Desserts Uncategorized

Chocolate Cupcakes & Buttercream Icing

Whenever I have an excuse to make a recipe inspired by Sally’s Baking Addiction, it’s a good day in my book. The excuse this time is that my boss found a new job! She’ll be leaving our little team at the end of the week to head down south for a new gig. Since I’m not the best with emotional words, I share my feelings through homemade baked goods. She loves anything chocolate so I knew that Sally wouldn’t steer me wrong with this recipe of Chocolate Cupcakes with Buttercream Icing. 

penzeys hot chocolate mix

But, what kind of cook/baker/blogger would I be if I didn’t change it up and put a Beard & The Baker twist on it? First things first, I grab my handy dandy Williams – Sonoma gold cupcake pan and tossed in some extra cupcake liners I have around the house. Hence why there is one red liner in a sea of striped black and white liners. If you are on the hunt for new baking pans, I highly suggest you look into the Williams – Sonoma gold pans, they are AMAZING. They are non-stick, they clean super easy and they cook everything evenly. I’m actually low-key obsessed with them. 

cupcake liners

After I get over my love for my baking pans, I actually start prepping these tasty little cupcakes. Sally’s recipe called for unsweetened natural cocoa powder but I didn’t have any of that in my pantry and my little peanut was not up for a grocery trip (and neither was mom) so we improvised and used Penzey’s Hot Chocolate Mix. It was a super wise decision! The only real difference is that it has sugar, cinnamon and vanilla bean in it which really just adds a little bit more flavor, in my humble opinion. 

brewed coffe in a jack & benny's mugMy other little trick is something I learned by watching the Food Network on a daily basis for the past ten years of my life. Adding a little bit of brewed coffee or espresso to your chocolate baked goods will enhance the flavor without adding a strong coffee flavor to it. When you do this, you don’t want to add too much liquid and mess up the fat/liquid/dry ingredient ratio and you want to make sure it’s not anything that’s super flavored so it doesn’t overpower your original flavor. 
homemade chocolate cupcakes

Once your cupcake batter is all mixed up, you’ll be ready to put it in your cute little liners. Don’t be alarmed, it should be relatively thin — not as thin as skim milk, a little bit thicker than whole milk and thiner than heavy cream. Don’t even try to pour the batter into the liners using anything other than a cookie scoop, you’ll make a huge mess. When asked what cooking utensil I couldn’t live without, my answer would be my cookie scoop. I use it for everything and it’s amazing because it allows everything to be scooped evenly and therefore cooked evenly and therefore photographed beautifully. 

kroger teal sanding sugar for cupcakes

I know, I know I usually am scared of anything that has a number following it’s color but when I asked The Beard to pick up some sprinkles, this is what he brought home. Oh well, they are cute and these were cause for a celebration. These little sprinkles are covering a pretty heavenly vanilla buttercream that is so easy and so fluffy. Do NOT be afraid to let your mixer keep mixing. I made the mistake for so long to just mix my icing until I thought it was combined and I’d end up grainy, not yummy mush that was not beautiful. Also, I can’t stress it enough that you have to sift your powdered sugar! If you take away anything from this post, please make it be to sift your powdered sugar. Your cupcake eating friends with thank me. 

homemade chocolate cupcakes with vanilla buttercream icing

Chocolate Cupcakes & Vanilla Buttercream Icing
Yields 12
Moist, light chocolate cupcakes topped with a fluffy vanilla buttercream icing and some colorful little sprinkles.
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
40 min
Chocolate Cupcakes
  1. 1/2 cup Penzey's Hot Chocolate Mix
  2. 1 cup all purpose flour, sifted
  3. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  4. 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  5. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  6. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  7. 2 large eggs, room temperature
  8. 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  9. 1/2 cup packed brown sugar (light or dark is fine)
  10. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  11. 1/2 cup whole milk
  12. 1/4 cup brewed coffee (chilled)
Vanilla Buttercream Icing
  1. 2 sticks of butter, softened (1 cup)
  2. 4 cups of powdered sugar, sifted
  3. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  4. salt, to taste
  5. sprinkles
Chocolate Cupcakes
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line your cupcake pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.
  2. Whisk the hot chocolate mix, flour, basking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl until completely combined. Set aside.
  3. In your stand mixer, whisk the eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla together until completely smooth, about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Replace whisk with paddle attachment then add milk and brewed coffee and mix until combined.
  5. Add half of dry ingredients and mix until combined, then add other half and mix until combined. Be sure not to overmix.
  6. Use cookie scoop to add batter to cupcake liners in pan. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick is clean.
  7. Remove from pan and let cool completely on cooling rack until ready to frost.
Vanilla Buttercream Icing
  1. Using stand mixer and paddle attachment, beat the butter for about 2 minutes until creamy.
  2. Add in four cups of powdered sugar and vanilla extract with the mixer running on the lowest speed. Scrape sides of the mixer, as needed.
  3. Then, increase the speed to high and beat for about 3-5 minutes until fluffy and creamy.
  4. After cupcakes are completely cool, frost using your favorite piping style or use a butter knife for a rustic look.
  5. Top with desired sprinkles and enjoy!
Adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction
The Beard And The Baker





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