of ganache and chilling times and sometimes it sinks, sometimes it doesn’t. The cupcake itself is not too sweet, so you can use a sweeter buttercream if you prefer. I usually make Italian meringue buttercream but for this particular recipe I like to use my whipped buttercream.

    These keep very well. I’ve kept them in an airtight container for up to five days and they are just as moist as the day I baked them.

    Reply

  12. HELEN on August 19, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    oh wow, those do look amazing!

    Reply

  13. Jen of My Tiny Oven on August 19, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    Congratulations on your wedding!

    Reply

  14. Jaclyn on August 19, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    Congrats on the marriage how exciting!! These cupcakes are gorgeous – perfect job frosting them! I want to dive into one now.

    Reply

  15. Lauren on August 19, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    These look absolutely amazing. I feel like the next time I have a reason to bake cupcakes (or maybe just the next time I want chocolate, which might be reason enough) I’ll have to use this recipe.

    Reply

  16. Emily on August 19, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    Chocolate and more chocolate! Doesn’t get much better than that! Can’t wait until my oven is back in and working so I can make these! :)
    Best wishes for your wedded bliss!

    Reply

  17. joan on August 19, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    I am so happy for you, Michelle. I hope you will share some wedding photos with us. I’ve made the Cook’s Illustrated recipe a few times. Sometimes, but not always, I end up with a gap in the middle of the cooked cupcakes where the ganache was. I’m not sure why that happens. So now when I make them, I bake the cupcakes and fill them with the ganache afterwards. Also, I used the chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream for the icing, but your recipe looks amazing!

    Reply

  18. Arielle on August 19, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    Hi!! Congrats on the marriage your husband is a lucky man to have you as a wife! I heard another way to make chocolate ganache in a bowl above a pot of boiling water. Can I do that way to?

    Reply

    • Michelle on August 22nd, 2013 at 6:30 pm

      Hi Arielle, Thank you! You could do it that way, too.

      Reply

  19. Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen on August 19, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    What???? Best wishes to you and your Chief Culinary Consultant, girl! May all your hopes and dreams come true. :) I swear…I already thought you were married? Am I your only reader who thought so? I feel so lost now, LOL! Now, these chocolate-on-chocolate cupcakes? They look amazingly moist and delish…and your frosting looks so glossy, smooth and divine! Cannot wait to try this recipe, Michelle. Thanks so much for sharing! Pinning to group boards everywhere at Pinterest! xo

    Reply

  20. Lindsey @ American Heritage Cooking on August 20, 2013 at 12:29 am

    Congrats on your marriage!!! How exciting! I don’t think anyone would begrudge you that week of post-free marital bliss! These cupcakes look oh-my-god amazing! I am very very picky about my chocolate cupcakes and these look like I need to try them asap! Your pictures are perfection. Seriously.

    Reply

  21. Kate on August 20, 2013 at 12:31 am

    Hi! I don’t have a food processor. What can I use to make the frosting??

    Reply

    • Michelle on August 22nd, 2013 at 6:34 pm

      Hi Kate, I think you could use a hand or stand mixer; it might not be as super smooth, but should still work.

      Reply

  22. Irena S. on August 20, 2013 at 4:43 am

    Omg this gotta be the moistest chocolate cupcakes I’ve ever seen! Thank you for this recipe I am going to try it tonight!!! :))

    Reply

  23. Emily @ Life on Food on August 20, 2013 at 6:46 am

    These are dream-worthy! Congratulations on your marriage! I cannot wait to hear more.

    Reply

  24. Jamie @lifelovelemons on August 20, 2013 at 6:48 am

    Congrats on the wedding! And a congrats is in order for coming up with these cupcakes. YUM!

    Reply

  25. Kathleen on August 20, 2013 at 7:07 am

    Congratulations…..You’re married!!!!!!!!
    ….and, I am going to try these cupcakes :o)

    Reply

  26. Elizabeth on August 20, 2013 at 8:41 am

    These look sinful!!! Can’t wait to try.. but what i really wanted to say is congratulations!! I hope you and your CCC enjoy a long life together full of happiness! You deserve it! I’ve been checking your blog every morning for as long as i can remember and love how down to earth you are and the fact that your recipes include a lot of basic ingredients and nothing too wild and crazy meaning everyone in my family can and do enjoy! I am from PA and it’s cool that you are so close! Maybe one day i’ll be lucky enough to meet you in person. Have a wonderful week!

