A soft, rich chocolate cupcake is topped with creamy, rich chocolate buttercream in this Chocolate Lovers Mini Cupcake recipe.
When I was in elementary school, I was envious of all the kids in my class whose birthdays fell during the school year. Those were the kids whose parents brought cute cupcakes to class and led the classroom in a chorus of “Happy Birthday.” And, to a kid whose birthday was always just a little too late, it seemed like the most magical thing to have your entire class — and your teacher — celebrate with you.
And maybe I just wanted to be the one with all the funfetti cupcakes too …
In retrospect, not having to go to school on my birthday in those years was an even more magical thing. My birthday was always a special, relaxed day. I never had to take a test or do homework or even do anything other than what I wanted. And it probably shaped why I have a hard time wrapping my head around working on my birthday now. Sure, it’s not a holiday to others but to me it’s pretty special.
Fortunately, I’m an adult now and can make decisions for myself. Like making cupcakes for any reason at all or taking a vacation day so that I don’t actually have to work on my birthday after all. For a few years there, I toyed with the idea of just letting my birthday be another day … but no. That’s not for me. I want a celebration … even if it’s a little one.
These little cupcakes are perfect for celebrations.
For this recipe, I used my favorite recipe for soft, rich chocolate cupcakes and adapted it to make them mini-sized. The one-bowl preparation means that it’s simple, easy and totally doable for even the busiest baker. Just stir, stir some more and bake.
And then those little moist cupcakes are topped with a creamy chocolate buttercream frosting. Again, it’s a one-bowl (well, stand mixer bowl) preparation, and totally easy. The ingredients are whirled in a stand mixer (be sure to follow the directions carefully — this frosting is really dependent on the order in which things are added and mixed) and then it’s ready to pipe onto the cupcakes. I went with a wavy floral shaped frosting, but you could totally pile it on in a towering swirl as well.
Once they’re done, enjoy them right away or chill until ready to eat. I do very much love frosting that’s been chilled, personally.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup milk
- ¼ cup canola oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup boiling water
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, , softened
- 2 cups confectioners sugar
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder, (unsweetened)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup milk
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a mini cupcake pan with cupcake liners (my pan yields 24 cupcakes -- you may need to bake these in batches).
- In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt with a whisk until evenly mixed.
- Add the egg, milk, canola oil and vanilla to the bowl, and whisk until smooth.
- Pour the boiling water into the mixing bowl and whisk gently to combine. The batter will go from being really super thick to being pourable and loose.
- Fill the mini cupcake liners to the top with batter. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Let cool completely.
- Once the cupcakes are cooled, make the frosting.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Add the confectioners sugar, cocoa powder and vanilla extract. Beat on low until crumbly. Add the milk, a little at a time, with the mixer running on low. Once it's all added, increase the speed to medium and beat until fluffy.
- Pipe or spread the frosting on the cupcakes as desired. Enjoy!
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. She is the author of several cookbooks including The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook and One-Pot Pasta, both from Rockridge Press. A single mother to two kids in middle school, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.