The next time you are in the mood for a batch of chocolate cupcakes, put this recipe for Sour Cream Chocolate Cupcakes at the top of your list. The cupcakes are a favorite recipe of mine because they have a tremendous amount of chocolate flavor, but they’re very easy to make. The cupcakes have a soft, tender crumb that is nice and moist, thanks to a generous amount of sour cream in the cupcake batter. They’re a good all-purpose cupcake that can be dressed up any way you need them to be – but I’ll recommend going with a chocolate frosting to deliver the most intense chocolate experience possible in each bite.
In this recipe, that chocolate flavor comes primarily from unsweetened cocoa powder – and I used a lot of it. The cocoa powder not only builds a solid dark chocolate flavor base in the cupcakes, but it helps ensure they have a light, tender texture. While I appreciate the richness of good chocolate, I don’t want to be weighed down by a cupcake when I’m eating it! The recipe makes 18 cupcakes, which is a few more than most cupcake recipes, but I find that I can often use a few extra (and I’ve never complained about having an extra cupcake on hand after a party!).
Since there is sour cream in the cupcakes, I also used sour cream in the frosting. The Dark Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting is almost like a ganache, but made with sour cream instead of butter. The sour cream gives the frosting a light, creamy texture and adds a hint of tang to the dark chocolate, which keeps the rich frosting from overwhelming the fluffy cupcakes. You’ll notice that the frosting looks darker in the picture of the whole cupcake (above) than it does in the photo of the cupcake down below. This is because the cake is so dark that it makes it difficult for a photo to capture the texture and color of the crumb of the cake. The frosting is lighter in color than the cake, but it is bursting with rich dark chocolate flavor.
These cupcakes are sure to be a hit with chocolate lovers. The frosting recipe makes more than you’ll need (it never hurts to have some extra) and you can use it to fill the cupcakes or simply set it aside for another batch. The frosting is very smooth and soft when you first spread it on, but it will set within a few hours, so you don’t need to worry about the frosting slipping around when you transport the cupcakes.
Sour Cream Chocolate Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350F. Place liners in 18 cup muffin tins.
In a large bowl, sift together cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, coffee (or water), buttermilk, vegetable oil and vanilla extract. Pour coffee mixture into flour mixture and whisk until all of the ingredients are mixed in and no streaks of dry ingredients remain.
Divide prepared batter even into muffin cups, filling each about 3/4 full.
Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, or with only a few moist crumbs attached.
Turn cupcakes out onto a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
Dark Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting
10-oz dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sour cream
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 – 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
Melt together chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes, or until close to room temperature, then stir in the sour cream, salt and vanilla extract. When smooth, blend in (with an electric mixer) about 1 cup confectioners’ sugar. Gradually add in remaining confectioners’ sugar until a smooth, spreadable consistency is reached.
Frosting will be glossy when it is first made, but will gradually set to a matte finish.