Warning: these cupcakes are for true chocoholics only. I’m talking liking your chocolate with a side of more chocolate, with chocolate sauce on top for good measure. Because with a devil’s food cake base and a rich chocolate ganache frosting, these cupcakes are not playing around.
These cupcakes were a long time in the making. I originally set out to make a chocolate cake for my grandmother’s 94th birthday. Any chocoholic genes that run in my family can be traced straight back to her, so I wanted something as rich and bursting with chocolate as possible. But for all kinds of silly reasons I won’t go into here, it didn’t work out and we ended up bringing a (gasp!) store-bought cake to her instead. I’ve learned by now not to sweat mistakes like this, so we rolled with it and ate the heck out of that store-bought cake.
But since I am nothing if not stubborn, I felt compelled to right my chocolate wrongs as soon as possible. It was actually a great motivator; with the end of summer break and lots of things going on, I had been in a real baking slump for most of August. This challenge of making a great chocolate recipe really gave me the kick in the pants I needed to step it up again in the kitchen. For the cupcakes, I used my very favorite devil’s food cake recipe from The Fearless Baker. It’s the most reliable, moist, and tender chocolate cake I’ve found, and it doesn’t disappoint in cupcake form. The frosting is a simple chocolate ganache of chopped bittersweet chocolate and cream, whipped to frosting consistency. Together, they form a rich chocolate explosion screaming for a tall glass of milk.
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ cup boiling water
- ⅝ cup whole milk
- 9 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
- ¾ cup sugar
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- ½ tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 12 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two muffin pans with 18 cupcake liners.
- Place the cocoa powder and espresso powder in a medium heatproof bowl. Add the boiling water and whisk until combined. Whisk in the milk and set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars with a hand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until each is fully incorporated before adding the next. Add in the vanilla and mix to combine, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add a third of the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix on low speed until just combined. Add half of the cocoa mixture and mix to incorporate, then repeat with the remaining dry and wet ingredients, mixing only until the batter is smooth.
- Pour the batter into the prepared cupcake liners, filling to about ¾ of the way. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 18-20 minutes.
- Chop the chocolate into small pieces and place it in a heatproof bowl. Head the heavy cream over medium heat until just boiling, then pour over the chocolate. Let it sit for 15 seconds, then stir with a rubber spatula until smooth, shiny, and combined.
- Allow the frosting to cool to room temperature, then whip with a hand mixer on high speed until the color lightens, about 3 minutes. Pipe onto the cupcakes as desired.