Today I present to you one of my all-time favorite recipes. Pay attention now, because this is the BEST recipe for dark chocolate cupcakes in the world! Seriously guys, go make them now, because everyone is going to love you a little more for it. They’re that good! And the best thing is that they’re super duper easy to make. You don’t even need a mixer. Just a whisk and a bowl. And maybe a glass…? But seriously, that’s it!
Bonus: it shouldn’t take you more than 5 minutes to throw the batter for these gorgeous chocolatey cupcakes together. And if you want to, you can easily double, triple or quadruple the recipe. So you’ll have more cupcakes. Which is always better, right?
Anyway, let’s just start with the recipe for six cupcakes. Because I own a muffin pan with six cups…
I use two kinds of sugar, the ordinary granulated stuff and some light brown sugar, because the brown sugar gives the cupcakes a deeper, more complex flavor. Besides, brown sugar pairs beautifully with dark chocolate. And wait, brown sugar also adds a little more moisture to baked goods than the ordinary white sugar!
‘Cause guess what’s the worst? A dry chocolate cupcake…
Which I why I also use oil instead of butter. Butter adds great flavor to baked goods, but seriously, in this recipe, the flavor of the butter would just get lost because of that intense (INTENSE!) chocolatey goodness. So oil it is!
I use sunflower oil, but you can use any neutral-flavored oil you happen to have on hand, like canola oil or something…
But don’t overdo it… You’re not mixing up concrete, you’re making cupcakes. So whisk like you mean it until the mixture looks like the mixture in the photo. This really shouldn’t take you longer than half a minute..
But this is the time to add the ingredients that are really, really wet. So coffee, buttermilk and vanilla extract. I use instant coffee powder to make the coffee, because I can’t stand to make any other kind of coffee (due to my childhood coffee trauma), but you can use ‘real’ coffee I you prefer. Just make sure you add some form of coffee, because it imparts great flavor. Like the brown sugar, it deepens the flavor of the chocolate. Which is reason enough for me to brave the smell of coffee in my kitchen, despite the fact that it makes me feel like sneezing…
Weirdly traumatized? Me? I don’t know what you’re talking about…
Anyway, let’s talk a bit about the buttermilk. Buttermilk is another ingredient that makes these cupcakes unbelievably tender and flavorsome. In fact, if you ask me, buttermilk is a magic ingredient when it comes to cake-making. I’m not really sure why buttermilk makes cakes so super moist, though. I’ll have to look into that… Maybe it has something to do with the fact that is has been ‘soured’? I don’t know… At any rate, the bacteria that is added to buttermilk to give it its characteristic flavor also pairs great with chocolate. Which is a good!
By the way, if you don’t have buttermilk, you can make your own! Simply mix one teaspoon of white vinegar or lemon juice with 60ml (or ¼ cup) of regular milk. Allow the mixture sit for about 5 minutes, and tadaa! Make-shift buttermilk. Don’t worry if the stuff looks a bit curdled, that’s fine…
But wait? What if you don’t have buttermilk, or lemon juice or vinegar? Well, just go ahead and use regular milk. The cupcakes will still be super moist and really good! Sure, the milk will react a bit differently with the raising agents, because it lacks acidity, but I’ve done it tons of times when I was all out of buttermilk/vinegar/lemon juice and always loved the resulting cupcakes!
Again, mix like you mean it, but only until the batter has come together. You don’t want to overmix it, otherwise you might end up with unnecessarily tough cupcakes.
Also, remember that baking soda and baking powder are two very different things. You can’t just use one instead of the other. For more details, check out this geeky post. Just scroll down to the second photo and start reading there if you don’t want to read about head colds and Mr. Draper
I’ve used them as the basis for those amazing Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with a Candy Cane Buttercream (although I have to say that I simplified the recipe since then) and in these (pictured above) awesome Double Chocolate Cupcakes which I will post about next week.
I just hope you can wait that long!
- 70g (or ⅓ cup + 1 teaspoon) granulated sugar
- 70g (¼ cup + 1 tablespoon, packed) light brown sugar
- 30ml (or 2 tablespoons) sunflower oil
- ½ large egg*
- 60ml (or ¼ cup) hot water**
- ¼ teaspoon instant coffee powder
- 65ml (or ¼ cup + 1 teaspoon) buttermilk***
- ⅛ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 50g (or ⅓ cup + 1 tablespoon) all-purpose flour
- 40g (or ⅓ cup + ½ teaspoon) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- ⅜ teaspoon baking soda
- ⅛ teaspoon baking powder
- big pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 175°C/350°F (standard oven setting) and line a 6-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together sugars, oil and the egg (so ½ large egg).
- In a glass, combine hot water and coffee powder and stir until the coffee has dissolved. Add the buttermilk and the vanilla extract and stir until combined.
- Add the 'really wet' ingredients (the buttermilk mixture) to the sugar mixture. Whisk until combined.
- Add the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt and whisk until the batter comes together.
- Divide the batter evenly over the 6 muffin cups (filling them three quarters full). Gently rap the pan on the counter once to remove any air bubbles, then bake in the middle of the oven for 18-20 minutes, or until a tester inserted into one of the cupcakes comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and allow the cupcakes to cool to room temperature. Once cool, the cupcakes can be frosted.
- Unfrosted cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. Unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, for up to two months. Allow frozen cupcakes to thaw overnight in the fridge before use.
- Frosted cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
** instead of using hot water and instant coffee powder, you can use 60ml (¼ cup) of coffee.
*** instead of buttermilk, you can use regular milk or make your own buttermilk by combining 60ml (¼ cup) milk with 1 teaspoon of lemon juice or white vinegar