Triple Chocolate Cupcakes

February 21, 2013


Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate. Yummy, yummy, yummy.

As amazingly decadent and delicious as these cupcakes are, they are no simple feat. But are they worth it? Oh yes. Yes they are.


Let me break down this sweet chocolate goodie for you. It begins with my personal favorite chocolate cupcake recipe. So moist and full of rich chocolate flavor (courtesy of my favorite people over at Cooks Illustrated). On top of this perfect chocolate cupcake are TWO really great chocolate frosting recipes. The first is probably my favorite when I am in search of something thick and fudgy. It comes from Martha Stewart who mentions it as also being a favorite in their test kitchen too. It’s a simple mixture of cocoa powder, boiling water, butter, confectioners’ sugar, and melted semi-sweet chocolate. Once made it is fairly thin in consistency. I always refrigerate it to thicken it up, which is how I suggest spreading it on these cupcakes. The last piece of this recipe is the milk chocolate swiss meringue buttercream. A hefty dollop of this light, fluffy frosting is perfect to top off these cupcakes. The delicate chocolate taste is exactly what is needed to balance out the flavor- the other two components are already so deeply rich in chocolate flavor, another rich frosting would really be overkill.


Fortunately for me these cupcakes were actually a culmination of leftover frosting that I had in the freezer. I really couldn’t bare the thought of throwing out perfectly good frosting… and I couldn’t be more glad that I didn’t- from my leftovers I was able to create one incredibly delicious cupcake!  The milk chocolate swiss meringue buttercream recipe came from the AMAZING Banana Whoopie Pies I made a little while ago and the chocolate frosting was leftover from a really fun chocolate cake that I have yet to share with you. I had the perfect amount of frosting in my freezer for 12 cupcakes, but if you make the full amount of frosting called for in the recipe than you will have more than enough for 2 dozen, if not 3.


And I’m not ashamed to say that I ate two cupcakes a day, every day, until these puppies were gone. They were that good. Just put them in the fridge, well covered, and then take them out and let them come to room temperature (about 2 hours) before you serve them- they keep super well.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Triple Chocolate Cupcakes
Serves: 12
  • For the Chocolate Frosting:
  • ¼ cup plus 1½ tsp unsweetened dutch-process cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup plus 1½ tsp boiling water
  • 1¼ sticks (5 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¼ cup plus 2 Tb confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • pinch of salt
  • 12 ounces quality semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled
  • For the Cupcakes:
  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
  • ⅓ cup (1 ounce) Dutch-processed cocoa
  • ¾ cup hot coffee
  • ¾ cup (4⅛ ounces) bread flour
  • ¾ cup (5¼ ounces) granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon table salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • For the Milk Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 lb (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cool but not cold, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 6 ounces good-quality milk chocolate, melted and cooled
  1. For the Chocolate Frosting: Combine cocoa and the boiling water, stirring until cocoa has dissolved. With an electric mixer on med-high speed, beat butter, confectioners' sugar, and salt until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low. Add melted and cooled chocolate, beating until combined and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Beat in the cocoa mixture. Cool in fridge until thick, about 1 hour.
  2. For the Cupcakes: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350°F. Line standard-size muffin pan with baking-cup liners. Place chocolate and cocoa in medium bowl. Pour hot coffee over mixture and whisk until smooth. Set in refrigerator to cool completely, about 20 minutes. Whisk flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside. Whisk oil, eggs, vinegar, and vanilla into cooled chocolate-cocoa mixture until smooth. Add flour mixture and whisk until smooth.
  3. Divide batter evenly among muffin pan cups. Bake until cupcakes are set and just firm to touch, 17 to 19 minutes. Cool cupcakes in muffin pan on wire rack until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Carefully lift each cupcake from muffin pan and set on wire rack. Cool to room temperature before frosting, about 1 hour.
  4. For the Milk Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream: In a medium heat-proof bowl, whisk the egg whites and sugar together. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water (do not let the water touch the bottom of the bowl). Heat the mixture until the sugar is completely dissolved and the color is milk white, 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and, starting slowly, increase the speed to med-high. Beat until smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Remove the whisk attachment and replace with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and beat on med-high speed (again starting slowly at first) until smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. If the buttercream looks like it is separating, don't worry; it will eventually come together. Add the salt and vanilla and beat for 5 seconds to combine. Gently fold in the chocolate until the mixture is even in color.
  6. To Assemble: Spread a good heaping tablespoon of chocolate frosting on each cupcake. Pipe or spread the swiss meringue buttercream thickly on top of the chocolate frosting to finish.
Both the chocolate frosting and swiss meringue frosting recipes make quite a bit of frosting- plenty enough to double the amount of cupcakes made.



