Rich Moist Chocolate Cupcake Recipe

Moist Chocolate Cupcakes

Moist Chocolate CupcakesThere are a million chocolate cupcake recipes out there.  The problem is, Which one produces a truly rich, moist chocolate cupcake?  I can tell you that this recipe has been analyzed and adjusted using the classic Bakewise text by Shirley O. Corriher.  It’s properly balanced between fat and sugar to give you the perfect, moist cupcake without being oily or overly sweet.  And the chocolate flavor is maximized with the use of unsweetened baking chocolate.

Baking ChocolateBaking with chocolate is always an extra challenge.  First – good quality chocolate is expensive!  There are already enough variables in baking to confuse anyone, and then you throw in a complex ingredient like chocolate and a recipe that normally works fine suddenly goes to hell.  Further, when you’re baking at high altitude, you also have to be careful with your leavening – the amounts and the actual agent used.  But if you follow these recipes (for regular and high-altitude), you’ll produce a truly moist and flavorful chocolate cupcake that will be the hit of any party.

Whenever I go to the store, I always take a wander down the baking aisle just to see if there’s anything marked down.  I find that baking chocolate goes through a lot of markdown periods, and that’s when I stock up.  For a recipe like this, where the chocolate is truly the star, I splurge on a truly high-quality chocolate like Guittard, Callebaut, or Valrhona.


This recipe goes the Devil’s food route with the addition of instant coffee.  You may want to adjust the amount a bit, depending on your fondness for coffee, and the strength of your granules.  I used an individual packet of Starbuck’s Via French Roast – about 1 1/2 tsp – and that was plenty.  If you’re using a lighter roast, you may need a bit more.

Baking Soda v. Baking Powder.  Again, the basic recipe goes toward Devil’s food by calling for baking soda rather than baking powder as the leavening agent.  That’s fine at regular altitudes, but the higher you get, the harder it is to work with baking soda.  I subbed out baking powder for the soda in my high-altitude version.  The cake doesn’t bake up quite as dark as you get with soda, but you get a perfectly-domed cupcake in return!

Here’s the regular-altitude version:

Rich Moist Chocolate Cupcakes (Altitude Below 3000 ft)

Rich with chocolate flavor, but moist without being oily or overly-sweet, these kitchen-tested chocolate cupcakes will please everyone.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Cakes, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Rich Moist Chocolate Cupcakes
Servings: 2 dozen
Calories: 425kcal
Author: Don Herman

Ingredients

  • 6 oz Unsweetened Chocolate chopped
  • 2 cups All-purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp Instant Coffee Starbuck's Via packet
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 cup Butter unsalted and softened
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 cup Light Brown Sugar packed
  • 4 lg Eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 cup Buttermilk

Instructions

  • Melt the chopped chocolate in a microwave using 2 or 3 20-second bursts, stirring after each. Let cool.
  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Line two muffin tins with paper cupcake liners.
  • In a large bowl (not the mixing bowl), whisk together the flour, instant coffee, baking soda and salt.
  • In the mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy - 3 to 5 minutes. Scrape the sides. Add eggs, one at a time and beat well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and melted, warm chocolate.
  • Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and alternate with the buttermilk in 3 additions.
  • Scoop the thick batter into the liners a good 3/4 full (they won't overtop the liners that much).
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.

And here’s the high-altitude version (above 5000 ft.)

Rich Moist Chocolate Cupcakes (High-Altitude Version)

Rich with chocolate flavor, but moist without being oily or overly-sweet, these kitchen-tested chocolate cupcakes will please everyone.

Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Cakes, Cupcakes
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Rich Moist Chocolate Cupcakes High Altitude
Servings: 2 dozen
Calories: 425kcal
Author: Don Herman

Ingredients

  • 6 oz Unsweetened Chocolate chopped
  • 2 cups PLUS 2 Tablespoons All Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp Instant Coffee Granules
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 cup Butter unsalted
  • 1 cup LESS 1 Tablespoon Sugar
  • 1 cup LESS 1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar packed
  • 5 lg Eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 cup Buttermilk

Instructions

  • Melt the chopped chocolate in a microwave using 2 or 3 20-second bursts, stirring after each. Let cool.
  • Preheat oven to 375 F. Line two muffin tins with paper cupcake liners.
  • In a large bowl (not the mixing bowl), whisk together the flour, instant coffee, baking soda and salt.
  • In the mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy - 3 to 5 minutes. Scrape the sides. Add eggs, one at a time and beat well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and melted, warm chocolate.
  • Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and alternate with the buttermilk in 3 additions.
  • Scoop the thick batter into the liners a good 3/4 full (they won't overtop the liners that much).
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.

Frosting your cupcakes.  I had a recipe that called for a chocolate ganache frosting, but frankly, I like my old chocolate cream cheese frosting better.  It’s much easier to work with, and is far less fussy.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

A simple, very chocolate-y frosting for cakes and cupcakes
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Course: Dessert, Frosting, Icing
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
Servings: 2 dozen
Author: Don Herman

Ingredients

  • 4 oz Unsweetened Chocolate
  • 8 oz Cream Cheese softened
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 2 tbsp Cream or milk
  • 4 cups Powdered Sugar

Instructions

  • Have all ingredients at room temperature. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or microwave oven.
  • In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Pour melted chocolate into cream cheese and mix on medium speed until well blended. Add vanilla and pinch of salt. Slowly mix in the confectioners sugar.
  • Scrape the sides of the bowl and increase mixer speed to medium-high. Slowly add cream or milk until the frosting is spreading consistency.



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