Best Chocolate Cupcakes

12 servings


55 minutes

total time


5 ounces (142 grams) bittersweet baking chocolate, (finely chopped)

1/3 cup (28 grams) cocoa powder

1/2 cup brewed coffee

3/4 cup (95 grams) all-purpose flour

1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar

1/2 cup (100 grams) packed light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon fine salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup (113 grams) sour cream (or plain full fat yogurt), (at room temperature)

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 large eggs plus one egg yolk, (at room temperature)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract



1/2 cup cold heavy whipping cream

4 ounces (113 grams) finely chopped semisweet chocolate (don't use chocolate chips)

3 sticks (340 grams) unsalted butter, (at a cool room temperature)

2 cups (250 grams) powdered sugar, (sifted, preferably organic*)

1 cup (85 grams) Dutch process cocoa powder, (sifted)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt


Make the cupcakes:

In a medium heatproof bowl, combine the chocolate, cocoa powder, and espresso powder. Pour hot water over mixture. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk mixture gently until smooth, then set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, sugars, salt, and baking soda.

Whisk sour cream, oil, eggs, egg yolk, vinegar, and vanilla into the cooled chocolate mixture until smooth, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as you mix. Stir in the flour mixture until smooth, being careful not to overmix.

Using a spring-loaded scoop, divide the batter evenly among prepared muffin cups until 3/4 full. Bake until cupcakes are set and firm to the touch, about 17 to 18 minutes.

Let cupcakes cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing from pan to cool completely, about 1 hour. Cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day.

Make the frosting:

In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer. Remove from heat and add the chopped chocolate. Let stand for a few minutes before stirring until smooth. Set aside and cool to approximately 75°F or until thickened but still pourable.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter, powdered sugar, cocoa, vanilla, and salt. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase the speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes, or until very well blended, scraping down the bowl as needed.

Reduce speed to medium-low and add the cooled chocolate cream mixture. Continue beating until the frosting has lightened in color and texture, about 2 minutes more, scraping down the bowl as needed.

Frosting can be made 1 day ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Warm frosting in the microwave for 5 to 10 seconds and stir until creamy again before frosting cupcakes.

Frosting can also be transferred to a ziptop bag and frozen for up to 1 month. Defrost in the fridge overnight then rewhip in the stand mixer until light and smooth.

12 servings


55 minutes

total time
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