Why do cupcakes captivates us? Is it the perfect ratio of cake to frosting or perhaps the endless variety of flavors that satisfy a particular mood? Whatever the reason, they effortlessly make us happy and are easily enjoyed with no accompaniment. 

Here is a recipe for chocolate cupcakes with buttercream frosting. Many recipes tend to incorporate so much confectioners’ sugar that it makes the frosting grainy and overly sweet. Reducing the sugar achieves a smooth frosting that pipes like a dream.

Chocolate Cupcake Recipe:

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

2 ¼ cups granular sugar

¾ cup cocoa powder, sifted

1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

¾ teaspoon fine sea salt

¾ teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

¼ rounded teaspoon baking powder

 1 ½ cups coffee

¾ cup vegetable oil

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

3 eggs

Whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, sea salt, ginger, nutmeg and baking powder. Make a well in the center of the dry mixture. Add coffee, vegetable oil, vanilla and eggs. Whisk until a smooth batter forms. Place two #40 scoops of batter in each cup, otherwise just fill each cup 2/3 full. Bake one pan at a time in a 350°F oven for 18-20 minutes. Cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool for 10-15 minutes in pan then transfer to a wire rack.

Chocolate Ganache Recipe:

1 cup chocolate pieces

½ cup heavy cream

1 Tablespoon softened butter

Place chocolate and butter in a bowl and set aside. Bring heavy cream to a boil over medium heat and pour over chocolate and butter. Allow the cream to soften the chocolate then whisk until smooth. While your ganache is still warm, coat the tops of the cupcakes by dipping them head first into the chocolate. Place cupcakes in the refrigerator to firm up the ganache while you make the frosting.

Vanilla Buttercream Recipe:

3 cups unsalted butter, room temperature

1 1/2 cups vegetable shortening

5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Beat butter and vegetable shortening together until smooth. Incorporate half of the confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Repeat with the remaining sugar and add in vanilla extract. If you want to add any color, add color paste a little at a time until you achieve the shade you are looking for. Fill a pastry bag with frosting and pipe away. This recipe makes approximately 24 cupcakes.