Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream

Super chocolatey cupcakes perfect for celebrating Chocolate Cupcake Day! This is my favorite vanilla buttercream. It's the perfect vanilla frosting that's simple, creamy and smooth and tastes unbelievable on chocolate cupcakes! 

For Frosting 

  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, soften to room to temperature
  • 4-5 cups (480-600g) confectioners sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) heavy cream at room temperature (otherwise it can turn out grainy or separate)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (or pure vanilla extract)
  • Pinch of salt to taste

1. With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add 4 and 1/2 cups confectioners sugar, the heavy cream and vanilla extract. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to medium-high speed and beat for 2 full minutes. Taste. Add a pinch of salt if frosting is too sweet. I always add 1/8 teaspoon.

2. Adjust if needed: You can control the consistency at this point - add up to 1/2 cup more confectioners sugar if frosting is too thin or more heavy cream if frosting is too thick (add only 1 Tablespoon at a time, beat together then taste and add more if desired.)

3. Use immediately or cover tightly and store for up to 1 week in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in the freezer. After freezing, thaw in the refrigerator then beat the frosting on medium speed for a few seconds so it's creamy again. After thawing or refrigerating, beating in a splash of heavy cream or milk will help thin the frosting out again, if needed.

Quantity: This recipe is enough to frost 12-16 cupcakes so you will want to double this for 30 cupcakes. 

Confectioners Sugar: If your confectioners sugar is particularly lumpy, I recommend sifting it 1-2x before measuring and using.

For Cupcakes

  • Butter, for greasing the pans
  • Parchment for lining pans
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups Hershey cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup low-fat buttermilk, shaken
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee, mild roasted, cooled to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit 

If making cupcakes, line cupcake pan with 24 paper liners.

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitting with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with with a rubber spatula. The batter will be very thin. 

Use the a retractable ice cream scoop, pour into the cupcake liners. Toss chocolate chips on top of the batter. 

Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Let cool and frost!