Any time is the right time for Chocolate Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting
One thing is for certain. Chocolate and Valentine’s Day go together like Peas and Carrots or Bread and Butter. And I ask you, what’s better than chocolate cupcakes and buttercream frosting?
This baby tasted as good as she looks in the picture! But in the interest of honesty and full disclosure, I need to be up front with you about something.
This is not the cupcake I intended to make. “Why is that?” you ask. I opted to make this style of cupcake, because I didn’t feel like my piping skills were good enough to make the one I had planned to make. I saw something on YouTube from a HUGE YouTube personality, and I wanted to make it, too. She made it look so easy, but when it came down to it, I felt completely overwhelmed with getting the frosting right. I also wasn’t crazy about her cake recipe (and she totally left out a frosting recipe) so I defaulted to my favorite baking blog, Sally’s Baking Addiction.
What I want to say to you today is that, you can still make something pretty and very delicious even if you can’t do the next level cake decorating acrobatics we see every where.
I offer this humble cupcake as an homage to the cupcakes of yesteryear. The cupcakes we all can make in our own kitchens. Cupcakes like our moms and grandmas made. I even styled the cupcakes with a Depression glass plate I bought in a Vintage sale at the beach. (I have a video about that if you would like to watch and I’ll link to it here. )
I didn’t let my intimidation about the cupcake I really wanted to make stop me from making the cupcake I could make. And quite honestly, I love how these came out. They won’t win me any awards, but I’m ok about that!
I wanted to swirl colors for this project, and I gave it my best shot. I mixed pink frosting with uncolored white frosting. It’s not exactly what I was going for.
I had trouble getting the two different frostings on opposite sides of the frosting bag. So it was more color blocked than swirled. But I still think that’s ok!
I also had trouble piping the frosting in the big swirls I had envisioned. So I stopped trying to do those and instead went with this method, and I thought it was very Lotus Blossom looking. I finished it off by sprinkling silver stars on top. I bought them for the other recipe, and wanted to give them a try with this version of cupcake. I love them!
Best of all, they tasted delicious.
I took extra care on getting the cakes just right, and the crumb was perfect!
When it came time to whip the frosting, I used the method explained by Cupcake Jemma (also on YouTube). It was not Jemma’s recipe I wanted to make, though I will try hers the next time I make cupcakes. She has special tips about how to work the frosting, and I followed those instructions. And WOW. So good! The frosting is the best frosting I’ve ever made. It literally melts in the mouth even days later.
I need practice to get my decorating skills on par, but it means another dozen cupcakes to consume. Which is good and bad……so I don’t get to make them often enough to get in enough practice to make perfectly piped cupcakes, but that’s life. I loved making these, and eating them has been pretty great, too!
So I would say to you, don’t worry if you can’t make the fanciest stuff that’s so popular on Instagram these days. It doesn’t have to be perfect to still be delicious.
And honestly, I’m find the home made stuff a lot more appealing than the crazy, over-the-top cakes I’m seeing these days.
Delicious chocolate cupcakes with piled high Butter Cream frosting is perfect for Valentine’s Day or any day you crave a cupcake.
For the Cupcakes
- 3/4 cup (95g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 1/2 cup (42g) unsweetened natural cocoa powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (100g) packed light brown sugar
- 1/3 cup (80ml) vegetable or canola oil (or melted coconut oil)
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (120ml) unsweetened yogurt, at room temperature
For the Buttercream Frosting:
- 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 bag (454 grams) confectioners’ sugar
- 2 tbsp Almond Milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
- salt, to taste (Fleur de Sel is my favorite)
For the cupcakes:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Line a second pan with 2 liners – this recipe makes 14 – 16 cupcakes. Set aside.
- Sift and whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl until thoroughly combined. Set aside. In a mixer using the paddle attachment, beat the eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar, oil, and vanilla together until completely smooth. Pour half of the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Then half of the yogurt. Gently combine on low for a minute. Add the rest of the dry ingredients followed by the yogurt. Mix together until *just* combined; do not overmix. The batter will be thin.
- Pour or spoon the batter into the liners. Fill only halfway (Sally wasn’t kidding about this part your guys! only halfway!) to avoid spilling over the sides or sinking. Bake for 18-21 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
- Frost cooled cupcakes however you’d like. I used Wilton Star 2110 piping tip for these pictured cupcakes. Top with sprinkles, if desired. I used these stars. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
How to make the Frosting:
- With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy – about 5 minutes. You’re going to run the mixer for the full 5 mintues.
- Turn the mixer off and add the bag of sifted powdered sugar in two additions. Run the mixer on low to incorporate. Bring the mixer up to medium high and run for about 4 minutes with each addition. Once the sugar is mixed in, add the almond milk, and the vanilla bean paste with the mixer running on low. Increase to high speed and beat for 6 full minutes.
- If you need to make adjustments, add some more confectioners’ sugar if frosting is too thin or another Tablespoon of milk if frosting is too thick. Add a pinch of salt if frosting is too sweet. (I like 1/8 tsp salt.)
- If you would like to add color to your frosting, a gel paste is best. You will use less and you won’t ruin the structure of your perfect buttercream frosting.
- Cover tightly and store for up to 1 week in the refrigerator.
I followed the mixing instructions from Cupcake Jemma on making Buttercream, and I am a convert. This is the best frosting I’ve ever made, or had. Hands down, it’s amazing. She has you do really long beat times with the butter, but wow. It works.
I only had the one bag of Powdered Sugar on hand and it weighed in at 454 grams, so that’s what I used. It worked fine and maybe using a little bit less than the original recipe called for made a less overly sweet frosting. I also was out of cream as originally called for and subbed the Almond Milk, because it’s what I had in the fridge, and it was delicious.
I piped my cupcakes using that huge star tip and then sprinkled the edible silver stars to finish them off.