Perfect Chocolate Cupcakes are super easy to make and they act as a solid base for any type of frosting. These cupcakes are moist, flavorful and chocolatey, making them the best easy dessert for any occasion!
I had a stretch in the kitchen earlier this week that can only be described as a delicious lesson. It took me five batches to finally discover the perfect chocolate cupcake recipe. My trial and error eliminates hassle for you, friends, because you have just found the most flavorful, moist, chocolatey, perfect cupcake recipe on the planet. It acts as a solid base for any type of frosting, making it a great dessert choice for any type of gathering. Birthday parties, graduation parties, summer gatherings and so much more!
HOW TO MAKE THE PERFECT CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES
Preheat oven to 350°F and line two cupcake tins with cupcake liners (or use one pan and make two separate batches). Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a large bowl with a hand mixer), combine the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and beat on medium-low speed for 30 seconds.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix well. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and beat on medium-low speed until just combined. Add the coffee and buttermilk and mix until just combined.
Fill each cupcake liner half full of batter and bake in the preheated oven for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centers come out clean. Let cool. Prepare the Chocolate Ganache Frosting while the cupcakes are baking and cooling. Spread the frosting onto the cupcakes, add sprinkles (if desired) and serve!
Using buttermilk for this recipe is key! If you replace it with another wet ingredient such as milk or cream, your cupcakes may need to be transformed into Cupcake Truffles. Make sure the buttermilk is at room temperature before adding it to the batter and give it a vigorous shake just before adding it to the batter.
Filling the cupcake liners much more than halfway full will result in cupcake disaster. A lot of cupcake recipes work well with 3/4 full liners, but not this one. Trust me! GO HALF FULL!
Baking these cupcakes for 20 minutes resulted in perfection in my oven, but test using the toothpick method starting at the 18-minute mark.
Using coffee in the recipe adds a richness to the chocolate flavor that you wouldn’t be able to achieve by using water. The cupcakes will not taste at all like coffee, I promise. But if you’re looking to save time or if you’re not a coffee drinker, hot water can be used instead!
You can use 1/2 cup of either natural unsweetened cocoa or Dutch processed cocoa. Both options will work great in this recipe!
CAN I SUBSTITUTE BUTTERMILK WITH MILK?
Use milk as a replacement in a pinch, but the end result will be a less fluffy end result. The buttermilk helps baked goods and pancakes to fluff beautifully and perfectly, so I highly recommend using it when possible. And it IS possible thanks to a little bit of milk and white vinegar/lemon juice!
MAKING BUTTERMILK AT HOME
If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, make your own by combining 1 cup of milk with EITHER 1 tablespoon of lemon juice OR 1 tablespoon of white vinegar. Mix well and let sit for 5-10 minutes, or until small curdles stick to a spoon. Watch the quick video tutorial that makes it so easy to put it together here!
HOW TO MAKE A HOMEMADE BUTTERMILK SUBSTITUTE
Keep this cooking tip handy when you prepare to bake your cupcakes (or pancakes!).
Combine 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice OR 1 tablespoon of vinegar and 1 cup of milk (room temperature, preferably) in a small bowl. Mix well and let sit 5-10 minutes, or until mixture begins to curdle. Once the curdling starts happening, it is officially considered buttermilk and can be added to your recipe!
SALTED BUTTER VS UNSALTED BUTTER
Ahh, the great baking debate. Many bakers use unsalted butter in their baked goods in order to avoid over-salting. I, however, believe that there is no such thing as “over-salting.” I always use salted butter in my baked goods (and for everything else under the sun) because it gives everything I make an extra touch of salty deliciousness. If you go the unsalted route, you may need to add a bit extra salt to the recipe.
HOW TO MAKE CHOCOLATE GANACHE FROSTING
Place 8 ounces of chopped semisweet or bittersweet baking chocolate (or use 2 cups good quality semisweet chocolate chips) in a medium heat-proof bowl. Add 1 cup of heavy whipping cream, 2 tablespoons of light corn syrup and 2 tablespoons of salted butter to a small saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring often. Remove from the heat when the butter melts and the cream becomes frothy and begins to bubble. This will take somewhere around 5-7 minutes. Immediately pour the hot cream mixture over top of the chopped chocolate and let sit for 5 minutes.
Whisk the chocolate and cream until the mixture is creamy, free of lumps and deep brown in color. Scrape down the sides of the bowl using a rubber spatula and place the bowl in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Whisk the ganache again until it is perfectly creamy and spread over your chocolate cupcakes!
OTHER FROSTING RECIPES FOR CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES
I’ve explained how in love I am with the Chocolate Ganache Frosting. It is straight from heaven and when smeared on top of these perfect cupcakes….OMG! Have you ever taken a bite of something that tasted so insanely delicious that you couldn’t speak? THIS is that something for me. The following types of frosting would also taste amazing atop a perfect chocolate cupcake:
WATCH THIS TUTORIAL TO SEE HOW TO MAKE CHOCOLATE GANACHE!
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GANACHE AND GANACHE FROSTING?
Ganache and Ganache Frosting are made with the same ingredients, but using different ratios of cream to chocolate. Ganache usually refers to a glaze that is drizzled over baked goods that resembles perfectly melted chocolate. Ganache frosting refers to a spreadable frosting or filling for baking goods. Allowing ganache to cool in the fridge will make it thicker (much like the frosting), but it also causes it to lose its “drippy” quality that ganache is so well known for.
OTHER GREAT DESSERTS FOR PARTIES
If you’re wanting a tried and tested dessert recipe that does not involve cupcakes, here are a handful of great party dessert options!
These Perfect Chocolate Cupcakes are EASY to prepare, making them an ideal party or any-occasion dessert. You will knock people’s socks off with these, I promise!