Do you guys have a recipe that you always turn to, because it’s The Perfect Recipe? I love my recipes. I mean, I’m obviously biased, but I think I make some really good stuff. Occasionally, though, there will be a recipe that is It. The One. The Perfect Recipe. These cupcakes, and their frosting, land squarely and happily in that category. Every time I make them, the Hubster says, “These are the best cupcakes. They are perfect. These are the perfect cupcakes.” Every time. I’ve actually had the cupcakes here on the blog for awhile now, but I’ve never shared this frosting recipe with you guys, so with Valentine’s Day just a few days away, I decided to get these two together for you.
I wanted to bling these cupcakes out for Valentine’s Day, so I turned to my talented friend Rosie of Sweetapolita for a shiny chocolate sprinkle mix. I bought her S’mores & Sparks Twinkle Sprinkle Medley, which is amazing on it’s own, but I decided to customize it for this post. Rosie’s original mix is filled with lots of chocolate, white, and gold, with a sprinkling of golden yellow beads. I decided I wanted a little less white, and no golden yellow, so I poured the mix through a larger strainer, which allowed most of the sprinkles to fall through, but held back the larger white and yellow pieces. Then I went through and pulled out the larger chocolate and shiny gold candies. It sounds like a lot of work, but it was honestly less than 10 minutes of sorting. I only customized about a quarter cup or less of the sprinkles, because a little goes a long way.
Perfect chocolate cupcakes with perfect chocolate buttercream and perfect blingy sprinkles need the perfect glitzy topper, so I broke out the edible gold leaf. I used malted milk balls (Whoppers) to tie in with all the chocolate and gold candy in the sprinkles, then wrapped them in gold leaf. The gold leaf won’t stick to the milk balls as-is, so you need to wet them. All I did was dunk each ball into a little bowl of clean water, shaking off the excess. Then, I rolled the balls over the gold leaf, willy nilly. I like that the gold didn’t stick perfectly smoothly, and the milk balls have a glamorous, but rustic look.
The second best thing about these cupcakes and the frosting, after how delicious they are, is how easy they are. They’re only a couple of steps more complicated than using a box mix, and infinitely better. I hope you give them a try. Soon. 🙂
- ½ cup (4 ounces or 125 ml) strong brewed coffee, hot
- ½ cup (4 ounces or 125 ml) warm milk (soy or almond milk for dairy-free)
- ¾ cup (42 grams) cocoa powder
- 1½ cups (191 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoons baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (1 stick or 113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature (margarine for dairy-free)
- 1 cup (200 grams) sugar
- 2 eggs, at room temperature (3/4 cup applesauce for dairy-free)
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
- In a medium bowl, or a two cup measuring cup, stir the coffee and milk together. Next, stir in the cocoa powder until dissolved. Set aside until cooled to room temperature, or place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
- Once the cocoa/coffee mixture has cooled completely, set aside ¼ cup of the mixture for the frosting.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees (180 C). Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners; set aside.
- In a medium bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
- In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until combined.
- Stir in the milk and vanilla.
- Sprinkle ⅓ of the flour mixture over the bowl and mix until just combined.
- Add ½ of the chocolate mixture, mixing again until just combined.
- Repeat with remaining flour and chocolate mixtures, ending with flour. Mix only until flour is just incorporated. Do not over mix.
- Place 3 tablespoons of batter in each cupcake liner. Bake for 20-23 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs clinging to it, rotating the pan halfway through. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
- ½ cup (1 stick or 113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2¼ cups (about 8 ounces or 250 grams) confectioners' sugar
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- pinch of salt
- ¼ cup reserved coffee/cocoa mixture from Perfect Chocolate Cupcakes recipe
- 1 to 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a medium bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the butter for about 3 minutes.
- Beat in the sugar, cocoa, and salt until combined.
- Add 2 tablespoons of the coffee mixture and whisk until combined.
- Add the heavy cream and whisk on high for 3 to 4 minutes, until light and fluffy and lighter in color.
- If the frosting is too thick, add more coffee mixture, 1 teaspoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached.
- Stir in the vanilla.