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Classic Chocolate Cupcakes (No Mixer)

These chocolate cupcakes are soft, velvety, moist, and decadent! They’re so easy to make, they’re practically foolproof and you don’t even need a mixer!

three chocolate cupcakes with dark chocolate frosting

Nothing beats a classic chocolate cupcake, especially when there’s a luscious swirl of frosting on top! Who could possibly resist??!!??

This is a recipe that WORKS! You can whip these chocolate cupcakes up in no time, too! All you need is a whisk – NO MIXER!

unwrapped chocolate cupcake with dark chocolate frosting and chocolate sprinkles

And, in case you were wondering…

NO…, that’s NOT too much frosting! There is never too much frosting, right?!?!

My Classic Chocolate Cupcakes are …

  • rich in chocolate flavor! (keep reading to find out my secret tip!)
  • INSANELY moist! Forget dry, dense, and crumbly cupcakes!
  • great for newbie bakers! This is a clear, easy-to-follow recipe and no mixer required, not even for the frosting!
  • yummy on their own, but absolutely AMAZING with dark chocolate frosting that has a wonderful consistency for piping gorgeous swirls – perfect for parties or special occasions! 

WHAT YOU’LL NEED TO MAKE MY CLASSIC CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES:

Just a few basic pantry ingredients are all you need!

  • Flour:  I use all-purpose flour.
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder:  I use dutch-processed, but natural cocoa powder works fine, too. 
  • Coffee:  I use a cup of strong brewed coffee. 
  • Bittersweet chocolate:  I use dark couverture chocolate with 54% cocoa because it’s not overly sweet and it’s perfect for baking. 
  • Sugar:  I use regular white sugar. 
  • Leaveners:  I use baking powder and baking soda to help the cupcakes rise. 
  • Salt:  I use a tiny amount to bring out all the flavors. 
  • Oil:  I use a light vegetable oil. 
  • Egg:  You only need one egg for this recipe. 
  • Buttermilk:  I make my own buttermilk (included in the recipe card below) because I like the tang it gives.

MY SECRET TIP FOR THE BEST CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES

I love using a technique called “blooming” because it really intensifies the flavor of the chocolate. Blooming basically refers to mixing unsweetened cocoa powder with a hot liquid and allowing it to sit for a few minutes. This enhances the chocolate and heightens its flavor, but don’t worry, you don’t taste the coffee in the cupcakes at all! I use this technique for my Sugar Free Whole Wheat Cupcakes  and my Easy Vegan Fudge Brownies. I have made these cupcakes without blooming the cocoa, but I found that they weren’t as chocolatey.

HOW TO MAKE CLASSIC CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES:

steps 1 to 4 for chocolate cupcakes

 

steps 6 to 8 for chocolate cupcakes

After that, I like to pour the batter into a small pitcher and then pour it into the cupcake liners.

Then you just bake, cool, and frost!

DARK CHOCOLATE FROSTING

For this recipe, I’ve included an INCREDIBLE dark chocolate frosting! It’s low-sugar, but extremely rich in chocolate! 

This frosting is not the classic buttercream frosting where you beat the butter with a lot of powdered sugar, and it’s not a classic ganache, either, since ganache is just chocolate and cream.

This dark chocolate frosting is somewhere between ganache, chocolate buttercream, and fudge!  

I use dark couverture chocolate with 54% cocoa. The result is amazing! It’s not as sweet as the traditional buttercream frosting, and I think it’s perfect for these chocolate cupcakes. AND YOU DON’T NEED A MIXER TO MAKE IT!

If you decide to make this frosting, just keep in mind that it needs to firm up in the fridge for about 30-50 minutes, so make it first before making the cupcakes.

TIPS FOR SUCCESS

  • Make sure you measure the flour  properly for consistent results. Too much flour can make the cupcakes dry.
  • I also suggest using the best quality cocoa powder you can get. If you’re not sure what kind of cocoa powder to use (dutch-processed or natural), check out this post for a more detailed explanation. Both dutch-process and natural cocoa powder work for this recipe.
  • For light and fluffy cupcakes,  don’t overmix the batter, as this will make them dense.
  • For moist cupcakes, I use vegetable oil instead of butter. I think that together with the buttermilk, they really help the cupcakes stay moist longer.
  • The batter for these cupcakes is different compared to my Classic Vanilla Cupcakes in that it’s thin and more liquidy. To make it easier to fill the cupcake liners, I like to pour the batter into a small pitcher and then pour it into the liners. That way I don’t drip the batter all over the place while I’m filling the liners.
  • Fill the liners halfway, otherwise the cupcakes will overflow. They’ll still taste great, but they won’t be that pretty.
  • This recipe makes 14 cupcakes. Instead of lining another cupcake pan with just 2 liners, I use silicone cupcake liners and put them in the oven next to my cupcake pan. To make the silicone liners sturdier since they’re not placed in a pan, I use 2 liners for each cupcake. That way I avoid using another cupcake pan.
  • The dark chocolate frosting can take up to an hour to thicken in the fridge. It will depend on the chocolate and the cream you use and how much fat they have. Check on it every 15 minutes or so until it’s thick enough to spread or pipe. If you leave it in the fridge for too long, though, it will be too thick to pipe.
  • The frosting is enough for 14 cupcakes, but if you want to pipe large swirls on each cupcake, you’ll probably need to double the frosting recipe.
  • The frosting on the cupcakes will firm up once refrigerated. To soften the frosting up, just let the cupcakes come to room temperature.

