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Moist Chocolate Cupcakes from Scratch

Updated on July 22, 2016
vespawoolf profile image

Vespa´s recipes have appeared in "Midwest Living" & "Taste of Home" magazines. She belongs to "Cook´s Recipe Testers" for Cooks Illustrated.

Moist Chocolate Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting
Moist Chocolate Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting | Source

Chocolate Cupcake Recipe With Easy Buttercream Frosting

I had just paid for our lattes at the historic coffee house in Belfast when I spotted the cupcakes, shining like jewels under a glass dome. I'd painstakingly chosen two of them when my husband drew my attention to a disturbing sight: a photo gallery detailing the building's restoration. Dozens of human skeletons had been found in the basement, victims of Ireland's civil war.

As I contemplated the untold suffering man has inflicted upon man, I absent-mindedly bit into the confection. Moist, spongy cake and silky frosting melted in my mouth. Intrigued, I raised the cupcake to eye level. It wore a glorious crown of piped frosting with a whisper of silver, like the proverbial cloud's lining. If sweets could fill us with inner peace, I knew this cupcake could accomplish it.

Although I have experimented with many cupcake recipes, Hershey's is my favorite. Quick, easy and nearly foolproof, it produces a moist cake substantial enough to stand up to heavy frosting.

You can smoothly frost the cupcake tops, but why not try piping them? Pastry bags can be purchased for a few dollars at many craft and grocery stores, and you can easily learn to pipe frosting with these step-by-step instructions. Piped cupcakes add an elegant touch to any occasion. Why not bake a batch today?


Table of Contents

  • Tips

  • Recipe: Moist Chocolate Cupcakes

  • Photo Tutorial

  • Recipe: Vanilla Bean Buttercream Frosting

  • How to Frost a Cupcake

  • Cupcake Poll


Tips

  • Use equipment you already have or spend as much as you like on extras such as colorful liners, fancy piping tips and edible glitter.
  • Choose paper liners in colors and designs appropriate for the season and/or occasion.
  • Amazon offers airbrush food color kits for special effects.
  • Instead of disposable paper liners, why not try reusable silicone baking cups? They can be placed individually on a baking sheet for stability and are stackable for compact storage. Silicone liners resist stains and odors, are dishwasher safe and boast fill lines that take the guesswork out of baking.
  • Vegetable shortening adds stability to frosting and makes piping easier. If you prefer to use all butter, fill pastry bag with frosting and refrigerate for 20 minutes before you begin to pipe. Refrigerate decorated cupcakes.
  • Swirl cupcake wraps, as seen at right, add an elegant touch to cupcakes whether the tops are decorated, swirled or iced smooth.


Moist Chocolate Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

4.2 stars from 19 ratings of Moist Chocolate Cupcakes

Moist Chocolate Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 25 min
Ready in: 45 min
Yields: 30 cupcakes

Cake recipe adapted from Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Chocolate Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups unbleached flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup buttermilk or sour milk*
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil or melted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup hot coffee

Instructions

  1. Sift flour, baking powder and soda into a medium mixing bowl.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients, except for the hot coffee, and blend with hand or stand mixer for 2 minutes.
  3. With a spatula, stir hot coffee into cake batter.
  4. Pour batter into a large measuring cup and fill lined muffin cups half full.
  5. Bake at 350 F for 22-25 minutes or until a wooden toothpick tests nearly clean, with just a few crumbs.
  6. Cool completely before frosting.

*Pour 1 Tablespoon white vinegar into a liquid measuring cup. Add enough milk (room temperature) to equal 1 cup total. Sour milk will thicken as it rests.