    Reply

  27. Scarlet on August 20, 2013 at 9:26 am

    Is there anything I can substitute for the coffee? I am a young baker and I’m not able to drink coffee ( it’s disappointing ) or is it ok that I leave it out? Congrats on your marriage!

    Reply

    • AnnieC on August 21st, 2013 at 12:07 pm

      You should use the coffee. There are no substitutes and it will deepen the chocolate flavor. You can’t taste the coffee in the final product. Just deep, dark, chocolatey taste!

      Reply

    • Michelle on August 22nd, 2013 at 6:35 pm

      Hi Scarlet, I highly encourage you to use the coffee, as it really contributes to the chocolate flavor. If you absolutely have to leave it out, use hot water, but know that the flavor of the cupcake could end up being diluted.

      Reply

  28. Dee on August 20, 2013 at 10:01 am

    So funny …we had a Bernese Mountain Dog that was a professional “counter surfer” (as we would call him) and nabbed anything edible off the counter! He was the silliest, goofiest dog but he was stealth when it came to getting food off the counter! My son would love to have chocolate cupcakes for his birthday and I want to try this recipe. Just wondering if I could use semisweet chocolate instead of bittersweet so it’s not such a deep, dark chocolate flavor?

    Reply

    • AnnieC on August 21st, 2013 at 12:10 pm

      Dee, with the chemistry in this recipe it’s best to use the bittersweet chocolate. You can pair it with a sweeter buttercream as I suggested above which will balance out the darkness of the cupcake.

      Reply

    • Michelle on August 22nd, 2013 at 6:36 pm

      Hi Dee, I would not substitute the chocolate in the cupcake recipe, but you can balance that by using milk or semisweet chocolate in the frosting.

      Reply

  29. Anna on August 20, 2013 at 10:47 am

    Congratulations on your marriage!! I’m so happy for you! :)

    Those chocolate cupcakes look incredible!

    Reply

  30. Tina on August 20, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    Can the white vinegar be substituted by lemon juice ?

    Reply

    • Michelle on August 22nd, 2013 at 6:36 pm

      Hi Tina, I would stick with the white vinegar, I’m not sure what type of impact using lemon juice would have.

      Reply

      • Lori on October 19th, 2013 at 9:29 pm

        Do you have a substitute you could suggest for white vinegar? My son is allergic. Would apple cider vinegar work? What exactly does the vinegar do? Thanks.

        Reply

        • Michelle on October 22nd, 2013 at 5:57 pm

          Lori, Cider vinegar might work, although I haven’t tried it.

          Reply

  31. Louise on August 20, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    Congrats! I have one question. If I want to bake the batte r as a whole cake, i.e. in a loaf pan, would it work?

    Reply

    • Michelle on August 22nd, 2013 at 6:39 pm

      Hi Louise, I have not attempted that, so I’m not sure how this recipe would translate into an entire cake. If you try it, feel free to stop back and share your feedback.

      Reply

  32. YoungMild&Free on August 20, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    Oh my goodness these look amazing. It’s taking all of my will power not to make these right this second. Thank you for sharing!

    xx
    youngmildandfree.wordpress.com

    Reply

  33. Lindsay on August 20, 2013 at 10:33 pm

    Congrats on getting married!

    Reply

  34. Tiffany on August 21, 2013 at 1:33 am

    I’m new here. Found you while browsing another website. Congratulations to you and your husband. The cupcakes look wonderful! I know my husband will love, love, love these. I’ve been looking for a delicious chocolate on chocolate recipe. I think I’ve found it. Can you send me a link to your famous vanilla cupcake recipe. My email is neceowens1@yahoo.com.
    Thanks again and congratulations!

    Reply

  35. Charu Mittal on August 21, 2013 at 9:38 am

    I’ve been reading your blog for quite a while and have tried numerous recipes all of which turn out unbelievably delicious! I tried these cupcakes and they did not disappoint. The cake is so moist and rich in chocolate flavour… absolute perfection. I think I did something wrong with the frosting. I made it in my KA mixer instead of a food processor and may have overbeat it because it seemed like the fat from the butter was separating from the chocolate… any thoughts?

    Reply

    • Michelle on August 22nd, 2013 at 7:04 pm

      Hi Charu, I have not made the frosting with a mixer, but it’s possible that it could have been over-beat.

