Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream

Simple and easy chocolate cupcakes with soft buttercream frosting.

I Love Chocolate! I have said this many times before and will say it again and again, chocolate is my life. As luck would have it, I have two daughters who love chocolate too. I ask them “What dessert should we make this weekend?” and they always yell “Chocolate cupcakes” 😁. Ideally, they love it with chocolate frosting but this time, I wanted to make them pretty, like beautiful flowers, so I made plain and simple Vanilla Buttercream frosting to go with it. You cant go wrong with chocolate cupcakes that are paired with simple buttercream frosting with hints of vanilla.

Chocolate cupcakes with teal, pink and purple flowered frosting.

Aren’t they pretty? The chocolate cake recipe I use for this cupcakes are the most easiest, softest and spongiest ever. I hate doing dishes, Period. So I make cakes and cupcakes so easy that they can be put together in one bowl. The buttercream is the standard American Buttercream that is widely popular and very simple to put together as well. The designs are very easy to make, I have noted down the process to make the designs below, they are very doable.

These cupcakes can be paired with Cream cheese frosting as well, I feel the chocolate goes really well with the tanginess of the cream cheese frosting. The recipe for cream cheese frosting can be found here: https://blissfulbitesbytay.com/pumpkin-cupcakes-with-cream-cheese-frosting/

Which Ingredients are we using to make these chocolate cupcakes and vanilla buttercream?

Its very important to pick the right kind of ingredients to get good results.

  • Cocoa powder: The first ingredient would be the cocoa powder. I used to use the regular cocoa powder before, but ever since I started using Navitas Organic cacao powder, I always got the most decadent chocolate cakes ever. The difference between cocoa and cacao powder is nothing but the Cacao is raw and not processed as compared to cocoa powder. This cacao powder is raw, organic and non-GMO. It has a velvety texture and a deep flavor that enhances the taste to a different level. However, if this is not available, you can use cocoa powder without a problem.
  • Butter: The butter used for frosting should be a unsalted butter and at room temperature. Room temperature varies for everybody, so let the butter sit over the counter until it is soft to touch.
  • Oil: Using oil makes the cupcakes super moist and soft. I like to use a flavorless oil like canola oil or avocado oil. Avocado oil is healthier and that will be the most common oil I reach out for.
  • Food colors: I like using Wilton Gel food colors to add colors to my frosting. Liquid colors make the frosting runny, gel colors are bright and will work great. But remember to add only a little at a time, a little goes a long way with gel colors.
Chocolate cupcakes with teal, pink and purple flowered frosting.

The process to make the cupcakes and the equipment used:

As I said earlier, these cupcakes are so easy to put together. Here are the steps:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and boil a pot of water .
  • In a bowl or a huge measuring jug, mix all the dry ingredients together till they are no lumps. That is, mix flour, sugar, cacao powder, salt, baking soda and baking powder.
  • Add Egg to the flour mixture and mix once.
  • Add milk, oil, Vanilla extract and mix. The batter will be little thick at this point.
  • Add hot water at this point but make sure you keep whisking as you add. If we don’t, the eggs will get cooked. The batter will be a little runny at this point and that is exactly what we want.
  • Line the muffin pan  with cupcake liner and With a ice cream scoop with a trigger release, fill the muffin cups with one scoop of batter. I like to use to ice cream scoop so that all my cupcakes are equal size. You can use a regular ladle and fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full..
  • Bake for 15-18 min or until the toothpick inserted comes out clean. Every oven is different, so keep checking from 12 minutes. Do not open the oven door for the first 10 minutes or the cupcake will not rise.
  • Transfer to wire rack and let the cupcakes cool.
process to make the chocolate cupcakes

How to make the smoothest Vanilla buttercream frosting?

  • The trick to get a smooth frosting is to have the key ingredients at room temperature. Room temperature varies for everybody, so let the butter sit over the counter until it is soft to touch.
  • Sifting the powdered sugar is so beneficial and is a must in my opinion. Sifting makes sure there are no lumps in your frosting and it is smooth and pipeable. Also makes the frosting light and airy. Using a sifter, make sure you sift the powdered or confectioners sugar at least once.
  • Once you add the powdered sugar, its important not to overmix the frosting. Beat the butter mixture only for 30 seconds at a time.
To make the Frosting:

I use a simple hand mixer to make my frosting.

  • Sift your powdered sugar onto a parchment paper using this sifter, so that its easy to lift and pour while creaming your butter.
  • With a hand mixer, Cream the softened butter till its soft and fluffy and almost pale in color. This takes about 5-7 minutes.
  • Add vanilla extract, a pinch of salt, and 1 cup of sifted powdered sugar and beat the mixture for 30 seconds. Salt brings out the natural sweetness of ingredients, trust me and add a pinch.
  • Add the remaining sugar, one cup at a time and beat the frosting in 30 second intervals until the sugar is incorporated and the frosting has soft peaks. This shouldn’t take long as we already creamed our butter well enough. DO NOT beat the frosting for too long.
  • Separate the buttercream and Mix in any colors you want at this point.
process to make buttercream frosting.

How to make the flowers?

