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.
KarenApril 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.
MariaApril 14, 2010
The frosting looks so smooth and creamy! YUM!
Steph (Desserts for Breakfast)April 14, 2010
oh my! that frosting looks so yummy and lickable! 🙂
thanks also for the shout out in your previous post!
SarahApril 14, 2010
Those look delicious! Yummy!
Kitchen CornerApril 14, 2010
I like the frosting, it does looks shinny and yummy!
NicoleApril 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!
LucieApril 14, 2010
Sour cream chocolate cupcakes are my go-to cupcake recipe–I love the moist results!
Heavenly HousewifeApril 15, 2010
These look so lovely. They are iced to perfection. Beauties.
Sweets By VickyApril 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 PApril 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?)
AnnaApril 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.
daniApril 15, 2010
now wheres the milk? :p
Mackenzie@The Caramel CookieApril 15, 2010
WOW, that frosting is mouth watering….
MpsApril 15, 2010
That REALLY looks good! we’re all drooling over here.
Patricia ScarpinApril 15, 2010
Nic, these are luscious! What a wonderful way of using milk chocolate.
AshleyApril 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!
chinaApril 21, 2010
Looking at the photo, i want to taste it.
HeatherTApril 26, 2010
Yum! Thanks for making me hungry! http://slocooking.blogspot.com/2010/04/make-me-hungry-awards.html
herschelMay 26, 2010
i made this frosting last night, and piled it on a banana bundt cake. it was excellent.
thank you, nicole!
myrnaNovember 10, 2010
got to try these they look sooo good
Ho WiDecember 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!
VonJanuary 21, 2011
I baked these and my clients LOVED them! They were super moist. Thanks again
grubApril 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 x3bakingApril 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.
LilyJuly 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.
CaseyJanuary 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 britMarch 5, 2012
These are the best chocolate cupcakes I have ever made! They are about to be featured on my blog… Thanks so much!
BMay 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! 🙂
NicoleMay 17, 2012
B – You can use water instead of coffee (since coffee is just flavored water) and get great results with this recipe!