‘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


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