Photo Tutorial

Sift the flour, soda and powder into a medium mixing bowl.
Sift the flour, soda and powder into a medium mixing bowl.
Add: 1. white sugar and kosher salt
Add: 1. white sugar and kosher salt
2. milk
2. milk
3. vegetable oil
3. vegetable oil
4. eggs and vanilla
4. eggs and vanilla
5. cocoa powder
5. cocoa powder
6. Blend with a hand or stand mixer for 2 minutes. Add hot coffee and stir until combined.
6. Blend with a hand or stand mixer for 2 minutes. Add hot coffee and stir until combined.
7. With the help of a measuring cup, pour cake batter into lined cupcake tins.
7. With the help of a measuring cup, pour cake batter into lined cupcake tins.
Place all ingredients but the powdered sugar into a large, deep mixing bowl.
Place all ingredients but the powdered sugar into a large, deep mixing bowl.
Using a hand or stand mixer, gradually add powdered sugar and whip until fluffy.
Using a hand or stand mixer, gradually add powdered sugar and whip until fluffy.

Vanilla Bean Buttercream Frosting

This frosting is delicious and of the perfect consistency for piping. Frosts 30 cupcakes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup solid vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese, softened
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla bean paste
  • 2 Tablespoons whipping cream
  • 9 cups powdered sugar (a little more than 1 pound)

Instructions:

  1. Place first 4 ingredients in a large, deep mixing bowl.
  2. Using a hand or stand mixer, cream the ingredients together until fluffy.
  3. Gradually add powdered sugar. Whip until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.


Piping frosting onto cupcakes
Piping frosting onto cupcakes

How to Frost a Cupcake

  1. Hold the decorating tip of a pastry bag over the cupcake you wish to frost, at a 90 degree angle to the surface.
  2. Pipe a spiral of icing, starting at the outside edge and working inward.
  3. After completing the outward spiral, continue piping a second inner spiral.
  4. End spiral at center of cupcake. Stop pressure. Pull tip straight up and away.
  5. If desired, sprinkle cupcake with edible glitter, rainbow sprinkles or a whisper of metallic spray.


Frosting with a pastry bag is so easy a child can do it.
Frosting with a pastry bag is so easy a child can do it. | Source

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  • vespawoolf profile image
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    vespawoolf 3 years ago from Peru, South America

    FlourishAnyway, it's nice to know you're a fellow cupcake lover! Yes, this frosting is luscious. I hope you can make a batch soon. Thanks for all the votes!

  • FlourishAnyway profile image

    FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

    Ooooeeeee does this look amazing! I have baked enough to know that that frosting is going to be luscious. I can almost taste it now. And on chocolate cupcakes? Wow. Voted way up, beautiful, interesting, awesome and if they had a "yummy" button that too. Mmmm.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 3 years ago from Peru, South America

    Deborah-Diane, I'm glad you enjoyed this recipe. I loved cupcakes long before the cupcake craze came around. Thank you for your comment!

  • Deborah-Diane profile image

    Deborah-Diane 3 years ago from Orange County, California

    This sounds wonderful. I love the idea of mixing the flavors of chocolate and butterscotch. Sounds yummy!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Thelma Alberts, enjoy the cupcakes! They're hard to resist. I appreciate the share, votes and pin. : )

  • Thelma Alberts profile image

    Thelma Alberts 4 years ago from Germany

    Yummy! I´m a great fan of cupcakes. This recipe sounds easy to make. I ´ll give it a try. Thanks for sharing. Voted up, shared in fb and pinned.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Pinkchic, these are wonderful cupcakes! Thanks for the compliment. : )

  • Pinkchic18 profile image

    Sarah Carlsley 4 years ago from Minnesota

    Great lens, this made me crave some sweets!!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Lemonkerdz, I hope to make these for you someday! The cupcake is so moist and chocolatey and the frosting can be decorated in so many creative ways. ; )

  • lemonkerdz profile image

    lemonkerdz 4 years ago from TRUJILLO, PERU

    well done vespawolf for another great hub. We are always wondering what culinary delights you will turn up next! The vanilla bean and fresh cream in the frosting really is different and we can't wait to try it. Thanks for all the inspiration!!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Truthfornow, coffee really complements the chocolate flavor so well. I do love piping because I love frosting! Thank you for coming by.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    SineaPies, it's amazing how easy the pastry bags are to use. And it means more frosting on the cupcakes! I really appreciate the vote and comment.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    DeniseHandlon, as much as I love chocolate cake I think the frosting is my favorite. Piping makes it look even more appealing. Thanks for the vote and share!

