Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream

My ol' trusty favorite chocolate cupcake recipe is Rose Levy Beranbaum's Devil's Food cupcake. The cupcake has a very tender cake crumb and wonderful rich chocolate flavor but it is just ever so slightly dry. As usual, I was in search of a more perfect moister chocolate cupcake and I found the recipe below in a stash of old recipes that I had tucked away in a remote corner of my bookcase.  This recipe uses oil in addition to melted butter and it makes the moistest chocolate cupcake I have ever had. The best part of the cupcake is the rich and intense chocolate buttercream. For the buttercream, I adapted my favorite white chocolate vanilla buttercream recipe by substituting unsweetened chocolate and cocoa for the white chocolate. Then I added some heavy cream to give the buttercream a light and airy texture. The buttercream is full-proof too - you just can't mess it up. Just remember to beat the hell out of it.  I’m so glad I decided to switch it up a bit because this new recipe is fabulous and it is my new favorite chocolate cupcake. 

Makes 22 to 24 cupcakes




For the cupcakes:

  • 1 cup water

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons natural cocoa powder (not dutch processed)
  • 2 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


For the chocolate buttercream:

  • 1-1/2 cups of unsalted butter (3 sticks)
  • 5 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1 cup natural cocoa
  • 4 ounces of unsweetened chocolate (100% cacao)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream




Step 1: For the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line two standard cupcake pans with liners.

Step 2: In a small saucepan, bring water, vegetable oil, butter, and cocoa powder to boil. Whisk until smooth.  Remove from heat and add semisweet chocolate. Whisk to combine until chocolate is melted. Set aside to cool.

Step 3: In a bowl, whisk together eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla extract. Slowly add cooled chocolate mixture to egg mixture.

Step 4: Sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.  Add liquid mixture to flour mixture until just combined.

Step 5: Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle of cupcakes comes out clean.

Step 6: For the chocolate buttercream: Melt chocolate in microwave, stirring every 30 seconds.

Step 7: Beat the butter, cocoa, and powdered sugar until light and fluffy.  You can not overbeat so continue to beat until it's light and fluffy.

Step 8: Add melted chocolate and again beat until light and fluffy.
Step 9: Add vanilla and then add heavy cream and then continue to beat the hell out of it.
Step 10: Completely cool cupcakes in pan before frosting with chocolate buttercream.



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