FREEZING & STORING OPTIONS

Frosted cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for about a week.

These cupcakes freeze really well. If you want to freeze them, just wrap each one individually without any frosting and then put them in a freezer bag in a single flat row before popping them in the freezer. They can be frozen for up to 2 months. To thaw, just put them in the fridge overnight. You could also thaw them at room temperature, which takes a couple of hours.

Other Cupcake Topping Ideas

Like I said, these cupcakes are delicious plain, but a cupcake wouldn’t really be a cupcake without a delicious topping!

Sometimes, though, I like to switch things up a bit and try something other than dark chocolate frosting! Here are a few ideas you may want to try:

Vanilla buttercream – The all-time classic which is amazing with these chocolate cupcakes! I use vanilla buttercream for my classic vanilla cupcakes. Check out this post for the recipe. You could also adapt it and make chocolate buttercream frosting, too. Just follow the recipe and add ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder.

Powdered sugar – Dusting them with powdered sugar is great for those who aren’t crazy about frosting. You could use stencils to create designs, too, which would look great on chocolate cupcakes 

Marshmallows – You could add a big marshmallow on top of the cupcakes while they’re in the oven one or two minutes before they’re done. The marshmallows will melt and create a luscious topping.

Peanut butter – Melt some peanut butter  in the microwave and spoon it over cupcakes. Delish!

Chocolate sauce You could drizzle some chocoalte suace on top and then add some chopped nuts.

Jam or marmalade You could melt the jam  or marmalade and spoon it over the cupcakes as a glaze. It adds a nice, fruity flavor.

Whipped cream – A dollop of whipped cream is all you need! You could dust some cocoa powder on top, too!

Nutella – Nutella is SO good with these cupcakes! 

Dulce de leche – Spread some dulce de leche on top of the cupcake. Divine!

I hope you enjoy these classic chocolate cupcakes! 

Happy Baking! 

~Voula

classic chocolate cupcake with dark chocolate frosting in a white wrapper

Let me know how these classic chocolate cupcakes turn out for you in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you!

Classic Chocolate Cupcakes (No Mixer)

These chocolate cupcakes are soft, velvety, moist, and decadent! They’re so easy to make, they’re practically foolproof and you don’t even need a mixer!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: classic, chocolate, cupcakes, no mixer, easy, moist, soft
Servings: 14

Ingredients

For the cupcakes

  • ½ cup (50 g / 2 oz) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup (250 ml / 8.5 fl oz) strong brewed coffee
  • 1 cup + 6 tablespoons (175 g / 6 oz) all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼  teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (200 g / 7 oz) sugar
  • ½ cup (125 ml / 4 fl oz) buttermilk at room temperature (or see the NOTES below on how to make your own)
  • 1 egg at room temperature
  • 7 tablespoons (100 ml / 3.4 fl oz) light vegetable oil

For the dark chocolate frosting

  • ¼ cup (28 g / 1 oz) powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup (28 g / 1 oz) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3.5 oz (100 g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I use dark couverture chocolate with 54% cocoa)
  • ½ stick (57 g / 2 oz) unsalted butter
  • a pinch of salt
  • 7 tablespoons (100 ml / 3.4 fl oz) heavy cream

Instructions

Make the cupcakes

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
  • Line a 12-cup pan with cupcake liners and prepare 2 more liners (this recipe makes 14 cupcakes). Set aside.
  • Whisk together the hot coffee and cocoa powder until smooth. Set aside.
  • In another bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together. Add the sugar and whisk until combined. Set aside.
  • In another bowl, add the buttermilk, oil, and egg and whisk everything together until well combined.
  • Add the coffee mixture to the oil mixture and whisk until it's just combined.
  • Add the flour mixture and whisk until combined, but don't overmix.
  • Pour the batter into the cupcake liners halfway full (I like pouring the batter into a pitcher first to avoid making a mess).
  • Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  • Cool completely before frosting.