      Reply

    • Raj on October 16th, 2013 at 8:46 am

      Hi Charu,
      the same thing happened to me. I put it in a saucepan over a low heat and everything combined again. Then I put it in the fridge overnight to cool down and decorated the cakes the next morning.

      Reply

  36. Scarlet on August 21, 2013 at 10:15 am

    Can I use chocolate chips instead?

    Reply

    • AnnieC on August 21st, 2013 at 12:08 pm

      Chocolate chips will melt just like regular chocolate, you just might have to stir them more. I think the first time I made these I used Ghirardelli chips.

      Reply

    • Michelle on August 23rd, 2013 at 4:42 pm

      Hi Scarlet, Yes, I don’t see any reason why not.

      Reply

  37. Steph in Lex on August 21, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    My first thought was yeah, how selfish of you to go off and get married and not post recipes–before I realized you’d originally planned to! ;) Congratulations and wishing you many years of wedded bliss.

    Reply

  38. Lily @ Life, Love, and Cupcakes on August 21, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    As much as I love all the other fun flavored cupcakes, NOTHING beats a chocolate cupcake! These look gorgeous!

    Reply

  39. Mary on August 21, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    Congratulation on the marriage, so pleased for you!
    Also, I found when I baked these the ganache seemed to explode a little and ruin the appearance of the cupcake, don’t suppose you could shed any light onto how i would stop this from happening? perhaps I put a little too much in?

    Reply

    • Michelle on August 23rd, 2013 at 4:49 pm

      Thank you, Mary! As for your ganache filling, I’m not sure why that would have happened, unless it was left in the refrigerator for too long. Did you happen to chill it far in advance? That might be the culprit.

      Reply

  40. Heather R on August 21, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    These cupcakes look AMAZING!!! and congrats on getting married!!! I’m currently in wedding planning mode now myself – 10 months to go…

    Reply

  41. Kristiina on August 21, 2013 at 9:56 pm

    What type of chocolate did you use in the
    Frosting? Looks yummy!

    Reply

    • Michelle on August 23rd, 2013 at 4:50 pm

      Hi Kristiina, I used semisweet chocolate :)

      Reply

  42. Sienna C on August 21, 2013 at 10:41 pm

    I can’t find Dutch-processed cocoa powered any where in my town :( boo
    All I find is unsweetened cocoa powered or natural unsweetened?
    Could I use Hersey brand instead of the Dutch?

    Reply

    • Michelle on August 23rd, 2013 at 4:49 pm

      Hi Sienna, In a pinch, you can substitute in this recipe, but I highly recommend investing in some Dutch-process cocoa powder if you bake with chocolate often. You can order it from many places, including Amazon, King Arthur Flour, Penzeys, etc.

      Reply

  43. Dina on August 22, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    nothing like a classic chocolate cupcake!

    Reply

  44. Mercedes on August 22, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    Congratulations first of all! And these cupcakes look divine, especially that frosting!

    Reply

  45. daniel on August 22, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    Was looking for nice blog site. It was very useful for me. Keep sharing these kinds of ideas in the future as well. It was actually a few things i was looking for, that i’m glad in order to came right here! Thanks for revealing the similarly info with us

    Reply

  46. Vera Zecevic – Cupcakes Garden on August 22, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    These decadent, super chocolaty cupcakes make me drool. I couldn’t resist, so I’ve featured them on my blog, hoping that you don’t mind, but if you do, please contact me and I’ll remove it. All the best.

    Reply

  47. Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl on August 22, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    First – congrats!
    Second – oh my goodness, I cannot wait to make these and eat every single one! Really, they look extremely delicious!

    Reply

  48. Scarlet on August 22, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    I don’t have a food processor and was wondering how long I should beat the frosting with the hand batter.

    Reply

    • Michelle on August 23rd, 2013 at 5:45 pm

      Hi Scarlet, I haven’t made the frosting with a hand mixer, so I can’t say for sure, but I would mix until completely combined and shiny.

      Reply

  49. Andi on August 22, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    I made these today and my husband and I nearly passed out from the richness.

    Thanks for sharing!
    -andi

    Reply

  50. Rochelle Hutchinson on August 22, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    Congratulations. What a great way to celebrate. That chocolate frosting looks soo silky and decadent

    Reply

Comment Pages 1 2 3 4 6

Leave a Comment





(Your comment may need to be approved before it will appear on the site. Thanks for your patience! If it is your first time commenting you may want to review the Comment Guidelines.)