Double Chocolate Cupcakes

Double Chocolate Cupcakes with White Chocolate Buttercream

A rich, moist chocolate cupcake made with dark chocolate and cocoa powder. In regular and high-altitude versions.

Dwaine was talking with a neighbor who mentioned that she was craving some chocolate cupcakes. As luck would have it, Dwaine had managed to snag a bagful of baking chocolate bars at the store in the markdown bin! So I needed to do some research on cupcakes made with baking bars, rather than cocoa.

Baking With Chocolate – Tips and Tricks

Introducing chocolate into your baking is not as simple as dropping a few pieces of baking chocolate into a batter. Chocolate makes a big impact on how your baked goods turn out, and if you don’t account for it, you’ll face a lot of headaches.

Not All Cocoa Powder Is The Same

When you’re shopping for cocoa powder, you’ve probably noticed the different labels, “Natural” cocoa v. “Dutch Process” cocoa. Both are cocoa, but one process leaves the cocoa in its natural acidic state, where the Dutch process makes it alkaline. Alkaline cocoa is much darker and will make your baked goods dark reddish brown to a solid black.

Both cocoa versions are great, but I tend to stick with natural cocoa, as the alkaline Dutch process cocoa can impact whether your cake sets properly. Acidic batter causes proteins to set more quickly and your cakes have less of a tendency to stay “goopy.” It just makes life easier, particularly here at 5,280 feet.


Natural Cocoa Powder – 1 Cup Bag | Savory …

Cocoa powder comes from beans that grow in pods on the Theobroma cacao tree. Native to many South American countries, these trees now grow all around the world including Africa, Southeast Asia and Hawaii. Natural cocoa has a strong, bittersweet flavor that is great for baking with a fat content of 22-24%. Use 3 tbsp. to replace a 1 ounce square of unsweetened chocolate. We also carry a Dutch cocoa and a Black Onyx Dutch cocoa.[More]

Price: $5.90

Using Baking Chocolate Bars

Then there are baking chocolate bars. Not long ago, home bakers had far fewer choices in baking chocolate. Now, however, the sky is the limit, with everything from 90% cacao vegan chocolate to sweet, milky Cadbury bars.

When using baking chocolate, you first must melt the chocolate before using it in the recipe. I do this by chopping the chocolate into fine bits, and microwaving it in 20-second blasts, stirring after each heating. If possible, melting the chocolate with your liquid ingredients will prevent it from seizing (a real risk if you zap it all alone in the microwave). This recipe, for example, directs you to microwave the chocolate with the butter. This is particularly important with this recipe, as adding the melted chocolate to your batter will cause it to solidify very quickly, giving you a chunky, clunky batter.

Substituting Cocoa for Chocolate Bars

You can interchange cocoa with baking chocolate. If the original recipe is calling for the old standard Unsweetened Baker’s Baking Chocolate, the exchange is 3 tablespoons of cocoa and 1 tablespoon of fat (butter or oil) for each 1 oz. square of baking chocolate.

Homemade chocolate cakes can wind up dry if you don’t pack the batter full of liquid, either as water, milk or eggs. Cocoa, particularly, can be very drying to a cake. If you compare, you’ll see that chocolate cake recipes always have a lot more liquid in them than a typical white or yellow cake.


The Best Baking Book on the Planet: Bakewise by Shirley O. Corriher. Now available at Alibris

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Overbaking your cake will drive out that extra liquid, also resulting in a dry cake. This recipe depends upon the finger-test for done-ness, as the toothpick test will often give you a false positive (the pick will come out clean, but the top of the cake is still somewhat soggy batter.)

To perform this test, simply touch the top of your cake while it’s in the oven. If your finger leaves an indention, the cake is not done – give it another minute or two. If the cake springs back and feels firm, it’s done. Check out the video below:

Double-Chocolate Cupcakes
Double Chocolate Cupcakes with White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
Double Chocolate Cupcakes with White Chocolate Buttercream
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Double Chocolate Cupcakes (Under 3,000 Ft.)

