Double Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting

There’s a photo my mom took of me during my fifth (or was it sixth?) birthday party, licking off all the vanilla frosting from a chocolate cupcake. And completely avoiding the cake.

Vertical close-up image of chocolate vanilla cupcakes with blue liners, with text on the top and bottom of the image.

I never liked chocolate cake when I was a kid. And 5-year-old (or 6-year-old) me thought she told Mom that she hated that icky flavor and never ever ever wanted to eat chocolate cake, and wanted vanilla cake (NOT CHOCOLATE) cupcakes for her birthday, but…

Mom still made chocolate cupcakes.

Vertical top-down image of cupcakes with vanilla frosting and candy garnishes.

I kept my cool, though. I was a year older, after all, and far too mature to have a silly little temper tantrum.

Thankfully, my mom didn’t go 100% fully loaded with crazy cocoa flavor – she used vanilla frosting for decorating, which I gladly consumed.

So, I still managed to have some fun at my own birthday party.

Vertical image of a cupcake with vanilla frosting and candy garnishes on a white stand.

And I guess the clown and magician (they hired both that year?!) also helped to distract me from succumbing to disappointment and disgust.

These cupcakes are in remembrance of that near-tragic birthday party.

Vertical image of a liner peeled away from a chocolate cupcake with vanilla frosting.

My tastes have changed significantly, now that I’m older and am willing to eat anything considered edible. I can presently enjoy this dessert, a moist and spongy chocolate cake speckled with mini chips and topped with a thick and fluffy vanilla buttercream.

Tastes may change throughout the years, but memories will last forever. Mom, if you’re reading this, you should know that I have not forgotten your betrayal, even 20+ years later.

I’ll never forget.

Vertical image of part of a chocolate cupcake with vanilla buttercream.

No matter how many clowns or magicians you try to use to bribe me.

Print
Horizontal image of cupcakes with blue liners on a marble stand surrounded by mini candies.

Double Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting


  • Author: Nikki Cervone
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
  • Yield: 24 cupcakes 1x

Description

Enjoy classic flavors with our chocolate cupcakes mixed with mini chocolate chips and decorated with a fluffy vanilla buttercream.


Scale

Ingredients

For the Cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips

For the Vanilla Frosting:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream, plus more as needed
  • Mini chocolate chips and chocolate candy, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

For the Cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two 12-cup muffin pans with paper liners and set aside.
  2. Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
  3. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, water, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla extract.
  4. With a spatula, mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix until just incorporated, scraping down the sides and bottom as necessary. You will still see some small lumps of dry ingredients. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  5. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling each about 2/3 full. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the tops are fully set and spring back when touched.
  6. Remove from the oven, and let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing and placing them on a wire rack to cool completely.

For the Vanilla Frosting:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the softened butter on medium speed until it is smooth, with no lumps.
  2. Sift the confectioners’ sugar into a separate bowl. Add one cup at a time to the butter, beating very well after each addition.
  3. Add the salt, vanilla, and heavy cream. Mix on medium-high speed until very light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes.
  4. Decorate as you wish immediately on the completely cooled cupcakes, using mini chocolate cupcakes as garnish. Serve and enjoy, or store in the refrigerator until ready to eat.

  • Category: Cupcakes
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Dessert

Keywords: chocolate, chocolate chips, vanilla, buttercream, frosting, cupcake

Cooking by the Numbers…

Step 1 – Prep and Sift Together Dry Ingredients

Horizontal image of sifting dry ingredients into a bowl by a bowl of mini candies.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two 12-cup muffin pans with paper liners and set aside.

Sift together the all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.

Horizontal image of a metal bowl with dark brown dry ingredients next to a white bowl of mini candies.

Sifting will not only serve to combine the ingredients, but will also remove any lumps.

Step 2 – Whisk Together Wet Ingredients

Horizontal image of a white bowl of a yellow mixture, and another small white bowl with mini candies.

In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, water, buttermilk, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract. Whisk until the eggs are completely incorporated with the other ingredients. You should have a uniform liquid mixture.

Step 3 – Combine Mixtures

Horizontal image of a metal bowl with a dark brown liquid batter, next to a white bowl of mini candies.

With a spatula, mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir until just incorporated, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary. Be careful to not overmix – there should be some small lumps remaining in the batter.

Horizontal image of a metal bowl with a dark brown batter topped with mini candies.

Gently fold in the mini chocolate chips.

Step 4 – Portion Batter in Muffin Pan

Horizontal image of a muffin pan with liners and dark brown batter.

Divide batter evenly among the lined muffin cups, filling each about 2/3 full. I prefer to use an ice cream or cookie dough scooper to distribute even amounts into each cup.

Step 5 – Bake and Cool

Horizontal image of baked mini dark brown treats on a cooling rack, with one messy liner on the side.

Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the tops are fully set and spring back when touched. When a toothpick is inserted in the center, it should come out clean.

(And don’t feel guilty if you can’t help yourself and absolutely need to steal one while they’re still warm. Clearly, I couldn’t resist).

Step 6 – Make Frosting

Horizontal image of a white bowl with vanilla buttercream on a paddle attachment.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the softened unsalted butter on medium speed until it is smooth, with no lumps. The butter should be softened, but not completely melted!

Sift the confectioners’ sugar in a separate bowl. Add one cup at a time to the butter, beating very well after each addition.

Once the butter and sugar are completely whipped together, add the salt, vanilla, and heavy cream. Mix on medium-high speed until very light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes.

If the mixture still is too thick, add more heavy cream if needed.

I love my American-style buttercream, which is what I use in this recipe, but you can use your favorite recipe. You might consider trying my Swiss meringue buttercream, or even a fudge frosting to triple the cocoa flavor!

Step 7 – Decorate

Horizontal image of mini desserts topped with white frosting and candy garnishes.

With a piping bag and a tip of your choice, pipe a mound of frosting onto each completely cooled cupcake. Don’t decorate when they are still warm, or else you’ll have a pool of melted buttercream!

If you won’t be decorating until later, you can store the frosting in the refrigerator until ready to use. Because the icing hardens as it cools, you’ll need to mix it with a stand mixer fitted with the handle attachment to get it light and fluffy again.

Garnish with extra chocolate chips or candy, if desired. Serve immediately, or store in the refrigerator until ready to eat.

Two Flavors, One Tasty Treat

Simple combinations of flavors can yield the tastiest results!

You can’t go wrong with the classic combo of simple vanilla and rich chocolate, like you’ll enjoy when you make these delicious cupcakes.

Horizontal image of cupcakes with blue liners on a marble stand surrounded by mini candies.

Kind of makes me wish I could go back in time and convince 5-year-old me to eat the whole cupcake, and not just the icing on top!

How do you like to use the classic flavors of vanilla and chocolate in your desserts? What are your favorites? Let me know in the comment section below.

More cupcakes? You got it:

Photos by Nikki Cervone, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on Februrary 18, 2011. Last updated: October 24, 2019 at 18:24 pm.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

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About Nikki Cervone

Nikki Cervone is a hungry foodie living in Pittsburgh. Nikki holds an AAS in baking/pastry from Westmoreland County Community College, a BA in Communications from Duquesne University, and an MLA in Gastronomy from Boston University. When she is not tearing through her city's best cheesesteaks, Nikki enjoys a healthy dose of yoga and chocolate. Lots of chocolate.

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