Everyone has their staple chocolate cupcake recipe, and this is mine. The best chocolate cupcakes you will ever make.
What’s so great about them? I like to think their greatness is three-fold:
Firstly, they are made from melted chocolate rather than cocoa. This does mean the ingredients you will need for these are a little bit pricier than some other cupcakes, and it also means you will have to wash up that melted chocolate bowl afterwards. But the pay-off you get is a beautiful chocolate flavour that you get to control by using your absolute favourite dark chocolate (and for me that’s Green & Blacks 70% every time).
Secondly, the extra egg yolk plus the melted chocolate contribute to these cupcakes being the softest and moistest (is that even a word?) cupcakes you will ever make. There is nothing worse than a dry cupcake, and these are 100% the most perfectly textured little cakes you could ever wish for.
Finally, the frosting. You are going to love it, because it is incredibly easy and quick to make, but it just tastes so freaking good. It’s the trusty old standard buttercream with a whole bunch of cocoa and milk added in. It tastes incredibly rich, but also sweet. It’s just the best chocolate buttercream going. End of.
The only problem with these guys is my lack of a decent cupcake baking tray. The one I have is too shallow, and results in cupcakes that spread out when baking. I will need to remedy that ASAP.
They still taste just as good though. Maybe I shouldn’t be so shallow?
To melt the chocolate for these amazing cupcakes, I like to use the microwave. It is a lot quicker and easier, although please make sure you check on it and give it a good stir every 30 seconds to avoid burning the chocolate. You don’t want to ruin the great quality chocolate you bought by frying it.
Whilst the chocolate is cooling, you are going to beat the butter and sugar together. I use my stand mixer, which I pretty much couldn’t be without now. You want to make sure you use room temperature butter, and then beat it really well before you add the sugar. This will ensure you don’t have any buttery lumps in your batter.
When you add the flour and cocoa, make sure you mix on a low setting, as you definitely don’t want to over mix the flour. This will result in the gluten springing to life and making your cupcakes a lot heavier. Just mix until the flour is a few seconds away from being fully incorporated, and then mix again on low once you’ve added the milk.
I used a piping bag fitted with a Wilton 1M star nozzle to ice these, which I think is the easiest way to get a great looking frosted cupcake. Your life will be a lot easier if you make sure your buttercream is the right consistency before you get going, so make sure you have added enough milk to make it pipe-able. I’ve said 120ml in the recipe below, but feel free to whack in as much as you think you need. I’m not going to stop you.
Another tip – make sure you have enough frosting in your piping bag to do the whole cupcake before you start icing one. You really don’t want to run out of frosting half way piping through a beautiful swirl.
I feel like a proud parent sending her little cupcake children off out into the big wide world. Farewell little beauties!
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- 150g (5.3oz) good quality dark chocolate (I used 70% Green & Blacks)
- 100g (2/3 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 200g (1 cup) light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs + 1 egg yolk
- 200g (1 and 2/3 cups) plain or all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- Pinch of salt
- 250ml (1 cup) milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 340g (1½ cups) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 120g (1 cup) cocoa powder
- 625g (5 cups) icing sugar or powdered sugar
- 120ml (½ cup) milk
- Preheat the oven to 190°C / 375°F (170°C fan) and line a cupcake or muffin tin with 14 cupcake liners.
- Melt the chocolate, either in the microwave or over a saucepan of boiling water. If using the microwave, make sure to stir the chocolate every 30 seconds to avoid burning it. Set aside.
- Cream the butter using a stand or hand-held mixer, until it is pale and creamy, and has no lumps. Add the sugar and mix well.
- Add the eggs and egg yolk one at a time, mixing well between each addition. Add the melted chocolate, and beat well.
- Add the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt, and mix gently until just combined. Try to avoid over-mixing. Pour in the milk and vanilla extract, and mix gently until fully combined.
- Fill the cupcake cases ¾ full, as the cupcakes will rise when baking. Put in the oven for 22-25 minutes, or until a skewer or toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle. Leave to cool completely on a wire rack before icing.
- Cream the butter with a hand or stand mixer until it is pale and creamy, and no lumps remain.
- Add the cocoa, icing sugar, and milk to the butter, and mix well until fully combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again.
- Spoon the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a 1M star nozzle, and pipe a large swirl on top of each cupcake.
- These cupcakes will stay fresh for 3-4 days if stored in an air tight container in a cool dry place. The unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen for 2-3 months - just defrost at room temperature and then cover with frosting. The frosting can also be frozen for 2-3 months - just defrost overnight in the fridge and then use immediately.