If there's anything greater than Triple Chocolate Cupcakes, it's triple chocolate cupcakes made in one bowl! These cupcakes are so moist, rich and chocolaty, plus they are so EASY to make!
If that's what you're looking for, then Hello baby! You've come to the right place.
When it comes to desserts, I always gravitate toward chocolate. Maybe you know that already. Maybe the 212 chocolate-labelled posts on this blog gave that away.
Cake is great. I like cake, but sometimes when I want something quick to bake on a weeknight or I don't feel like heavy clean-up then I tend to stray away from it.
These cupcakes though, they are the exception.
The batter for this light, moist cake comes together in just one bowl with a whisk. You don't even need to pull out your mixer if you don't feel like it.
And believe it or not, they taste better as they age. Seriously. Who knew?
For a quick fix, these are the best moist chocolate cupcake recipe.
WHAT MAKES TRIPLE CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES MOIST?
Dissolved sugar and lots of cocoa. Blending sugar into the flour means that sugar will compete for water so that there is less water available to the flour to absorb and form gluten. All the cocoa (which contains no gluten) also prevents excess gluten development because it dilutes the flour and gets in the way of the flour particles making it a bit more tricky for them to suck up water so quickly. All the liquid in this recipe means that the sugar will dissolve readily. Dissolved sugar will form a syrup that holds in moisture and stays dissolved for a moist texture.
Buttermilk. The creamy viscous texture of buttermilk adds thickness to the batter which translates to better volume and moisture retention when the cakes are baking. There is a lot of information around the internet that describes how the acidity of buttermilk helps to break down gluten and makes the cake more tender, but really you would need so much acid to do this that the cake would taste terrible. Slightly acidic conditions actually promote gluten development, so if anything it could do the opposite!
WHAT KEEPS TRIPLE CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES SOFT?
Vegetable oil. It is liquid at room temperature which means that these cupcakes will feel squishier and bouncy rather than crumbly.
BUTTER VS. OIL IN CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES?
BOTH! These Triple Chocolate Cupcakes benefit from both butter AND oil.
Using all vegetable oil makes a very soft and moist yet flat-tasting cake despite all that cocoa. Don't waist your cocoa on that. Butter is hard when cold and still a bit firm at a cool room temperature so it will lend a firmer texture to cupcakes especially ones that are kept while refrigerated, but it elevates the taste of chocolate in a way that oil could never do. Oil, however, is liquid at room temperature so cupcakes made with all oil will be soft even straight from the fridge. I choose a blend for the best of both worlds.
Let's talk frosting:
I almost always prefer Swiss Meringue Buttercream. It is so silky and light, and it pipes like a dream. But, for a quick and easy topping American buttercream is the way to go. There's no measuring temperature of boiling syrup and no 10 minutes of necessary whipping. It is just a bit less fussy. However, I find most American buttercream recipes use way too much powdered sugar that they taste cloying and gritty. Let's not do that this time!
HOW TO MAKE SMOOTH BUTTERCREAM FROSTING
Use 1 ounce of unsweetened chocolate in addition to all that cocoa. The lecithin (an emulsifier) in the chocolate will help to stabilize the frosting and hold the water phase together with the fat.
What liquid should you use to make frosting?
I always use 35% whipping cream to thin out my frosting. Firstly, we need liquid to help dissolve the sugar so that it doesn't feel gritty. Milk will do this but it also has a very high water content so it will not be compatible with all that butter. Cream not only has 35% fat but it also contains some stabilizing agents that will help to emulsify the frosting.
Now enter chocolate heaven...
Moist Triple Chocolate Cupcakes
For the cupcake batter:
- ¾ cup 105g all-purpose flour
- ½ cup 42g unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ cup 100g granulated sugar
- ½ cup 110g packed light brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- ¼ cup 60ml sunflower oil
- 2 tablespoon 28g unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup 120ml buttermilk, at room temperature
For the frosting:
- ½ cup 113g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 ½ cups 185g sifted icing sugar
- ⅓ cup 28g Dutch process cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 3 tablespoon 35% whipping cream, at room temperature
- 1 oz unsweetened chocolate melted and cooled
For the drizzle:
- 4 tablespoon 50g granulated sugar
- 4 tablespoon 24g cocoa powder
- 5 tablespoon 75ml 10% half & half cream
- 1 tablespoon 15ml honey
- pinch of salt
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Line a second pan with 2 liners - this recipe makes about 14 cupcakes. Set aside.
- Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda into a large bowl. Add both sugars and salt and whisk until thoroughly combined. Add eggs, oil, melted butter and vanilla and begin whisking until combined. Add buttermilk and whisk until completely smooth.
- Pour or spoon the batter into the liners. Fill only halfway (this is imperative! only halfway!) to avoid spilling over the sides or sinking. Bake for 18-21 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
- To make the frosting, beat butter until creamy. Sift together icing sugar and cocoa powder and add the the butter mixture. Beat until creamy and fluffy. Beat in vanilla and salt, then slowly add cream while beating until it looks smooth and creamy. Add cooled melted chocolate and beat on high until smooth and fluffy.
- To make the drizzle, combine sugar and cocoa in a small saucepan and whisk to blend so there are no lumps. Add cream and salt and whisk until blended. Add honey and bring to a simmer over medium heat while whisking. Let simmer for 2 minutes then transfer to a bowl to cool completely.
- Frost cooled cupcakes however you'd like and drizzle chocolate sauce over it. Top with sprinkles, if desired. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.