  • truthfornow profile image

    truthfornow 4 years ago from New Orleans, LA

    Lots of frosting, looks so good. Wasn't expecting the hot coffee, nice touch.

  • Sinea Pies profile image

    Sinea Pies 4 years ago from Northeastern United States

    These cupcakes are a work of art. I voted "smooth" frosting because it is easy. I love the look of the piped. Voted up and beautiful. :)

  • Denise Handlon profile image

    Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

    This cupcake recipe sounds great. Bookkeeping to try it. I love the buttercream frosting also. Thanks for sharing. Yum. Up/A and sharing.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    MamaKim, nice to see you around! Thanks for the comment and votes!

  • Mama Kim 8 profile image

    Sasha Kim 4 years ago

    So cute! Plus a great frosting recipe ^_^ voting a bunch!!!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Yes, these moist chocolate cupcakes are simply delicious! Thanks for coming by, Flabergastic.

  • flabergastic profile image

    Barsha Gautam 4 years ago from California, US

    delicious!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    ktrapp, the pastry bag is such a small investment that makes the cupcakes so much more beautiful. And these are so moist they practically melt in your mouth. Enjoy and thanks for your comment!

  • ktrapp profile image

    Kristin Trapp 4 years ago from Illinois

    These cupcakes look so tempting. I usually smooth frost cupcakes, but am going to get a pastry bag and try piping the frosting on. The edible glitter is a nice final touch. I can only imagine how good they taste!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Kimberly Vaughn, thanks for the pin and comment!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Gail, I find cupcakes just require a little patience. I really enjoy the pastry bag and wonder why I didn't buy one years ago! They make such a difference in the appeal of the cupcakes. Of course, you could write many hubs about different tips, effects, etc. I really appreciate the votes and share. I wish you the best this year and thank you for coming by!

  • Kimberly Vaughn profile image

    Kimberly Vaughn 4 years ago from Midwest

    Oh my gosh, these look amazing! I pinned the recipe to try later!

  • Happyboomernurse profile image

    Gail Sobotkin 4 years ago from South Carolina

    I haven't made cupcakes in years, though when my son was young I used to bake them frequently.

    I was drawn to this hub by that luscious looking lead photo which was absolutely mouth-watering. Even your tutorial photos were beautiful.

    I never used a pastry bag, but it definitely helps create some awesome effects. I gave this recipe 5 stars and voted the hub up across the board except for funny.

    Am also sharing.

    Hope 2013 is filled with Blessings, Peace, Love & Joy,

    Gail

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    I also find cupcakes irresistible, Suzanne, and especially chocolate with buttercream. I find cupcakes a little more finicky than bundt cakes but they're so tender and delicious that they're worth the extra effort. I'm glad you enjoyed this and thanks for the pin! Have a great day.

  • Suzie HQ profile image

    Suzanne Ridgeway 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

    Hi vespa,

    Another delicious looking and sounding hub on my great love . . .cupcakes! My friends 14 year old daughter is an absolute genius in cupcakes and baking. It is gorgeous seeing all the variations and ingredients that can be used. These look heavenly in my much adored chocolate flavour and the Buttercream tops it off perfectly. I have never made a cupcake just eaten them but keep meaning to so I will be pinning this to add to my vespa delights list!!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    As of late, it seems cupcakes have been the rage all over the world! Algarveview, how interesting that they've even become known in Portugal. I hope you have a chance to make these cupcakes for your children someday. Thank you for the votes and share. You have a great day, too!

  • algarveview profile image

    Joana e Bruno 4 years ago from Algarve, Portugal

    Hi, Vespawoolf, you may find it strange, but I never baked cupcakes, it's not something very usual here or, at least, it wasn't until a couple of years ago... But I can definitely imagine the chocolate melting in my mouth... Your photos are very useful and I bet the kids will love this recipe... Voted up and interesting, putting stars on it and sharing! Have a great day!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Ishwaryaa, thank you for your kind words. I'm glad you enjoyed this recipe and hope you can make these cupcakes for a special occasion. I really appreciate the comment, vote, pin and share!

