These cupcakes are not only moist but loaded with great chocolate flavor!
“Do you ever feel like crying your eyes out?”
That was the text I sent my daughter the day I made these cupcakes.
I was carrying four of my prettiest specimens (we call them heroes) upstairs for a photo shoot, when suddenly, the little cakes started sliding. I saw them going down, but couldn’t react in time. The next thing I knew, they were looking up at me from the ground. And I was looking down at them sadly, figuring we’d need to cancel the photo shoot.
A knight in shining armor came to the rescue, however. Scott, my ever-optimistic husband (as well as photographer), looked at the not-so-pretty specimens and said, “Let’s see what we can do with these…”. Check out the photos below and see the magic he worked!
The first time I made these delicious chocolate cupcakes was this past November for a very special occasion. Our daughter-in-law, Lindsay, was scheduled for an induction the day after Thanksgiving, and late that evening we got the wonderful phone call that our new grandson had arrived. I’d made the cupcakes earlier in the day, and it didn’t take long to pack them up and head to the hospital.
The new parents were tired, happy and very proud and these moist, chocolatey cupcakes, mounded high with buttercream, were a big hit at our welcome-to-the-world party. The taste-testers at the hospital that fine November night, all agreed the cupcakes were quite “blog worthy” although the little star of the show, Hayes Ryan, slept through the entire event.
With Valentines Day right around the corner, I thought this would be a perfect time to share these yummy cupcakes, so I recruited a little cooking friend to help me.
“Anyone want to help me make cupcakes?” I asked one day last week when Hayes’ big sister, Emmy was hanging out with us. She loves to help in the kitchen and she quickly responded, “I do!” I pulled out the ingredients and helped her onto the island and the fun began…
We measure, mixed, beat, sniffed and laughed.
Emmy had lots of fun with her first cupcake decorating lesson and in the end, everyone enjoyed the fruits of our labor. As you can see, especially the little cupcake maker herself!
I found this delicious chocolate cupcake recipe on Pinterest and was intrigued by the fact that it includes three quarters cup of strong coffee. I looked into that a bit and learned that coffee intensifies the flavor of chocolate. It’s true! You would never know there’s coffee in the finished product, but the chocolate flavor is fantastic.
The recipe also calls for buttermilk which, in my opinion, is quite magical in cakes, muffins, pancakes, etc. Try to find whole buttermilk instead of the low fat for best results. There’s not that much difference in calories and hey, you’re splurging anyways, so go for the real deal!
You could also use real vanilla beans or just regular vanilla extract. I love the look of the tiny flecks of vanilla beans in the icing, so I love to use the paste.
Chocolate cupcakes are always a hit, so whether you want to surprise your sweetheart for Valentines, you’ve been requested to bring dessert to a party or you just want to make an ordinary day quite extraordinary, save a cup of coffee and whip up a batch of these Super Moist Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Icing. You’ll be sure to see smiles as big as Emmy’s! Just don’t carry them around on a slippery cupcake stand!
P.S. We’re super excited as we head to London tomorrow to see our four little Valentines on the other side of the pond. We’ll be sharing a really fun Valentine treat from over there later in the week – some pretty, buttery Valentine Shortbread Cookies.
- For the cupcakes:
- ¾ cup strong hot coffee
- ¾ cup dark cocoa
- ¾ cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- 2 ½ cups flour
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- For the icing:
- 8 ounces butter softened
- 2 ounces low fat not fat-free cream cheese (softened)
- 5 cups powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
- 2-3 tablespoons whole milk
- Preheat oven to 350°. Line cupcake pans with 30 cupcake liners
- Whisk together coffee and cocoa in a small bowl and set aside. Sift together flour, baking soda and baking powder in another small bowl and set aside. Measure out buttermilk and mix with vanilla extract and set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together butter, brown sugar and salt. Add eggs, one at a time, beating each egg in thoroughly and scraping the side of the bowl before adding the next egg.
- Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the egg mixture and mix until combined. Add 1/2 of the buttermilk and mix until combined.
- Repeat, ending with the last of the flour mixture.
- Add the cocoa and coffee mixture and mix until thoroughly combined. Fold in mayonnaise.
- Divide equally into prepared cupcake liners. Bake for 16-18 mins or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Allow to cool thoroughly on wire racks before frosting with Vanilla Bean Icing (below).
- For the icing, whip the butter and cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer until soft and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes. I like to use the whisk attachment for my mixer.
- Reduce speed to low and slowly add the powdered sugar. Beat for 3 minutes on high speed. Mixture will be very thick.
- Add vanilla and 2 tablespoons milk. Beat until nice creamy consistency is reached. You made need to add more milk, add just a teaspoonful at a time until desired consistency is reach. You want a cream but fairly stick consistency if you're planning on piping the icing. If spreading with a knife, the icing can be a bit thinner. Beat for another 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl several times during mixing.
- Ice with a knife or pipe on icing with a decorating bag and tip. For the cupcakes pictured, I used a 2D Wilton tip, also known as a flower tip. I start in the center and slowly (so the icing can ruffle a bit) work my way to the outside edges of the cupcake and the back to the center.
- Yields 30 cupcakes
To frost all 30 cupcakes mounded high with icing as pictured, I used a most of a double recipe of the icing. If you frost the cupcakes with a knife, you will have plenty with a single recipe.