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Chocolate Cupcakes with Milk Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting

Chocolate Cupcakes with Milk Chocolate Frosting

While cupcakes can come in any flavor, I think that there are still just two main kinds of cupcakes, judging by the standards that you will see in every bakery, every coffee shop and every market: chocolate with chocolate frosting and vanilla with vanilla frosting. To be honest, I like to mix chocolate and vanilla, but I’ll readily admit that nothing goes better with a big, tall, cold glass of milk than a good chocolate cupcake topped off with chocolate frosting

This is one of my favorite basic chocolate cupcake recipes. These cupcakes use a generous amount of sour cream in them, which makes the cupcakes moist and tender. The tang from the sour cream also seems to ensure that the cupcakes taste chocolaty, without tasting overly sweet. The chocolate flavor comes from a lot of cocoa powder, adding flavor without adding any density, and again not making the cupcakes overly sweet. Adding a little bit of coffee doesn’t add a mocha or coffee flavor to the cake at all, it simply deepens the chocolate notes. This base is perfect for a sweet, chocolaty frosting. In this case, it’s a milk chocolate sour cream frosting that is both smooth and rich. Add the confectioners’ sugar in gradually when you make the frosting so it doesn’t become overly thick and maintains a nice, spreadable consistency.

If you really want to take these over the top, thrown in a big handful of mini chocolate chips. They’re not going to dramatically change these cupcakes for the better, since they’re moist and have a great flavor on their own, but they will still sneak in a little bit of a extra chocolate punch with each bite. You can even sprinkle a few on top of the frosting as a decoration in lieu of regular sprinkles. You might want to have a second glass of milk handy if you take this route or risk chocolate overload!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Milk Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
1 cup coffee, room temperature
(or use water with 1 tbsp inst. coffee dissolved in it)
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, optional

Preheat oven to 350F. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.
In a large bowl, sift together flour and cocoa powder. Whisk in sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
In another large bowl, whisk together vegetable oil, eggs, vanilla extract, sour cream and coffee. Add to dry ingredients and stir until well combined and no streaks of flour remain visible. Stir in mini chocolate chips, if using.
Divide evenly into prepared pans.
Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Cool cupcakes on a wire rack completely before frosting

Makes 24.

Milk Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting
6-oz milk chocolate
4 tbsp butter
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 – 2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Melt together chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes, or until close to room temperature, then stir in the sour cream, salt and vanilla extract. When smooth, blend in (with an electric mixer) about 1 cup confectioners’ sugar. Gradually add in remaining confectioners’ sugar until a smooth, spreadable consistency is reached.

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41 Comments
  • Karen
    April 14, 2010

    These look great. Is there any substitute for either the coffee or instant coffee? I’m just not a fan of coffee and don’t keep any in the house.

  • Maria
    April 14, 2010

    The frosting looks so smooth and creamy! YUM!

  • oh my! that frosting looks so yummy and lickable! 🙂

    thanks also for the shout out in your previous post!

  • Sarah
    April 14, 2010

    Those look delicious! Yummy!

  • Kitchen Corner
    April 14, 2010

    I like the frosting, it does looks shinny and yummy!

  • Nicole
    April 14, 2010

    Karen and Amelia – The coffee doesn’t add any real flavor, just intensifies the cocoa notes of the chocolate cake. You can use water instead, if you don’t want to include any coffee!

  • Lucie
    April 14, 2010

    Sour cream chocolate cupcakes are my go-to cupcake recipe–I love the moist results!

  • Heavenly Housewife
    April 15, 2010

    These look so lovely. They are iced to perfection. Beauties.
    *kisses* HH

  • Sweets By Vicky
    April 15, 2010

    I like how you have all the secrets ways to make this seemingly innocent chocolate cupcake go way over the top on the delicious scale! 🙂

  • Sarah P
    April 15, 2010

    These look awesome, I really am going to have to give them a go (I also reckon American cupcake recipes will be better than Irish ones, but who knows?)

  • Anna
    April 15, 2010

    I’m going to use this frosting on my next yellow cake. The frosting I’ve been using is great, but I do like sour cream.

  • dani
    April 15, 2010

    now wheres the milk? :p

  • WOW, that frosting is mouth watering….

  • Mps
    April 15, 2010

    That REALLY looks good! we’re all drooling over here.

  • Patricia Scarpin
    April 15, 2010

    Nic, these are luscious! What a wonderful way of using milk chocolate.

  • Ashley
    April 20, 2010

    I’d never heard of chocolate sour cream frosting until I tried one out recently and loved it. I’ll have to try this one too!

  • china
    April 21, 2010

    Looking at the photo, i want to taste it.

  • HeatherT
    April 26, 2010

    Yum! Thanks for making me hungry! http://slocooking.blogspot.com/2010/04/make-me-hungry-awards.html

  • herschel
    May 26, 2010

    i made this frosting last night, and piled it on a banana bundt cake. it was excellent.

    thank you, nicole!

  • myrna
    November 10, 2010

    got to try these they look sooo good

  • Ho Wi
    December 4, 2010

    Wonderful. WONDERFUL!!!! I just made these and got done adding the mini chips to the tops, since I figured why the heck not. WONDERFUL icing. Now i’m interested in those maple cupcakes 🙂 Happy holidays!

  • Von
    January 21, 2011

    I baked these and my clients LOVED them! They were super moist. Thanks again

  • grub
    April 14, 2011

    tried these on Wednesday and they were lovely moist and oh so chocolatey! i reduced the sugar in the cupcakes as the icing with the cupcake is perfect 🙂 thanks for the recipe

  • Esther x3baking
    April 29, 2011

    I tried these a while ago and they were really good! thanks for sharing the recipe. My frosting, however, was not as pretty as yours. I think I won’t hand mix it next time.

  • Lily
    July 28, 2011

    Good chocolate cupcake flavor, moist yet dense. Without the frosting it feels lacking but the frosting is what makes these cupcakes yummy. Thank you for your recipe.

  • Casey
    January 30, 2012

    I tried making this before! it was awesome!the cake was moist and just right:). Since I didn’t have sour cream in hand, I decided to go for a salted caramel buttercream icing and a chocolate ganache center instead:)

  • epicurious brit
    March 5, 2012

    These are the best chocolate cupcakes I have ever made! They are about to be featured on my blog… Thanks so much!

  • B
    May 17, 2012

    i was wondering if instead of coffee, i could do 1 cup of milk? this is for a kids bday party so i obviously don’t want to use coffee! 🙂

  • Nicole
    May 17, 2012

    B – You can use water instead of coffee (since coffee is just flavored water) and get great results with this recipe!

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