Rich, moist chocolate cupcakes made with dark chocolate and cocoa powder.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Double Chocolate Cupcakes
Servings: 24 Cupcakes
Author: Don Herman

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 cup Cocoa Powder Dutch or Regular Process
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 6 oz Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips or Chocolate Bar, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup Butter Room Temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups Sugar
  • 3 lg Eggs
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 1/2 cups Water

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare 24 cupcake liners in muffin tins.
  • In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips or chopped chocolate and butter. Microwave on full power for 20 seconds and stir. Continue this process just until chocolate is melted. Set aside to cool.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine the butter/chocolate mixture and sugar. Beat on medium speed until well-combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating to incorporate after each addition. Add vanilla and blend.
  • Add flour mixture alternating with water in 3 additions. Beat until well-combined.
  • Fill cups 1/2 full (just 1/2 full – they will rise). Bake at 350°F for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a center cupcake springs back when touched. (The toothpick method may result in removing the cupcakes a little too soon.) Remove and cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then remove from tins and cool completely.

Notes

Don’t forget to add the butter to the chocolate before melting.

And here’s the high-altitude version:

Double Chocolate Cupcakes with White Chocolate Buttercream
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Double Chocolate Cupcakes (5,000 – 6,600 Ft)

Rich, moist chocolate cupcakes made with dark chocolate and cocoa powder.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Double Chocolate Cupcakes
Servings: 24 Cupcakes
Author: Don Herman

Ingredients

  • 2 ½ cups PLUS 2 tbsp All Purpose Flour
  • ¼ cup Cocoa Powder Dutch or Regular Process
  • ¼ tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • oz Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips or Chocolate Bar finely chopped
  • ¾ cup Butter Room temperature
  • 1 ¾ cup LESS 1 ¾ tbsp Sugar
  • 4 lg Eggs
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 ½ cups Water

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 365°F. Prepare 24 cupcake liners in muffin tins.
  • In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • In microwave safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips or chopped chocolate and butter. Microwave on full power for 20 seconds and stir. Continue this process just until chocolate is melted. Set aside to cool.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine the butter/chocolate mixture and sugar. Beat on medium speed until well-combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating to incorporate after each addition. Add vanilla and blend.
  • Add flour mixture alternating with water in 3 additions. Beat until well-combined.
  • Fill cups 1/2 full with batter. Bake at 365°F for 20-22 minutes, or until the top of a cupcake springs back when pressed with your finger. Remove and cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then remove to cool completely.

Notes

Don’t forget to add the butter to your chocolate before melting. Failing to do so will cause it to stick to the inside of the bowl upon addition. Not that this has ever happened to me, I just . . . uh . . . heard about it from someone.

Here’s a recipe for White Chocolate Buttercream – goes perfectly with the dark chocolate cupcakes:

Double Chocolate Cupcakes with White Chocolate Buttercream
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

A simple, fluffy buttercream made with white chocolate bars
Prep Time20 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
Servings: 12 Cupcakes
Author: Don Herman

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup White Chocolate Chips or finely chopped bar
  • 1/2 cup Butter room temperature
  • 2 1/4 cups Powdered Sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

Instructions

  • In a microwave-safe dish, melt the chips or chopped bars on high for 20 seconds. Stir to distribute heat. Repeat just until chocolate is melted and smooth – maybe 2 more times. Let cool.
  • Cream butter on medium, then add powedered sugar a cup at a time until blended. Add vanilla. Scrape bowl.
  • Add melted, cooled chocolate and blend. Add cream one tablespoon at a time until frosting reaches desired consistency.
  • For a fluffy, very white frosting, beat on medium-high for another 3 minutes.

If you liked this cake, why not try my Homemade German Chocolate Cake? Moist and full of flavor, you’ll love it.

Questions? Comments? Leave me a note below.

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4 Comments

  1. Avatar

    For the high altitude version, are you still adding the melted chocolate? I didn’t see the ingredients for it on the ingredient list, but you mentioned it in the steps, so I just wanted to make sure either way!

    1. Avatar

      Oops. Yes! Fixing it now. (How did THAT happen? Grrr!)

      1. Avatar

        5 stars


        I live at altitude and I just made these and they turned out PERFECTLY! My family is going to love them. I filled the liners a little too much, but they’re still domed and perfect and did not spread out or sink at all. Next time I will fill half way to make the tops more level with the liners.
        1. Avatar

          Yaaaay! I’m so glad they worked out for you. 🙂

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