chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese frosting
  • ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup cold buttermilk, shaken
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 extra-large egg, at room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup freshly brewed good quality hot coffee - Don't be turned off by the coffee in the recipe, you honestly don't taste it at all. The coffee enhances the flavor of the cocoa powder, resulting in a more chocolaty cupcake, not a coffee-flavored one.
  • 12 cupcake liners
Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • approximately 1-2 cups unsifted confectioners sugar - this is to taste -You will then sift the confectioners sugar so there are no lumps in the frosting
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) of butter, at room temperature
  • 1 8-ounce package of cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard muffin tin with cupcake liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the following ingredients together until combined, ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons flour, (make sure you level off the flour) 1 cup sugar, ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder,1 teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon baking powder and ½ teaspoon kosher salt.
  3. In a smaller bowl, whisk the following ingredients together until combined, ½ cup cold buttermilk, make sure the buttermilk is well shaken,1/4 cup vegetable oil, 1 egg and ½ teaspoon vanilla.
  4. With either a hand-held mixer or an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry.
  5. The batter will be pretty thick at this point, but chocolaty.
  6. Now its time to add that freshly brewed coffee. I always use a good strong coffee like Peets. I don't know if that's what makes the cake taste so rich, but I'm sure it has some small part to play in it.
  7. Add the ½ cup coffee and mix until combined, scraping down the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Your batter will be much thinner after you add the coffee.
  8. This batter is pretty thin, so I just pour the batter (make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl so you get all of the batter) into a large 4-cup measuring cup to make it easier for pouring into the cupcake liners. You can use any large container with a pour spout. If you don't have a large pourable container, just pour the batter into a smaller container in batches or just use an ice cream scoop.
  9. Pour the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them ¾ full.
  10. Bake the cupcakes for 21-22 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Mine were done at exactly 21 minutes.
  11. Baking tip: Here's a great tip to gage when a cake or cupcake/muffin is done. Do the finger test. Press your finger down gently in the middle of the cake. If it's done, it should puff back up automatically on its own. If it stays dented, then the cake/cupcake is not ready to come out yet.
  12. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the pan, making sure to gently detach the tops from the pan if they're sticking a bit. Set them on a cooling rack to cool completely.
  13. Once the cupcakes have cooled, its time to make the frosting!
  14. Pour 1-2 cups unsifted confectioners sugar into a sifter and sift the sugar into a large bowl and set aside. Sifting the sugar helps to ensure you don't have lumpy frosting.
  15. Put your softened butter, cream cheese and vanilla into a bowl and get your handy dandy mixer out.
  16. I prefer to use my hand held mixer with small frosting batches such as this because it's just easier to manipulate, but you can use your standing mixer with the whisk attachment. Beat the butter, cream cheese and vanilla together on medium speed until well blended.
  17. Slowly add the sifted confectioners sugar to taste. At first, pour in ½ of the sifted amount, mix it and give it taste, and keep adding small amounts till you get it to the taste you like. You want it to be sweet but not too sweet.
  18. NOTE: If you add too much confectioner's sugar, the frosting will be really sweet and you won't really get that cream cheese flavor. Just keep adding the sugar and tasting the frosting until it reaches a flavor you like. How do I know when it's right? You want taste a bit of the cream cheese, but you also want it to be sweet at the same time, almost like a perfect balance of the two.
  19. The color of the frosting will vary from white to creamy white.
  20. Now comes the fun part, frosting the cupcakes. Take your frosting knife and throw a big dollop on top.
  21. Gently press and move the frosting around so it evenly tops the cupcake.
  22. Throw on some colored sprinkles, because come on, they just look great and add a pop of color.
  23. Store the cupcakes in an airtight container.
Recipe by Marin Mama Cooks at