The Best Dark Chocolate Cupcake Recipe

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I’m starting a cupcake series on my YouTube channel, and plan to use this recipe as my go-to chocolate cupcake recipe! After testing out several different recipes, it’s by far my favorite! It’s a modified version of the Brown Eyed Baker’s chocolate cupcake recipe. I am a huge fan of one-bowl recipes, and have done my best to make this cupcake recipe as easy as possible!

I replaced the dutch-processed cocoa with black cocoa powder, to really give these a beautiful color, and to intensify the taste! The best comparison is to think of the bittersweet, chocolaty taste of an Oreo cookie!

I only recently discovered black cocoa, and I’m obsessed. Black cocoa has a slightly higher pH than dutch-processed cocoa (8 vs.7), and is much less acidic than natural baking cocoa (5-6). However, this is optional, and you could also use regular cocoa if that’s what you have on hand.

I always frost my cupcakes with a half batch of my American buttercream, and usually use a Wilton 1m tip (open star) or a Wilton 2D tip (closed star).

Chocolate Cupcake Batter:

  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
  • ⅓ cup (28 grams) black  cocoa powder
  • ¾ cup (177 ml) hot water + 1 1/2 tsp instant espresso powder
  • ¾ cup (117 grams) flour
  • ¾ cup (149 grams) granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate American Buttercream Frosting:

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup black cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Optional Filling: Chocolate Ganache

Yield: 14 cupcakes

Prep time: 10 minutes

Bake time: 18 minutes

Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C) and place cupcake liners in baking pans.

Fill measuring cup with very hot water, and add in espresso powder. Stir until combined, then pour into a bowl. Add the chocolate chips and black cocoa powder. Let this sit for 2 minutes to melt the chocolate, then stir until no chunks remain.

Add the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt into a large bowl and gently mix. Pour in chocolate espresso mixture, and stir until just combined, being sure to scrap the sides and bottom of the bowl while mixing. Next, mix in the eggs, one at a time. Then add the oil, vinegar, and vanilla, and mix until the batter is smooth.

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Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full, and back for about 18 minutes. Once a toothpick comes out clean (or with minimal crumbs), remove from oven. Allow cupcakes to cool in pans for 10 minutes, then remove and place in the freezer for 15 minutes (to accelerate the cooling process).

While the cupcakes bake and cool, prepare the chocolate frosting. Beat the butter on medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Add the cocoa powder half way through, along with the heavy cream. Once all the powdered sugar is added, mix in the vanilla and salt, and beat on medium low until the ingredients are fully incorporated. If the frosting is too thick, add in cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).

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Once  the cupcakes are fully cooled, it’s time to fill them! Remove the center of the cupcakes using the wide end of a frosting tip, and add chocolate ganache to the center of each cupcake. Pipe on a large swirl of frosting, using a Wilton 2D tip. If you don’t have any frosting tips, you can always use a zip lock bag and just trim the tip to have a 2 cm opening.

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To make these a bit more fun, I also added drizzle some warmed up ganache over the frosting, and grated some dark chocolate over the top of the cupcake!

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