I love anything dark chocolate, and these double dark chocolate cupcakes are the perfect treat for any chocolate lover! They are tender, fluffy and topped with just the right amount of extra rich dark chocolate buttercream. The perfect afternoon pick-me-up!
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Chocolate cupcakes are always considered a year-round treat in my book. How can you resist a yummy dark chocolate cupcake topped with loads of fluffy dark chocolate frosting? It’s the perfect mid-day snack!
But, these double dark chocolate cupcakes also make the perfect treat for any fun occasion – birthdays, anniversaries, graduation parties, Valentine’s Day and more! They are very easy to whip up (no mixer required for the cupcake portion) and please a wide variety of people – even my husband whose sweet tooth is nonexistent couldn’t get enough of these!
Read on for how to make the best double dark chocolate cupcakes topped with dark chocolate buttercream!
Ingredients for Double Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
There is one special ingredient that I typically like to add to all of my chocolate cake recipes and that is espresso powder. It sounds fancy, I know! But trust me. It’s super easy to find at your local grocery store, Walmart or even Amazon and is a staple for chocolate lovers!
Espresso powder is a deep-tasting instant coffee made from dark coffee beans that have been brewed, dehydrated and ground into a powder. It is perfect for baking and dissolves instantly in any liquid. When adding this rich ingredient to your chocolate desserts, you will not taste any coffee at all! Just a more robust chocolate flavor. The bitter richness of espresso powder enhances the flavors of chocolate, giving you the most robust chocolate flavors in your desserts. It’s perfect for these double dark chocolate cupcakes!
Here are a few brands that I recommend:
For the rich dark chocolate frosting, you will want to use a good quality dark chocolate! Make sure that the chocolate bar is at least 75% cocoa for a super-rich flavor. I really like using one of these Lindt chocolate bars:
- 78% Lindt Cocoa Dark Chocolate Bar
- 85% Lindt Cocoa Dark Chocolate Bar
- 95% Lindt Cocoa Dark Chocolate Bar
High Altitude Instructions
I have tried and failed to make many cupcakes without first adjusting the ingredients for high altitude. The result is a sunken-in, undercooked middle and crispy edges. Yuck! If you live anywhere above 3,000 feet, I would suggest making a few adjustments to these double dark chocolate cupcakes. You will get the most fluffy and moist cupcakes if you take the extra time to tweak a few things!
High Altitude Adjustments for Cupcakes
For reference, I live at 5,800 feet. These adjustments would likely give you the result that you are looking for if you live within a few hundred feet of where I am at. But high altitude baking can be a lot of trial and error! I’ll provide my explanations below for each adjustment I made. This should then give you a starting point to go off of to experiment with your own ingredients at whatever elevation you live at! I would also recommend checking out this guide here.
- Flour – increase by 1 tbsp. Additional flour helps to strengthen the structure of the baked good so that it will rise correctly. At 3,500 feet, add 1 more tbsp. of flour per recipe. For each additional 1,500 feet, add one more tablespoon.
- Baking Soda – decrease to 1/2 tsp. You can see this table on King Arthur’s website for how to adjust leavening agents for higher elevations (scroll down a ways to the “Leavening” section on their site). For my elevation, I typically cut all leavening agents in half. This allows for the right chemical reactions to happen between the other ingredients for the perfect rise. If there is too much leavening within the batter, not all of it gets used up (not all of it reacts with the other ingredients), so you are left over with a soapy bitter-tasting baked good due to the excess baking soda or baking powder in the batter.
- Granulated Sugar – decrease by 1/2 tbsp. This should hold true at most high elevations. Always decrease your sugars by 1 tbsp. per cup.
- Eggs – use 3 instead of 2. This will keep the baked good from drying out at a higher baking temperature and evaporation rate. If I am baking a cake or cupcakes, I like to add one more egg to increase the liquids in the recipe. This should hold true at most higher elevations, but experiment with it, of course!
- Increase oven temperature to 360° F. Since rising and evaporation proceed more quickly at higher elevations, you will want to use a higher baking temperature to set the structure of the baked goods so that they don’t sink in the middle and dry out on the edges. I recommend starting with increasing the baking temperature stated in the recipe by 15° F and go up from there in small increments (all the way up to 25° F increase if needed).
- Decrease baking time by 5 or more minutes. This is because you will be baking at a higher temperature. You don’t want your cake to burn! I usually decrease by 5-8 minutes per 30 minutes of baking time and adjust from there. Keep a close eye on your dessert in the oven while you are experimenting with time and baking temps.
If you have specific questions on high altitude adjustments, feel free to contact me and we can work them out!
I hope that you enjoy these double dark chocolate cupcakes! They are a chocolate lover’s dream.
If you’re looking for other cake recipes, check out my Cakes & Cupcakes page!
As always, be sure to tag me in your photos on Instagram if you make my recipe or use #bucketsofyum in your photos! I love to see what you are baking.
Double Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
For the Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- ⅓ cup canola or coconut oil
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup packed brown sugar
- 2 large eggs (room temperature)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ⅔ cup full-fat buttermilk (room temperature)
- 2 tsp instant coffee/instant espresso powder
For the Dark Chocolate Buttercream
- 1 cup extra dark chocolate, chopped (I like to use 78% dark chocolate or higher)
- 1½ cups unsalted butter (room temperature)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2¼ cups powdered sugar
- 1-2 tbsp heavy cream (optional)
For the Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
- For high altitude adjustments, please see the instructions in the "Notes" section below!
- Preheat oven to 350°F and line a 12 cup muffin tin with cupcake liners. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, granulated sugar and brown sugar. Whisk in one egg at a time and add the vanilla extract.
- In a measuring cup, measure out the buttermilk and then stir in the instant coffee/espresso powder.
- Alternate mixing the dry ingredients and buttermilk mixture into the wet ingredients. Mix until just combined but do not overmix.
- Fill each cupcake liner ⅔ full with the batter. Bake for 20 minutes in the oven, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs.
- Let cupcakes cool in a pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Frost with dark chocolate buttercream (recipe below).
For the Dark Chocolate Buttercream
- In a small pan over low heat, melt the chopped dark chocolate. Stir frequently and watch the chocolate so that it does not burn. Once melted remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter on medium-high speed for 3-5 minutes, or until it becomes very pale and fluffy.
- Reduce mixer to low speed and gradually add the powdered sugar. Increase speed to medium-high and beat the powdered sugar and butter together until smooth, about 2 minutes.
- Add the vanilla and salt and beat on medium speed until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Add the cooled, melted chocolate to the mixing bowl and beat on low speed until combined. Increase speed to high and beat until light and fluffy. Add in 1 tbsp. of heavy cream at a time if frosting is too thick.
- Frost cooled cupcakes with an offset spatula or piping bag and enjoy!
- Cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
- Extra frosting can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for 1 month. When ready to use, thaw at room temperature and then beat with a mixer to restore original fluffy texture!
- Increase flour by 1 tbsp.
- Decrease baking soda by ½ tsp.
- Decrease granulated sugar by ½ tbsp.
- Use 3 eggs instead of 2
- Increase baking temperature to 360°F
- Decrease baking time by 5 minutes (I would bake for 12 – 15 minutes, depending on the heat of your oven)