Make the dark chocolate frosting

  • Sift the powdered sugar and the cocoa powder into a saucepan.
  • Add all the remaining ingredients and stir continuously over low heat until everything melts.
  • Pour into a bowl and let it cool for about 10 minutes at room temperature.
  • Put it in the refrigerator for about 30-50 minutes, until it thickens and becomes spreadable. Check on it every 15 minutes or so.
  • Frost the cooled cupcakes.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

How to make your own buttermilk for this recipe:
Add 1/2 tablespoon vinegar to half a cup of milk and stir well. Let it sit for 5-8 minutes before using. 
Frosted cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for about a week.
The frosting on the cupcakes will firm up once refrigerated. To soften the frosting up, just let the cupcakes come to room temperature.
These cupcakes freeze really well. If you want to freeze them, just wrap each one individually without any frosting and then put them in a freezer bag in a single flat row before popping them in the freezer. They can be frozen for up to 2 months. To thaw, just put them in the fridge overnight. You could also thaw them at room temperature, which takes a couple of hours.
© Pastry Wishes

 

 

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Classic Vanilla Cupcakes

These classic vanilla cupcakes are heavenly! They’re light and fluffy and perfect for any occasion! If you’re looking for an easy vanilla cupcake recipe, look no further! These are the best classic vanilla cupcakes from scratch!

These vanilla cupcakes are wonderful for children’s parties, birthdays, or any celebration! And, they are SO simple to make. This recipe is pretty basic and uses typical pantry items.

I’ve also included a simple vanilla buttercream recipe, but to be honest, I really love these cupcakes plain, especially with coffee in the morning! 

What you’ll need:

Flour:  I use all purpose flour, but you could also you self-rising flour, instead, just omit the baking powder.

Sugar: I use regular, granulated sugar.

Buttermilk: I usually make my own by adding some white vinegar to milk and letting it sit for about 5 minutes.

Egg: I use 1 organic egg.

Vanilla: I like using vanilla extract.

Oil: I use a bit of vegetable oil to keep the cupcakes moist.

Salt: I use just a pinch for flavor.

Baking powder: To help them rise.

Butter: I think the combination of butter and vegetable oil makes these cupcakes more flavorful. You will also need some butter for the buttercream.

Powdered sugar: I use sifted powdered sugar to make the buttercream.

vanilla cupcakes

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS & TIPS FOR SUCCESS

What makes cupcakes light and fluffy?

To get really light and fluffy cupcakes, you need to incorporate some air into the batter to create bubbles, but not too much! That’s why you should NEVER overmix the batter, because it literally bursts those air bubbles, making the cupcakes dense and flat. Remember, you’re aiming for light and fluffy cupcakes, not pancakes! 

Why are my cupcakes dry?

There are probably 2 main reasons for this: overbaking and/or adding too much flour.

Overbaking

When you overbake the cupcakes, the excessive heat causes the moisture inside them to evaporate. 

Adding too much flour

You really need to measure the flour correctly in baking. If you pack the flour into the measuring cup, you’ll end up with more flour, which will result in dense and dry cupcakes. Check out my post where I get into more detail about how to measure flour properly and why it’s so important.

How do you make perfect cupcakes every time?

To get consistent results every single time, I highly suggest you use a digital scale. A digital scale also saves me a lot of time because I don’t need to wash any measuring cups or spoons. I just weigh all my ingredients before I start. 

Can you bake cupcakes without liners?

Of course! As long as you grease the pan really well and then flour it before adding the batter.

How do I make cupcakes moist?

In my opinion, 2 things make cupcakes moist: buttermilk and vegetable oil! I think cupcakes made with a combination of buttermilk and vegetable oil also stay moist longer as opposed to ones made with just butter. You could also use brown sugar for moistness, but I usually don’t because it’s sweeter than granulated sugar.

How to make your own buttermilk

I  make my own buttermilk by adding 1/2 tablespoon of white vinegar to a measuring cup and then adding enough milk to make 1/2 cup (125 ml). I just stir it well and let it sit for about 5-8 minutes. It’ll curdle and become thick, just like buttermilk! 

How do I fill cupcake liners without making a mess?

I usually use a cookie scoop to fill the liners a little over halfway full, about 2/3 or 3/4 full. You could also use an ice cream scoop. 

How do I frost cupcakes?

I just use a knife to frost them when I’m not making them for a special occasion. If you want to get creative, you can use a pastry bag fitted with a piping tip. For the cupcakes you see in these pictures, I used a Wilton 1M tip.

vanilla cupcakes

How do I store frosted cupcakes?

You can keep them at room temperature for 1-2 days, but if it’s hot where you live, I would refrigerate them, instead. Frosted cupcakes can be stored in the refrigerator for about a week. Just make sure they’re in an airtight container so they don’t dry out.  

How do I freeze cupcakes?