  • ishwaryaa22 profile image

    Ishwaryaa Dhandapani 4 years ago from Chennai, India

    A wonderful dessert recipe! I had cupcakes at my college a few years ago and they were really delicious! Everything in your hub right from your engaging introduction till the detailed instructions concerning frosting the cupcakes are immaculately written. Rated your recipe 5 stars! Well-done!

    Merry Christmas to you & your family!

    Thanks for SHARING. Useful, Awesome & Interesting. Voted up, pinned & shared

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    TToombs, thanks for your vote and share! They really are delicious little cakes.

  • TToombs08 profile image

    Terrye Toombs 4 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

    omg, these look out of this world! Voted up and shared.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Jamie Brock, the recipes really are easy. I hope you have a chance to try these mouthwatering cupcakes! It's fun to play with the colors of the cupcake liners and sprinkles, too. Enjoy and thank you for the vote and share. : )

  • Jamie Brock profile image

    Jamie Brock 4 years ago from Texas

    These cupcakes look so delicious, I can't stand it!!!! The recipe looks easy enough for both the frosting and the cake. I bet I might be able to do this! Voted up and useful.. Thank you for sharing :)

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    thefamilybaker, it sounds like you do a lot of your own baking! This really is the best recipe for chocolate cupcakes and I always end up returning to it when I try another. It's moist and substantial enough to hold all that frosting. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Randomcreative, I'm only a novice when it comes to piping frosting but I think it's a fun hobby. There are plenty of online sites that can help a home chef improve their skills, too. Thanks for coming by!

  • thefamilybaker profile image

    thefamilybaker 4 years ago from Philippines

    This is wonderful! I would definitely try this one. Thank you very much for sharing...

  • randomcreative profile image

    Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

    My mouth is watering! I love your classic recipes. Great tip about piping frosting. My frosting skills are less than excellent, and that would really help!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Om Parampoonya, cupcakes are perfect for a crowd. They make the occasion extra special, too. Enjoy! Thanks so much for the stars and pin!

  • Om Paramapoonya profile image

    Om Paramapoonya 4 years ago

    Lovely! Great pictures and super yummy-sounding recipe. When I have to bake for a big crowd, chocolate cupcakes are usually one of the first things that come to my mind. I'll try your recipe soon. Rated 5 stars and pinned!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    That's so cute. When I'm having friends over, I always invite the families with children to come early so they can help me pipe the frosting. They love it! Have fun and thanks so much for all your support.

  • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

    Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

    Another one to pin. My daughter saw this over my shoulder and requested that I make them as soon as possible. Great tips too. Thanks!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    PeggyW, we are missing the cupcake craze here in Peru, which motivated me to learn to make them at home. This is my favorite recipe and one I hope others enjoy, too. The cupcakes make attractive gifts. Thank you for giving this hub a 5 star rating!

  • Peggy W profile image

    Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

    I gave this a 5 star rating just because it was such a well done hub with amazing photos to accompany your recipe and directions. Cupcakes are all the rage now. Am sure you will have many people eagerly trying this chocolate cupcake recipe. :)

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Idigwebsites, the frosting is my favorite part. I hope you have a chance to try them...they're easy to make and soooo delicious. Thank you for coming by!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Moonlake, I'm glad you like the frosting recipe. The shortening stiffens up the frosting and it also makes it less sweet than frosting made with just butter. I hope you have a chance to try it. Thank you for the vote and comment!

  • idigwebsites profile image

    idigwebsites 4 years ago from United States

    Mmmmmmm... that cream! I haven't had my hand at baking yet but I think I might try this. Thanks for sharing this recipe. :)

  • moonlake profile image

    moonlake 4 years ago from America

    These sound so good. I like your frosting recipe. I have been looking for one that is stiffer than just regular buttercream this sounds better. Vote up and shared.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Jackie Lynnley, they really are delicious and make a wonderful gift. Enjoy! I can always count on you to pay me a visit when I publish a new recipe. Thanks so much!

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image

    Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

    Mm you always make the simplest things sound so tempting and delicious. Like most women I am a sucker for chocolate and these I will have to try. Thank you so much! ^ and sharing.

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