Soft and fluffy Chocolate Cupcakes topped with a 2-ingredient chocolate ganache frosting are super simple to make. This recipe yields the moistest and tastiest chocolate cupcakes you will ever need in your life!
If I have to choose just one dessert to eat for life, I would most definitely pick chocolate cake. But you might be surprised to hear that I swore off chocolate for a few years after consuming a whole box of See’s candies in one day. I was young and made some bad choices at the time.
I’ve recovered since and learnt to exercise self-control, made easier by these perfectly portioned chocolate ganache cupcakes. These cupcakes are super chocolaty and decadent, especially when you double up on chocolate in both the cake and the ganache frosting. They’re seriously a chocolate lover’s dream!
How to make Chocolate Cupcakes
Making chocolate cupcakes with coffee
Cocoa powder is a must when making chocolate cupcakes, but did you know coffee is the baker’s ultimate secret to enhance chocolate flavor? Your cake won’t taste like coffee, but the coffee will intensify the cake’s chocolate flavor.
Simply brew some coffee before making the cake batter and let it cool to room temperature, for about 15 minutes to half an hour. You can also use instant coffee or instant espresso if that’s what you have. Prepare it per the packaging’s direction.
Do I have to use coffee?
Using coffee will enhance the chocolate flavor of these cupcakes, if you don’t want to use coffee, simply replace it with water, milk or more buttermilk. But the flavor will be less chocolaty than intended.
You could also use this basic chocolate cupcakes recipe, developed without coffee in the ingredient list and more cocoa powder to keep the chocolate flavor integrity.
Easy chocolate cupcake batter
Okay, enough about coffee, let’s get on with making our easy chocolate cupcakes recipe. First up, we’ll whip up the batter in just a few simple steps.
- Add all the wet ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. This includes coffee, buttermilk, egg, oil and vanilla.
- Using a hand whisk, beat until combined. You can use an electric mixer or a stand mixer but it is not necessary.
- In another bowl, sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder together. Then stir in sugar and salt until well distributed. Add the flour mixture into the liquid mixture.
- Whisk until a smooth batter forms.
- Use a large cookie scoop to divide the cake batter evenly into 12 lined muffin cups.
- Bake at 350°F until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Chocolate ganache frosting
This chocolate ganache frosting is extremely extremely simple, made with just two ingredients: chocolate and cream! I used Ghirardelli dark chocolate melting wafers for this recipe. You can use your preferred brand, or your favorite chocolate bar, chopped into small pieces.
- Put chocolate in a mixing bowl and pour hot cream over it.
- Let it rest for 1 – 2 minutes before stirring until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth.
- Now just let it cool down and thicken until you can pipe it, about 2 – 3 hours. Or speed it up by refrigerating it.
When the cupcakes are completely cool and the ganache is pipeable, fill a pastry bag fitted with your favorite piping tip and pipe swirls on top of the cupcakes. I used my favorite open star tip (1M) to decorate these double chocolate cupcakes.
- You can use either type of cocoa powder in this recipe: natural or dutch-process cocoa powder. I prefer dutch-processed because it will create a darker color.
- Any flavorless oil will work in this recipe: canola oil or vegetable oil. But in a pinch you can use olive oil or even coconut oil. I used coconut oil in these chocolate muffins and the coconut oil flavor wasn’t too noticeable.
- If you don’t want to pipe the frosting, you can simply add it on top of the cupcakes using a small offset spatula or a butter knife.
- If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, check out how to make homemade buttermilk.
Can I use a different chocolate frosting?
I really love this easy ganache frosting, just 2 ingredients, you really can’t beat that. Plus, it’s super chocolaty and decadent. But if you prefer buttercream frosting, you can try the chocolate version of these:
Storing leftover chocolate ganache cupcakes
Since the frosting is made with cream, it is best to store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They will last for up to a week, and will stay moist and delicious for days.
The cupcakes can be made a few days ahead and stored at room temperature for 3 – 5 days without the frosting. They can even be kept frozen for up to 6 months, be sure to wrap them well. Simply thaw them at room temperature and add the frosting when you plan to serve.
If you want to make both the cake and the frosting ahead of time, they will need to be kept refrigerated, and will last for up to a week. They can also be frozen for up to three months. Thaw at room temperature before serving.
Keep in mind that when storing cupcakes, you’ll need to be mindful not to crush the frosting, especially if they need to look pretty for a party. If this is the case, it is best to add frosting the day of and just make the cake part ahead of time.
When freezing cupcakes with frosting, I suggest you freeze them on a baking tray first until solid, then wrap them well in plastic and place them in a freeze bag or wrap again in foil.
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment, send me a photo, rate it and don’t forget to tag me @wildwildwhisk on Instagram. I’d love to see what’s cooking up in your kitchen. Cheers!
Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (144 g)
- 6 tablespoon cocoa powder (natural or dutch-processed, 42 g)
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup granulated sugar (199 g)
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup coffee (cooled, 113 g)
- ½ cup buttermilk (115 g)
- ¼ cup vegetable oil (50 g)
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 12 oz heavy whipping cream (1 ½ cup)
- 12 oz dark chocolate melting wafers (2 cup, or your preferred chocolate)
Make the cupcakes
- Brew the coffee and let cool to room temperature.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Line a 12 cup standard size muffin pan with cupcake paper and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together cooled coffee, buttermilk, oil, egg and vanilla until thoroughly combined.
- Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder in another bowl, add salt and sugar and whisk until evenly distributed. Add the flour mixture into the wet ingredient mixture and stir until a smooth batter forms.
- Divide batter evenly into 12 muffin cups using a large cookie scoop and bake for 17 - 19 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cupcakes comes out clean with just a few crumbs attached.
- Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for 10 - 15 minutes until cool to the touch before removing them from the pan and setting them on a wire rack to cool completely.
Make the ganache
- Make the chocolate ganache while the cupcakes are baking. Microwave the cream in a heat proof vessel for 90 seconds, watching it during the last few seconds to ensure it doesn’t boil over. You could also heat the milk in a saucepan over medium heat until simmering but not boiling.
- Add the chocolate in a mixing bowl and pour the hot cream over it. Allow the mixture to stand for a minute or two before whisking or stirring until the chocolate melts completely and the mixture is smooth. Let the ganache cool completely and thicken enough to pipe as a frosting, about 2 - 3 hours.
- Transfer the ganache to a piping bag fitted with your favorite tip and pipe a swirl on top of the cupcakes or simply add ganache on top with a spatula or butter knife. Keep refrigerated.
- Once the ganache is cool to room temperature, you can refrigerate it to speed up the thickening process if desired.
- You can also whip the cold chocolate ganache until light and fluffy for a fluffier chocolate frosting.
- Instant coffee or instant espresso can be used instead of freshly brewed coffee. Make the instant coffee per directions on the packaging and let cool before using.
This post was originally published on 4/28/2015. The recipe has been updated and republished on 7/31/2020 with the latest improvements, extra tips, and process photos to help you in the kitchen.