“There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate.”
I’m going to let you into a secret. It’s not one of those ‘don’t tell anyone’ secrets. It’s the sort of secret that you won’t be able to keep to yourself. It’s one I’ve kept all to myself for many years, but I’ve decided that it’s time for you to know… To know the secret recipe of my chocolate cupcakes!
Yes, it’s true, I’m really going to let you in on my ultimate chocolate cupcake, a perfectly moist and an intensely chocolately cake, accompanied by the most delicious chocolate frosting.
In the shop, chocolate was one of the most requested flavours; they were always the first to disappear at the weekend and always the one that I’d swipe aside for myself. They’re a huge favourite with family and friends, and there’s usually a batch whipped up for birthday or afternoon tea treats!
I’ve tried so many different recipes; I’ve played around with the chocolate content, the consistency of the batter mix and the baking times. I’ve had moist but not enough chocolate, chocolate overload but dry and crumbly, and just plain ‘meh’. But these… these are the winners – rich, chocolately goodness. Pair them up with the most ‘oh my’ chocolate frosting and you’ll have the most amazing cupcakes!
So in my search for the ultimate chocolate cupcake, this recipe ticks all the boxes:
- Sturdy and not crumbling on the first bite
- Moist, but not soggy
- Deep, deep chocolate
To get that critical chocolate element, I use pure cocoa powder and melted 70% cocoa chocolate; the combination of the two means you get a real hit of the chocolate from the powder, but the melted chocolate keeps it nice and smooth and helps prevent the cocoa from being too drying.
You might think that this recipe is a little of a faff, melting this, combining that. But believe me, you’ll spend about 10 minutes prepping, and once you smell them baking and then when you taste them, you’ll know they’re worth it!
Ultimate Chocolate Cupcake
Yield 12 cupcakes
The ultimate chocolate cupcake with a smooth frosting!
For the Cupcake
- 120ml Whole milk
- 1/2 Lemon, juiced
- 120g Unsalted butter, melted
- 60g Chocolate, 70% cocoa, melted
- 45g Cocoa powder
- 100g Self-raising flour
- 1/2 tsp Bicarb of Soda
- 1/2 tsp Baking powder
- 2 Eggs, medium
- 120g Caster sugar
- 25g Soft brown sugar
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
For the Frosting
- 250g Unsalted butter
- 450g Icing sugar
- 50g Cocoa Powder
- 1 tbsp Double cream
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
- 30g Chocolate, 70% cocoa, melted
For the Cupcakes
- Preheat oven to 180C or 160C (fan) and line a deep muffin tray with 12 cupcake cases.
- In a small bowl, add whole milk and lemon juice. Set aside for 10 minutes to curdle.
- Add 120g of unsalted butter and 60g chocolate to a small heatproof bowl, place over a saucepan of simmering water. Make sure that the bowl does not touch the water. Heat until all the butter and chocolate has melted. Alternatively melt in the microwave. Set aside to cool.
- In a mixing bowl, sift together the self-raising flour, cocoa powder, bicarb of soda and baking powder and set aside.
- In a large bowl or stand mixer, add the caster sugar, soft brown sugar and eggs. Beat until smooth.
- Add cooled melted butter and chocolate, and whisk until well combined.
- Add half of the flour mixture, and half of the curdled milk. Mix until just combined.
- Add the remaining flour mixture and curdled milk. Mix well until smooth and thick.
- Use an ice cream scoop to divide the batter between the cupcake cases, approximately 1 scoop per case.
- Bake for 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Leave to cool on a wire rack.
For the Frosting
- Add 30g of chocolate to a small heatproof bowl, place over a saucepan of simmering water. Make sure that the bowl does not touch the water. Heat until all the chocolate has melted. Alternatively melt in the microwave. Set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat the butter until soft. Add half of the icing sugar, cocoa powder and 1 tbsp of double cream. Beat until smooth.
- Add the remaining icing sugar and cocoa powder and cooled chocolate. Beat until smooth.
- If the buttercream is too stiff, add a tbsp of whole milk and beat until smooth.
- Fill a piping bag fitted with a 1cm star nozzle with the chocolate buttercream.
- Pipe the buttercream onto the cupcakes in a swirl shape and drizzle with any remaining melted chocolate.
- Decorate with with more chocolate Mini Oreos, Chunks, Rolos, M&Ms, Hershey's Kisses etc!
Substitute the whole milk and lemon (curdled milk) for 120ml buttermilk if available.
Use an apple corer to make a hollow in the cupcake and fill with the chocolate ganache, from the The Dark Tart recipe.
Any leftover frosting, can be kept in an airtight container, in the fridge, for up to 1 week.