Perfect Chocolate Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting
The WTF face in the mirror
Hello from possibly the only person on earth who grew into a love of buttercream at the age of 38. Sometimes I’m disappointed when I feel like no one gets me, but in this case you’re all free to give me the WTF face without even trying to hide it. Lord knows I saw it first in the mirror.
Totally do-able bake sale contributions and party favors
These days, even though I tend to opt for the ghost/French exit/Irish goodbye after a few bites, I love buttercream for its simple flavor profile and endless adaptability.
Buttercream helps you turn delicious cupcakes into gently themed bake sale contributions and party favors without too much effort, creativity or fondant. Just stir in a few dabs of gel icing color and buy or quickly make a little topper or two, and you’ll have achieved the ultimate ratio of impressiveness (good enough) to effort (doable after dinner the night before).
Peter Pan(ic) cupcakes
I made the cupcakes pictured above for the intermission bake sale at our middle school’s production of Peter Panic, a made-for-tweens musical about theater kids fighting an evil football coach for enough funding to perform Peter Pan. (Whew!) Below is the same cupcake with the same frosting, but restyled for Easter by said tween and me.
Perfect chocolate cupcakes
As for the cake: For years I’ve oscillated between searching for the perfect chocolate cupcake recipe and avoiding baking chocolate cupcakes at all. I already have a favorite chocolate cake, but I’m not in love with the way it translates to cupcakes.
One cupcake recipe, infinite cute looks
In anticipation of Peter Panic, I tested the recipe below, originally created by Two Peas and Their Pod. I’ve finally found the chocolate cupcake batter I’ve been looking for, and since then I’ve been making up for lost time by churning these babies out for any and all occasions.
It’s the best, because the recipe quickly becomes an old standby, but the cupcakes clean up real nice and look totally different every time. Next up, this weekend’s piano recital. We kept the frosting its natural ivory color (I mean, come on) and jazzed up the tops — pun totally intended — with some sheet music-adorned toothpicks.
I hope this recipe and its companion Classic Buttercream Frosting will help simplify your life in the same rewarding way they’ve done for mine. Have fun, and see you next time.
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup boiling water
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two standard muffin tins with 24 decorative paper liners to match your theme.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, mix sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt on low speed until well combined.
- Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla extract. Mix on medium speed until batter is smooth. Pour in boiling water and carefully mix on low until just incorporated.
- Divide batter among muffin cups. Bake cupcakes for about 18 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.