Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes

These are the BEST chocolate cupcakes – a moist chocolate cupcake recipe made from scratch with a chocolate ganache center and dreamy chocolate frosting.

Chocolate cupcakes with a silky smooth chocolate frosting and sprinkles.

I have shared approximately one billion (actually, 40) cupcake recipes over the years, but this is the ONLY chocolate-chocolate version you’ll find. 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 amazing cupcakes, but when you need something fabulously rich and overflowing with chocolate flavor, this recipe is absolutely IT… done and done. I use this recipe anytime I want chocolate cupcakes; I’ve never even been tempted to try other recipes since finding this one.

Chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting on a wire cooling rack.

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.

MY OTHER RECIPES

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 (obviously, ha!).

Chocolate frosting made in the food processor to top chocolate cupcakes.

And oh my, the 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 do the whole “go big or go home” when it comes to frosting on cupcakes; no wimpy swirls here, only big, billowy mountains of chocolate frosting.

The way things were meant to be.

Chocolate cupcake with the paper liner partially peeled away.

A couple of quick notes on this recipe:

  • The recipe calls for bread flour, which has a bit more protein than all-purpose flour and helps to keep the cupcakes stable enough for the ganache filling. I always use bread flour (even if I omit the ganache filling, which I do at times), but some readers have reported success using all-purpose flour, as well.
  • It’s important not to chill the ganache filling for too long, or it will be too firm and dense, and will sink to the bottom of the cupcakes (see evidence below!). It will still be there, and still be delicious, but will be firmer and lower in the cupcake than intended.
  • This is probably the most fabulous chocolate frosting I’ve made and have used it in a number of different recipes; it has corn syrup in it, which turns a lot of people off. I beg you to try it, but if you don’t like or don’t want to make it, then might I suggest my chocolate buttercream frosting. It’s totally different, but would be my #2 option for you.

Do you Need Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes?

While I have not personally created a gluten-free version, here are comments from readers who HAVE turned these into gluten-free cupcakes with success:

My daughter made these, at 11 years old. We made them, with gluten free baking mix, but otherwise followed the recipe and boy were they beyond delish. Just the right consistency in the cake, and the ganache in the center was a lovely addition. She shared them with our friends, and has been commissioned to make some more for them, as they have to eat gluten free…and rarely get such a delicious dessert. Well done! ~Gretchen A.

The best cupcakes ever! I changed them to Gluten Free all purpose flour and one teaspoon on Xantham gum, the best gluten free cupcakes we have every made! Thank you ~Dawn

Chocolate cupcake with a big bite taken out of it.

This coming Sunday is Mother’s Day and I know everyone is clamoring for light, bright, spring-y desserts loaded with fruit, and I have a couple of those coming for you this week, but if your mom (or grandma, aunt, sister, wife, or whoever you are celebrating on Mother’s Day) is a chocolate lover, you can give her no better gift than these amazing cupcakes!

Bake away!

One year ago: Healthier Honey-Fig Scones
Four years ago: Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Five years ago: Mimosa Truffles

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Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes

These cupcakes are a chocolate-lover’s dream!

Ingredients:

For the Ganache Filling

  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar

For the Cupcakes

  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • ⅓ cup (28 grams) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • ¾ cup (177 ml) hot coffee
  • ¾ cup (117 grams) bread flour
  • ¾ cup (149 grams) 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 (283 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (113 grams) powdered sugar
  • ¾ cup (64 grams) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¾ cup (234 grams) 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 melted 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.

Recipe 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.

Did you make this recipe?

Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!

(Recipe from Cook’s Illustrated)

All images and text ©

Four chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting.

This recipe was originally published on August 20, 2013.