Before this, every time I made chocolate cupcakes, I would try a different recipe because each time it didn’t seem quite right. Some were too dense, some didn’t have the rich chocolate flavor I was hoping for, and some didn’t taste as great the next day. That was until I made these cupcakes. These cupcakes have a rich chocolate flavor, are moist without being dense, and even better, taste just as good the next day. Paired with this sweet, creamy vanilla buttercream, it’s simply delicious.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate (I used 72%.)
1 cup boiling water
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used canola oil.)
2 1/4 cups sugar
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup water
5 large egg whites
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
3 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature, cubed
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 24 cupcake tins with paper liners.
Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a bowl and set aside.
Place the chocolate into a heatproof bowl and pour the boiling water over it. Whisk until the chocolate is melted. Let the mixture cool for about 15 minutes.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and vanilla and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the eggs on high speed until foamy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low and slowly pour in the oil. Whisk until combined, about 30 seconds. Raise the speed to medium and whisk until fully incorporated, another 30 seconds.
Reduce the speed to low and slowly pour in the chocolate mixture. Slowly pour in the buttermilk mixture. Add the sugar and whisk until the batter is smooth, about 2 minutes.
Remove the bowl from the mixer and add the dry ingredients. Fold until just incorporated. The batter may be a bit lumpy, but stop mixing. The batter will be strained.
Pour the batter through a medium-mesh sieve to remove lumps. Strain through as much batter as possible and discard the lumps. Divide the batter between the cupcake tins, filling the cups about two-thirds full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack. Let the cupcakes cool completely in the pans.
In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Cook over medium heat until the mixture reaches 248°F on a candy thermometer. Be sure to carefully watch and stir the mixture or it may crystallize.
Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the egg whites and cream of tartar. Whisk on medium-low speed until soft peaks form. When the sugar mixture reaches 248°F, slowly and carefully, pour it into the egg whites. Raise the speed to high and whisk until the mixture is cool to the touch (about 65-70°F on a candy thermometer).
Once the meringue is cool enough, begin adding the butter, one cube at a time, waiting until each is incorporated before adding another. When all of the butter has been added, the mixture should be thick and smooth. Add the vanilla and mix to combine. Use the buttercream immediately or cover and refrigerate until needed. To use chilled buttercream, remove from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature, about 1 hour, or microwave it in 15-second intervals, mixing in between until soft and smooth.