How to Make Chocolate Cupcakes

Learn how to make chocolate cupcakes for a crowd -- and how to make the best chocolate frosting, too. This classic chocolate cupcake recipe begs to be passed down from generation to generation.

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Chocolate Cupcakes from Scratch

Perfectly sweet, moist, and rich -- these homemade chocolate cupcakes will satisfy a crowd. We'll teach you how to make chocolate cupcakes and how to top them with the best chocolate frosting.

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The Best Chocolate Cupcake Recipe

Get our Chocolate Cupcake recipe

Follow along to make our classic chocolate cupcakes. Or get the recipe here.

You'll need:

3/4 cup butter
3 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups milk

Allow butter and eggs to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, line twenty-four to thirty 2 1/2-inch muffin cups with paper bake cups. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350ºF. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add sugar, about 1/4 cup at a time, beating on medium speed until combined. Scrape sides of bowl; beat about 2 minutes more or until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Alternately add flour mixture and milk to butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Beat on medium to high speed for 20 seconds more.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each one-half to two-thirds full. Use the back of a spoon to smooth out batter in cups.

Bake for 18 to 22 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in muffin cups on wire racks for 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from muffin cups. Cool completely on wire racks. Frost with desired frosting.

Why Do We Let Eggs Stand?

Eggs warmed to room temperature will mix more easily into dough or batter and help increase volume at the same time. When at 68º-70ºF, the yolk breaks quite easily and will mix evenly with the whites. Warm eggs also get frothier and whip up faster -- but they tend to deflate more quickly, so be sure to use the eggs (or the batter you're using them in) right away!

How to Make Classic Chocolate Buttercream

You'll need:

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
6 egg yolks, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons desired liqueur or water
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla
4 ounces chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
1-1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened

In a heavy medium saucepan, combine sugar and water. Bring to boiling; remove from heat. Gradually whisk about half of the hot sugar mixture into egg yolks. Gradually whisk egg yolk mixture into the remaining sugar mixture in saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil; reduce heat. Cook and stir 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in liqueur and vanilla.

Transfer yolk mixture to a bowl. Fill a larger bowl with cold water and ice. Place the smaller bowl into the larger bowl. Stir frequently 10 minutes or until mixture is cooled to room temperature.

Melt chocolate and cool. In a large bowl, beat butter with a mixer until fluffy. Add cooled sugar mixture and chocolate, beating until combined. If necessary, chill until mixture reaches spreading consistency. Makes 3 cups.

How to Make Cocoa Cream Cheese Frosting

You'll need:

One 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
5 to 5-1/2 cups powdered sugar

In a bowl, beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla with a mixer on medium until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in cocoa powder and powdered sugar to reach spreading consistency. Store frosted cupcakes in the refrigerator. Makes 3-1/2 cups.

How to Make Chocolate Ganache

You'll need:

12 ounces semisweet, bittersweet, or milk chocolate, chopped
1 cup whipping cream

Place chocolate in a medium bowl. In a medium saucepan, bring whipping cream just to boiling over medium-high heat. Pour cream over chocolate (do not stir). Let stand 5 minutes. Stir until smooth. Cool 15 minutes or chill up to 1 hour until ganache reaches desired consistency. Makes about 2 cups.

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