‘The’ Chocolate Cupcake of Chocolate Cupcakes

I think one thing I make clear around here is that I am a lover of  baked goods.  My second love is chocolate.  That said, I don’t eat cake all that much. It’s a little to heavy for me so I hold eating cake to special occassions.  I’m a cake snob; I will pass over a cheap grocery store sheet cake at a graduation event.  I do this with ice cream too.

Mike: Not me, I can’t help it.  Even when I know it will be bad I’m still lining up for a piece of crappy cake.  It’s been happening a lot lately as we reach the end of the school year.

I love making cupcakes.  They are just a small piece of cake.  I can make a batch and toss them in the freezer (yes, icing and all) and have one when I get a hankering.  My all time favorite cupcake is this recipe I came across in America’s Test Kitchen years ago and have been tinkering with ever since.  The cake is moist and doesn’t crumble.  When you take a bite the frosting is light and fluffy then suddenly you discover a dense chocolaty surprise of a spot of ganache in the middle.  You don’t eat this cupcake, you experience it!

A chocola-tie experience!

A chocola-tie experience!

This past weekend I threw my friend Juliette a going away party. Yes, she’s moving back to Austrailia 🙁

I felt it was deserving that she experience this cupcake so she could remember all that she is leaving behind.  Who knows?  She may change her mind based on my cupcakes.  I take no prisoners when my bestie decides to move halfway across the world!


Chocolate cupcakes

  • 3 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped finely
  • 1/3 c Dutch-processed cocoa powder (it’s OK if the can doesn’t say ‘Dutch’ on it!)
  • 3/4 c hot coffee
  • 3/4 c bread flour (this is one of the elements that makes these cupcakes sing!)
  • 3/4 c granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 6 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp white vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Ganache filling

  •    2 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped finely

I use Ghirardelli Bittersweet chocolate chips and chop them up in the coffee grinder

  • 1/4 c heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp confectioners’ sugar (AKA powdered sugar)

Chocolate frosting

  • 1 (8 ounce) package reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 c white sugar
  • 1/2 c Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 2 c heavy cream


For the cupcakes

1)  Put your oven rack on the middle section and pre-heat it to 350 degrees.  Get your cupcake pan out and drop the liners in. I find this makes about 15-17 cupcakes.

2)  In a medium bowl place the chocolate and the cocoa powder in.  Pour the hot coffee over and whisk.  Whisk it until it’s smooth and all the chocolate is melted.  Put it in the refrigerator to cool.  It seems to take about 30 minutes.

Jump to the ganache filling

1) Put the chocolate, cream and confectioners’ sugar in a medium size microwavable-safe bowl.

2) Microwave until it’s warm to the touch.  I set the microwave timer for 30 seconds, stop it every 10 seconds-whisk the mixture-put it back in, repeat.

3)  Whisk it completely so there are no chocolate chunks.  Put it in the  refrigerator no longer then 30 minutes.

Back to the cupcakes

1) In a medium size bowl whisk the flour, sugar, salt and baking soda together and set aside.

2)  In a large bowl whisk the oil, eggs, vinegar and vanilla into the cooled chocolate/cocoa/coffee mixture until smooth.

3)  Add the flour mixture and whisk until smooth.

4)  Divide the batter evenly (about 2/3 full) into the cupcake liners.

5)  Place a dolap of the cold ganache on top of each filled cupcake.  It will sink.

6)  Bake until the cupcakes are firm to the touch.  This takes about 20 minutes for me but will take less time at lower altitudes.

7)  Take the cupcakes out and let cool before frosting.

Making the frosting

This is almost double the amount of frosting you actually need but whenever I have cut the recipe in half the frosting does not whip.

1) Place a stainless metal bowl and the whisk attachment of your mixer into the freezer.  Let it stay there for at least 30 minutes.

2)  Get all your ingredients ready.  When you pull the bowl and whisk attachment out you want to GO!

3)  In a medium bowl place the heavy cream and dutch-processed chocolate and whisk lightly.  Set aside.

4)  In your freezing cold mixing bowl place the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and almond extract and mix at a medium-high level until combined.  Stop and scrape the bowl.  Repeat if necessary.

5)  Bring the level of the mixer to it’s fastest and pour the heavy cream/cocoa mixture in slowly (about 30 seconds).  Continue to whip until it’ stiff but not separated.  It will look like whip cream.

6)  Mound a good amount on the top of each cupcake.


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Here’s a few other spots we are sharing this stupendous chocolate cupcake recipe:

Hearth and Soul


  1. Posted May 16, 2012 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM Chocolate cupcakes! Looks so  yummy! When I make vegan chocolate cupcakes, I use vinegar so I thought vinegar in chocolate cake = vegan. But now I want to try this version and see how it’ll turn out! And the frosting sounds so good. Thanks for the food porn. And I’m sorry Juliette is moving ;( But now you have a place to stay in Australia!

    • Posted May 16, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

      Let me know how they turn out!  
      I’m trying to think of ways to convince Mike why I must go to Australia.  Juliette is promising us that there is really good beach front property where we can farm and live out my social democracy dream…the kids are not buying it!

      • Posted May 17, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

        Hahaha I heard Australia is a good place to retire for Japanese people. So I assume they do a lot of gardening there…Wait. Those are older generations. My father’s generation play golf! So I dont’ know about farm, either. I’ll ask my father who visited his friends there if he thought of living there or not. He is also a DIY mini-farmer for over 30 years in Tokyo but I’m not sure if he has the same social democracy dream or not.. I just remember he told me Australians eat too much red meat… Oh, I missed the “beach front property” part! I think you should go!

    • Posted May 17, 2012 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      Usually vinegar is used to activate baking soda.  Baking powder is self activating so it doesn’t need it.

      • Posted May 17, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

        When I made baking soda + vinegar vegan chocolate cake, I thought “wow this is what ‘baking is science’ means!” just because I used vinegar.  But I didn’t think in  “oh, vinegar activates baking soda” way. So now I know what “baking is science” really means! haha

  2. The Joy of Caking
    Posted May 17, 2012 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Looks like some rockin’ ingredients in those cupcakes!  I never met a cupcake I didn’t like – lol…

  3. Posted May 17, 2012 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    hahaha!! I agree with Mike, I will eat any type of crappy cake at all! Your recipe looks delicious though. I never would have thought to add bread flour. Thanks so much for sharing with Hearth and Soul!

2 Trackbacks

  1. […] Because no Good Eats section would be complete with out a tried-and-true recipe from Mike and Molly, here’s THE Chocolate Cupcake of Chocolate Cupcakes. […]

  2. […]  AND the last time I made them I added something that made them even better!  Remember the chocolate cupcakes that had the rich drop of ganache in the center?  Well now I’m doing something similar with […]

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