So I used only 2 types of piping tips in the pics above. The big flower is made using a 2D tip and the small star kinda blobs are made using a 4B open star tip. I tried showing in the pictures below, they are a little blurry but I hope they get the point across. The amazon link to those two tips is here: https://amzn.to/35smeDM

process to pipe the flowers.

And this is called a coupler, you need to put the bottom part inside the piping bag and put the piping tip on the outside and screw the top part on the piping tip. This is very useful if you need to use the same tip for different colored frosting or use different tips for the same frosting like I did above. I used the same flower tip for all teal, pink and purple colors, I use a clean piping bag for the coupler part and put different colored frostings in three separate piping bags and just change the outer piping bag.

A coupler used to change the frosting tips.

I have very few Wilton tips but I have another amazing and cheap set from Amazon which has all the piping tips you can imagine, as well as the turn table, angled spatulas and cake scrappers. Do try to get this set if you want to experiment with decorating the cupcakes, its not rocket science, its very easy to do them. The amazon link to that set is: https://amzn.to/38FEcou I have always made cupcakes but I have recently started to make cakes and I am practicing as I go, this is a sample of the cake I made. I know I know its not perfect, I am still learning and hope to get better at it soon!

A Rosette cake in purple and teal colors.

Tips and tricks to follow:

So Baking has a few important rules to follow to get the best results.

  1. Always bring your eggs, diary(milk, butter, buttermilk, etc.) to room temperature before baking. Room temperature varies for everybody, so let the butter sit over the counter until it is soft to touch.
  2. Always use measuring cups or a food scale, do not eyeball it.
  3. Do not overmix the batter. This will knock out the air and give you a dense cake.
  4. Always preheat your oven before starting the process and do not let your cake batter sitting long on your counter.
  5. Do not place the cake pan closer to your heat source, middle shelf is the best spot.
  6. And do not open the oven door in the first 10-15 minutes of baking.
  7. Each oven is different, so check the cake when you are closer to the time mentioned in the recipe. If the toothpick inserted is not clean, bake for a few more minutes.
  8. Sifting the powdered sugar is so beneficial and is a must in my opinion. Sifting makes sure there are no lumps in your frosting and it is smooth and pipeable. Also makes the frosting light and airy. Using a sifter, make sure you sift the powdered or confectioners sugar at least once.
  9. I like using Wilton Gel food colors for making colored frosting. Liquid colors make the frosting runny, gel colors are bright and will work great. But remember to add only a little at a time, a little goes a long way with gel colors.

How to store the cupcakes with and without frosting?

The cupcakes without the frosting can be stored at room temperate for up to 2 days. If you are using it for later, I recommend saving them in a refrigerator. I don’t recommend freezing them, they turn dry when thawed from being frozen.

You can make the frosting ahead and store in the refrigerator for at least a week and can be frozen for up to 3 months. If you are freezing your frosting, make sure to thaw it overnight in refrigerator, bring it to room temperature and then whip it once, before you use for frosting your cupcakes. I usually have leftover frosting in my freezer. Refrigerated frosting needs to come to room temperature before frosting the cupcakes.

Once you frost your cupcakes, buttercream can stand room temperature heat, so its okay to leave at room temperature until you are ready to serve. If you are using the frosted cupcakes for later, I recommend saving them in refrigerator and getting them to room temperature at least an hour before serving.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream

Recipe by Blissful Bites by TayCourse: DessertsCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy
Servings

18

servings
Prep time

30

minutes
Cooking time

20

minutes
Total time

50

minutes

Simple and easy chocolate cupcakes with sweet vanilla buttercream frosting.

Ingredients

Method

  • Making the cupcakes:
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a muffin pan with cupcake liners. Boil a pot of water.
  • In a bowl or a huge measuring jug, mix all the dry ingredients together till they are no lumps. That is, mix flour, sugar, cacao powder, salt, baking soda and baking powder.
  • Add Egg to the flour mixture and mix once. Add milk, oil, Vanilla extract and mix. The batter will be little thick, Add hot water at this point but make sure you keep whisking as you add.
  • With a ice cream scoop with a trigger release, fill the muffin cups with one scoop of batter or 2/3 full.
  • Bake for 15-18 min or until the toothpick inserted comes out clean. Every oven is different, so keep checking from 12 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and let the cupcakes cool.
  • Making the Frosting:
  • Sift your powdered sugar onto a parchment paper using this sifter, so that its easy to lift and pour while creaming your butter.
  • With a hand mixer, Cream the softened butter till its soft and fluffy and almost pale in color. This takes about 5-7 minutes.
  • Add vanilla extract, a pinch of salt, and 1 cup of sifted powdered sugar and beat the mixture for 30 seconds.
  • Add the remaining sugar, one cup at a time and beat the frosting in 30 second intervals until the sugar is incorporated and the frosting has soft peaks. This shouldn’t take long as we already creamed our butter well enough. DO NOT beat the frosting for too long.
  • Separate the buttercream and Mix in any colors you want at this point.

Notes

  • Each oven is different, the baking temperatures might vary depending on the oven.
  • Please refer above and follow the links for the exact equipment I used and for any questions you might have about the piping tips, etc.

Other cupcake recipes on my blog:

Please let me know in the comments if you try this recipe, I would love to hear from you! Also, let me know if you have any questions here or on any of my social media accounts.

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