I always freeze cupcakes plain, without frosting. After they’ve completely cooled, I put them in 2 freezer bags so that they don’t absorb any smells from the freezer. Before sealing the bag, I make sure the cupcakes are sitting flat. I always put them in an area in the freezer where I know they won’t get squashed (obviously)! They can be stored in the freezer for up to about 2 months.

Can I freeze cupcakes in the liners?

Yes, but let them cool COMPLETELY. If you freeze them in the liners while they’re still warm, condensation will form which could make the cupcakes soggy!

How do I thaw cupcakes?

The best way to thaw cupcakes is to put them in the refrigerator overnight. But if you’re impatient like me, you could thaw them on your countertop. Cupcakes don’t really take that long to thaw, although it does depend on where you live and the climate. After taking them out of the freezer and out of the bags, I place them on a cooling rack and cover them with a clean kitchen towel. It usually takes a couple of hours for them to thaw completely at room temperature.

Other ways to top vanilla cupcakes besides frosting

Like I said, these cupcakes are great on their own, but I often add different toppings as buttercream isn’t really popular in my family!

If you’re not crazy about buttercream frosting or want to try something different on vanilla cupcakes, here are a few suggestions:

Powdered sugar or Cocoa powder: Just dust them with some powdered sugar or unsweetened cocoa powder. You could also use stencils and create beautiful designs on top!

Glaze: Make a simple glaze with powdered sugar and water or milk and drizzle over the cupcakes. An oldie, but goodie!

Nutella: Generously spread some Nutella on top. Nutella is great with just about anything, isn’t it?? I don’t think you could ever go wrong with Nutella!

Chocolate: You could melt some of your favorite chocolate and spoon it over the cupcakes. Or, better yet,  you could pour some of this delicious homemade chocolate syrup  on them – yummy!!!

Fresh fruit & Jam: You could also go with something light, like fresh fruit. Sometimes I spread some jam  or marmalade on top of the cupcakes first so the fruit doesn’t fall off.   

VARIATIONS

REAL Vanilla Cupcakes

Using ground vanilla bean powder instead of vanilla extract makes AMAZING cupcakes, especially with all those gorgeous flecks of vanilla inside! I love using ground vanilla bean powder! It made such a difference when I used it in my easy no-churn vanilla ice cream! You should give it a try!

Funfetti Cupcakes

For colorful funfetti cupcakes, add ½ cup sprinkles to the batter.

Filled Cupcakes

You can fill the cupcakes with lots of different sweet treats, like peanut butter, Nutella, jam, fruit, or candy!

Want healthier cupcakes? Check out these Sugar Free Whole Wheat Chocolate Cupcakes!

Let me know how these classic vanilla cupcakes turn out for you in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you!

~Voula

vanilla cupcakes

Classic Vanilla Cupcakes

These classic vanilla cupcakes are heavenly! They’re light and fluffy and perfect for any occasion! If you’re looking for an easy vanilla cupcake recipe, look no further! These are the best classic vanilla cupcakes from scratch!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: classic, vanilla, cupcakes, easy,
Servings: 12

Ingredients

For the cupcakes

  • 1 ¼ cup (190 g / 6.7 oz) all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup (57 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup (150 g) sugar
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
  • ½ cup buttermilk, room temperature (or see the NOTES below on how to make your own)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

For the buttercream frosting

  • ¾ cup (6 oz / 170 g) unsalted butter, soft, at room temperature, but not melted
  • 3½ - 4 cups (400 g / 14 oz) SIFTED powdered sugar, plus more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1½ - 2 tablespoons milk or heavy cream, plus more as needed
  • gel-based red food coloring (optional)

Instructions

For the cupcakes

  • Preheat oven to 350°F / 175°C.
  • Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.
  • If you're making your own buttermilk, see the NOTE below and make it now. Set aside.
  • Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  • Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until it's creamy.
  • Add the egg and vanilla to the butter mixture and mix well. Then add the buttermilk and oil and mix until everything is fully incorporated.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until JUST combined. Don't overmix.
  • Fill the cupcake liners with the batter, a little over halfway full. I like using a cookie scoop.
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • When done, take the cupcakes out of the oven and allow them to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes before removing them to a wire rack to cool completley.
  • Make sure they are completely cool before frosting them.

For the buttercream frosting

  • Beat the butter until it's soft and creamy, about 5-8 minutes.
  • Add the powdered sugar and the remaining ingredients and beat for at least 5 minutes, until it gets really light. Scrape the sides of the bowl a few times.
  • If the buttercream is too runny, add more powdered sugar. If it's too thick, add a little milk, a teaspoon at a time, until it reaches the consistency you like. If you wish, use a toothpick to add a tiny drop of food coloring and mix well.
  • Frost the cooled cupcakes.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

How to make your own buttermilk for this recipe:
Add 1/2 tablespoon vinegar to half a cup of milk and stir well. Let it sit for 5-8 minutes before using. 
The cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
© Pastry Wishes

 

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