This is the ultimate chocolate cupcake recipe as it's so versatile you can make it gluten free, dairy free or even vegan. I've decorated mine with delicious vanilla buttercream frosting for a great creamy flavour combination.
This is my favourite chocolate cupcake recipe. It makes delicious, fluffy cupcakes.
I had recently bought an egg alternative so I thought I'd give it a try with this recipe. It worked like a dream! But you can use real eggs if that's what you have. I also used a dairy free baking spread and Plant Based Black Butter for the buttercream which made the whole recipe Vegan. Adding a touch of coffee to the recipe bought out the rich chocolate flavour and added moisture to these delicious cakes.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe.
I like to make cupcakes with specific cupcake recipes. Sure, you can often make large cake recipes into cupcakes, but specific recipes, designed just for cupcakes are usually deliciously moist and extra light.
This chocolate cupcake recipe is very versatile and can be make gluten free, dairy free or even vegan with no real effort at all.
This recipe makes super moist chocolate cupcakes. I used a delicious vanilla frosting as a contrast to decorate these cupcakes. However you can use any flavour frosting that suits the occasion. Chocolate Buttercream Frosting would be perfect for any chocolate lover. These can also be decorated with cream cheese frosting, or even a swiss meringue frosting for a special occasion.
I used a dairy free baking spread, however butter will work just as well.
I used a light brown sugar as it gives a more caramel flavour to the cake. You can use white sugar but it won’t have the same depth of flavour.
Flour and Raising Agent
Use a plain or all-purpose flour with added baking powder for best results. You can use gluten free with added xanthan gum.
Use crushed rock salt or kosher salt. Salt will help to bring out the rich chocolate flavour.
I used an egg alternative called ‘Crakd’ Egg Replacer. Using this made the recipe vegan. However if you don’t need to use an egg alternative use 1 egg.
I made strong coffee by using 2 tspn of instant espresso powder in boiling hot water. You can also use 3 to 4 teaspoons of instant coffee granules dissolved in boiling water. I then allowed it to cool to room temperature before adding to my recipe.
The chocolate flavour in this recipe comes from cocoa. I used a regular supermarket unsweetened cocoa powder.
Vanilla Frosting Ingredients/Substitutes
Always use a block butter in frosting as it has a higher fat to moisture ratio. This will make sure the frosting doesn’t go sloppy
Use a regular icing or powdered sugar in this recipe. If your icing sugar uses maize as an anti-caking agent it may appear lumpy. Sieve it if this is the case.
A couple of spoons of vanilla extract or paste will give the best flavour.
Technique for making Chocolate Cupcakes
For best and consistent results I recommend you weigh your ingredients using a kitchen scale.
This recipe adds the liquid to the mixture last. You mix all the dry ingredients and the butter together to get a fine breadcrumb texture, before adding the egg and wet ingredients. By doing this you are coating the gluten in the flour with fat, helping it to not develop too much and keep light and fluffy.
In a large bowl start by creaming together the butter/baking spread and sugar with an electric whisk. You can also do this in a stand mixer using a paddle attachment.
Add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix to a fine breadcrumb texture.
Add the egg and coffee and mix well, before adding the cocoa and mixing to a thick but runny cake batter. Don’t add hot coffee, as it’ll start to melt the butter and the mixture may split the cake batter. Make sure it’s cooled to room temperature.
Using an ice-cream scoop or cookie scoop, divide batter between 8 cupcake cases or cupcake liners placed in a cupcake tin.
Bake at 150c fan, 170c, 325f, GM3 for 20 minutes. I usually turn my cupcake tray after 15 minutes to ensure an even bake.
Remove from the oven and immediately remove the cakes from the cupcake tins. This will stop the cases from peeling away from the cakes.
To make the vanilla frosting, beat the butter in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment for 5 minutes on medium-high speed, until it is light and fluffy.
Add the vanilla extract or paste and the icing/powdered sugar. Beat on medium speed for 10 to 15 minutes. Add a dribble of boiling water if the weather is cold and the butter is stiff.
Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes when cool and decorate with some sprinkles.
Chocolate Cupcakes FAQs
Yes, you can substitute the flour for gluten free flour, and the butter/baking spread for dairy free with no detriment to the recipe. I even substituted the egg for an egg replacement.
These can be stored in an airtight container and will last for up to 5 days. However, be aware the cupcake cases/liners may peel from the cases.
You can freeze the unfrosted cupcakes for up to 3 months. Wrap individually in cling film/plastic wrap and foil to stop them drying out in the freezer.
I wouldn’t recommend you store the cupcake batter as the raising agent will start to work as soon as the moisture hits it. I would always make fresh cake batter.
Yes, if you don’t want to add the coffee you can use milk or a milk alternative instead.
No, this cake is too delicate to use for a larger chocolate cake recipe. It is designed to be made as cupcakes.
Yes, in the cupcake recipe you can substitute the butter/baking spread for an oil. I would recommend a vegetable oil, rapeseed oil or canola oil.
Other Recipes you may enjoy
Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
- 1 12 hole cupcake pan
- 8 Cupcake cases or liners
- 1 Large Mixing Bowl
- 1 Electric Whisk or Stand Mixer
- 2 tspn Instant Espresso Coffee Powder or 3-4 tspn Instant Coffee Granules
- 120 ml Boiling Water
- 40 gms Butter or Baking Spread Dairy Free Baking Spread will work fine
- 120 gms Light Brown Sugar
- 100 gms Plain or All Purpose Flour Gluten Free will be fine
- 1.5 tspn Baking Powder
- 1 Egg or 60gms Egg Replacement
- 20 gms Unsweetened Cocoa
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
- 150 gms Block Butter or Plant Free Block Butter
- 300 gms Icing or Powdered Sugar
- 2 tspn Vanilla Extract or Paste
- Preheat your oven to 150c fan, 170c, 325f, GM3
- Line a cupcake pan with 8 cases
- Mix the instant coffee and water and allow to cool
- In a bowl cream together the butter/baking spread and light brown sugar until light and fluffy
- Add the flour and baking powder and mix until it resembles fine breadcrumbs
- Add the egg (or egg replacement) and coffee mixture and mix until a smooth batter
- Add the cocoa and mix until combined
- Divide the batter between the cupcake cases and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a skewer placed in the centre comes out clean
- Remove from the oven and immediately remove from the tin and allow to cool on a wire rack
- In a stand mixer, on medium speed, beat the butter until light and fluffy
- Add the icing/powdered sugar and vanilla and continue to mix for 10 minutes
- If your butter is too stiff add a dribble of boiling water and continue to mix
- Transfer to a piping bag with a star nozzle fitted and pipe buttercream onto the cooled cupcakes
- Add sprinkles to decorate