{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Medeja February 22, 2013 at 1:54 am

So much chocolate.. I’m in! 🙂


Michal February 23, 2013 at 7:54 pm

Yummy they look so tasty!


Amanda March 6, 2013 at 7:52 pm

Hi there! I came across your blog while researching chocolate cupcake recipes, & I really like it! I also love the Baked NYC cookbooks & was trying to find out if anyone successfully made their chocolate cake recipes into cupcakes. Anyway, your post where you compared chocolate cupcake recipes was super helpful, & I was also happy to see this latest recipe. I often bake my cupcakes a day or two ahead of time, so I like to know that if I frost them & store them in the refrigerator, that they’ll still be just as good (or pretty close to it) as the day I made them. I’m glad to know that you had success with the Cook’s Illustrated recipe here. 🙂

I actually have 2 questions for you, if you wouldn’t mind:
1. Have you ever made the CI chocolate cupcake recipe above with AP flour instead of bread flour? (Bread flour isn’t always easy to find, so I’m contemplating substituting AP flour if it doesn’t compromise the results significantly.)
2. Have you ever made Cook’s Illustrated Sour Cream Fudge Layer Cake (in the Baking Illustrated cookbook), and if so, have you ever tried making the batter into cupcakes? It is my absolute FAVORITE chocolate cake recipe, but I’ve never tried making it into cupcakes & am wondering if anyone has tried doing so before I experiment. 🙂

Thanks! 🙂


lmachell March 11, 2013 at 8:38 pm

I really do love that recipe. I have not used anything but bread flour myself. I am not sure if using all-purpose would work with this recipe because CI explains that the gluten in bread flour helps support all the melted chocolate. They swapped out AP flour for bread flour to get a deeper chocolate flavor from more melted chocolate (that was their logic). And I have never seen their SC chocolate cake recipe (I don’t have their baking illustrated book yet : / ) but I will have to find it online and make it one day. If I do I will absolutely add it into my comparison. Can’t wait to try it.


Amanda March 15, 2013 at 10:21 pm

Thanks for your reply! If I ever try the AP flour vs. bread flour, I’ll let you know…. 🙂


Donna June 15, 2013 at 6:48 am

First, I love your blog. Second, this was my second cupcake recipe from your site. I thought the Cookie Dough Suprise couldn’t be upstaged, but…wow. These cupcakes were a-maz-ing. I took them to work for a friends birthday. Like the Cookie Dough, it was a little time intensive, but so worth it. Both the frostings were so delicous, and I had some left over for some experimenting on my own.

I’m so glad I came across your site. I bought a Kitchen Aid stand mixer a few years ago and only used it once. I was about to put it up on a popular auction site, but decided to try making a birthday cake for my nephew. I did your Cherry Layer cake (my first “from scratch” recipe). No way I’m selling this mixer now!!


lmachell June 15, 2013 at 10:34 am

That’s wonderful Donna! I am happy to hear that you made these- I honestly wasn’t sure if anybody would because they are so labor intensive…haha Really glad that you enjoyed them as well as my other cake recipes. Especially if it helped save your mixer! : )


Leave a Comment

Rate this recipe:  

Previous post:

Next post: