I made these chocolate cupcakes as a Valentine’s Day treat. They’re very moist and a favorite of ours.
I’ve experimented with numerous recipes for the perfect chocolate cupcake (or cake). There is much debate with using oil vs. butter. What I found is that chocolate cakes made with butter are not as moist, and tend to have a mild chocolate flavor. While I love to bake with butter, there are some cakes that taste better made with oil. In my opinion, these would be chocolate and carrot cakes.
There is a science behind this, but I’ll be brief. Butter gives a lighter and firmer crumb because it contains some water and it develops the gluten in the flour. Oil has no water so it gives a moist and oily texture with larger crumbs.
I posted a recipe last year for Caramel Macchiato Cupcakes which were amazing, and the cupcakes were made with butter, but I find these cupcakes are way easier to make.
Another tip is to use fresh brewed coffee or instant coffee added to boiling water as a liquid ingredient. Coffee adds a real depth of flavor to chocolate.
Adapted from Cooks.com
- 2 cups sugar
- 1¾ cups unbleached flour
- ¾ cup cocoa powder (Dutch-processed preferred)
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- 1½ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup milk (I used whole milk)
- ½ cup vegetable oil (you can use Canola oil)
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup boiling water (I used fresh brewed coffee)
- Pre-heat oven to 350°F
- Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans or line cupcake pans with liners (see below)
- Sift together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large mixing bowl
- Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer for 2 minutes
- Stir in boiling water on low speed (batter will be thin). Be sure to scrape down the bottom of your bowl
- Pour batter into prepared pans
- Bake according to your variation listed below
- Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks
- Cool completely
- ONE-PAN CAKE: Grease and flour 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Heat oven to 350° F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely
- THREE LAYER CAKE: Grease and flour three 8-inch round baking pans. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely
- BUNDT CAKE: Grease and flour 12-cup Bundt pan. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 50 to 55 minutes. Cool 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely
- CUPCAKES: Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups. Heat oven to 350°F. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 18 to 22 minutes. Cool completely
Makes 2 cups
- ½ cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 2/3 cup cocoa (Dutch-processed preferred)
- 3 cups icing sugar
- 1/3 cup milk (I used 5% half and half)
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat and add to a stand mixer
- Add cocoa powder and beat on low speed until combined
- Alternately add icing sugar and milk, starting slowly, then increase speed and beat until light and fluffy
- Add small amount of additional milk, if needed
- Add vanilla extract