These super moist easy chocolate cupcakes with whipped ganache frosting is a perfect dessert for chocolate lovers. The cupcakes have a melt in your mouth, little-bit-fudgy texture, with a rich chocolate flavor.
Ingredients and substitutions
Flour and cocoa powder - I use all-purpose flour and unsweetened cocoa powder. You can use cake flour for a more tender crumb. However, you can't replace the unsweetened natural cocoa powder with anything else.
Fats - I went for a mix of butter and oil instead of using 100% butter because vegetable oils make your baked goods moister and softer.
Baking powder and baking soda - Whipping the butter and sugar together won't give us a proper lift, so we need to help our cupcakes rise by adding baking powder. Since the batter that contains unsweetened natural cocoa is very acidic, we have to add ¼ teaspoon baking soda as well to support the baking powder.
Eggs and liquids - You should choose large eggs (53-63g each) and use them at room temperature. Otherwise, they won’t whip well. As for liquids, I use whole milk, but you can use dairy-free substitutions if you want (however, the texture won’t be the same).
Vanilla extract and salt - You can skip vanilla or add 1 tablespoon of cold-brewed coffee instead. However, don't remove salt from this chocolate cupcake recipe, as it’s in there to balance the flavors.
Dark chocolate - The best way to elevate the chocolate flavor in our easy chocolate cupcakes? We need to add real chocolate. I prefer Callebaut dark chocolate 54.5%. It's sold in the form of chocolate callets, which makes it easy to work with. If you use baking chocolate or a chocolate bar, make sure you chop it as finely as possible before melting.
Chocolate frosting - I use whipped chocolate ganache with the 2:1 heavy cream to chocolate ratio. For me, it’s a perfect chocolate frosting that is not overly sweet and stable enough at room temperature. Alternatively, you can replace it with something like chocolate buttercream frosting.
Start by making ganache first, then bake the cupcakes. It takes time for the ganache to set to whip-able consistency, so you want to make it at least 4 hours before cupcakes are ready to be decorated. You can also make it one day before baking to make your life easier and whip it right before decorating.
Measure the ingredients using a digital kitchen scale for better and consistent results. Invest in one scale and you won't need to wash measuring cups anymore!
All ingredients should be at room temperature. Ingredients that are at the same temperature combine and emulsify perfectly.
Don't overfill your cupcake liners. Always fill your cupcakes no more than ⅔ full.
Don't frost warm cupcakes. Your frosting will melt (I guarantee you that).
Step by step directions
1. Heat the heavy cream just until first bubbles. Remove from the heat and pour on top of the chocolate callets.
2. Let it sit for 2 minutes. Then, mix until a homogenous consistency.
3. Cover with plastic wrap so it touches the ganache and let it come to room temperature, then place into the fridge to stabilize for 4 hours or overnight until chilled and peanut butter consistency.
4. Sieve the dry ingredients into a bowl.
5. Melt the chocolate and butter and mix with the milk and vegetable oil.
6. Beat the eggs and sugar until tripled in volume and pale yellow.
7. Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts alternating with 2 parts of the milk mixture (it should look like this: dry/milk/dry/milk/dry) and mix in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on the lowest speed or by hand using a rubber spatula until no dry ingredients are left and the batter is smooth and shiny.
8. Fill the cupcake liners ⅔ way up and bake for around 20 min in the oven preheated to 345F (175C).
9. Cool down the cupcakes before decorating.
10. Whip the ganache.
11. Decorate (I use Wilton 1M piping nozzle to pipe cupcake hats) and serve.
You can always use another frosting to decorate your chocolate cupcakes and change their flavor. Alternatively, you can fill them with different fillings like this Salted caramel, or this Raspberry coulis (stabilized with corn starch).
Store unfrosted cupcakes in the fridge for up to 5 days in a cake keeper. If frosted, store for 3 days.
You can store unfrosted cupcakes in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to three days. If frosted, always store in the fridge.
You can freeze the cupcakes (without the frosting) for up to 1 months. Wrap each of them in plastic wrap and then in the foil before freezing. Thaw in the fridge overnight and then bring to room temperature before decorating.
More related recipes
Easy chocolate cupcakes
- Stand mixer
- Rubber spatula
- Digital kitchen scale
- Cookie scoop
- Wilton 1M piping nozzle
- Muffin pan
For the cupcakes
- 130 g all-purpose flour
- 20 g cocoa powder unsweetened
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- Pinch of salt
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 120 g granulated sugar
- 15 g butter melted
- 50 g Callebaut dark chocolate 54.5% melted in the microwave in short increments and mixed in between
- 50 g vegetable oil such as canola, sunflower seed oil, or extra mild olive oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 100 ml whole milk at room temperature
For the frosting
- 150 g Callebaut dark chocolate 54.5% finely chopped if using a chocolate bar
- 300 ml heavy cream 34-36% fat
- Pinch of salt
For the frosting
- Place the chocolate in a clean, dry mixing bowl (preferably metal or glass).
- Heat the heavy cream just until first bubbles. Remove from the heat and pour on top of the chocolate. Let it sit for 2 minutes. Then, mix until a homogenous consistency.
- Cover with plastic wrap so it touches the ganache and let it come to room temperature, then place into the fridge to stabilize for 4 hours or overnight until chilled and peanut butter consistency.
- When the cupcakes are cooled down, whip the ganache with a hand mixer or a stand mixer until it becomes fluffy and lighter in color (around 30 sec). It should keep the shape on a spatula but still be very pliable and soft. Use a piping bag and your favorite piping tip to decorate the cupcakes.
For the cupcakes
- Preheat the oven to 345F (175C) and line the muffin pan with parchment paper liners.
- Into the large mixing bowl, sieve the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, soda, and salt. Mix and set aside.
- Melt the chocolate and butter in a microwave, mix with vegetable oil and milk and set aside.
- In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or you can use a hand mixer and a large mixing bowl), beat the eggs and sugar for 5 minutes or until tripled in size and pale yellow.
- Then, add the dry mixture in three parts and the milk mixture in two parts, starting and ending with the dry one. Mix on low in the stand mixer fitted a paddle attachment, or do it by hand using a rubber spatula until no dry ingredients are left and the batter is smooth and shiny.
- Fill the cupcake liners ⅔ full and bake for around 20 minutes or until the toothpick inserted in the middle of a cupcake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let it cool down completely.
- Decorate with the freshly whipped ganache frosting and serve!