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
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.