Can you imagine a world without chocolate? I can, but I certainly don’t want to. This delicious creation is a culinary wonder, pairing easily with a range of flavors both sweet and savory. When you think about it, I bet you have at least one favorite treat that involves chocolate in some way, even if it’s a basic chocolate chip cookie or a tender chocolate cake.
These cupcakes remind me a bit of devil’s food, and the original recipe came from Taste of Home, one of my new favorite sites. I cut that recipe in half to make a dozen and chose to pair them with my favorite cocoa frosting, which uses simple ingredients you’re likely to have in your pantry. You could definitely go with the one in the original recipe, or use a vanilla frosting instead – but given that it’s World Chocolate Day, we’re going to go all-out chocolate.
For the cupcakes
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 1/4 cup water
For the frosting
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder, sifted
- 1 3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- rainbow sprinkles, if desired
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 12-well cupcake tin with paper liners.
In a small bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
In a glass measuring cup, combine buttermilk and water; set aside.
In a mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat until well-combined, then add vanilla extract and beat until well-combined, scraping the sides of the bowl a few times.
Add flour mixture and buttermilk/water mixture alternatively in two batches, beating well after each.
Using a 2-inch cookie scoop, scoop dough into prepared cupcake wells, filling about 2/3 full.
Bake for 18-2o minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool in the pan for a few minutes (the original recipe suggests 10 minutes, but I cooled mine for about half that time), then remove to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
For the frosting: in a small bowl, combine melted butter and cocoa powder, whisking until smooth. Place mixture in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; beat on low speed for 1 minute, then on medium speed for 2 minutes.
Add 1 cup powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon milk and beat until very well-combined, scraping the sides of the bowl well a few times. Add remaining powdered sugar and 1 more tablespoon milk and beat for about 1 minute; add vanilla and beat 1 minute more, then add final tablespoon of milk and beat for 2 minutes, until lighter in color and fluffy.
Fit a piping bag with a large star tip; pipe frosting onto cupcakes. Top with sprinkles if desired; store in an airtight container at room temperature.