Famous Chocolate Cupcakes

Today, our month of food writers’ “famous recipes” continues with these rich chocolate cupcakes from Kamran at The Sophisticated Gourmet. This easy recipe only requires one bowl, and would be the perfect surprise for any chocolate lover’s birthday…

Famous Chocolate Cupcakes
by Kamran Siddiqi of The Sophisticated Gourmet

These cupcakes are as difficult as throwing a boxed cake mix together. Because I find any excuse possible to not dirty another bowl or spoon when baking, I’m happy to say that this recipe doesn’t require much cookware. It’s a one-bowl recipe that can be made, simply, with a bowl and a spoon or a silicone spatula. It can also be made using a stand mixer (which in this case, I find to be a bit more work), or food processor. Although they are effortless to put together, these cupcakes are of the finest breed — incredibly moist and flavorful, just as chocolate cupcakes should be.

Famous Chocolate Cupcakes

Best Chocolate Cupcakes

Best Chocolate Cupcakes

Best Chocolate Cupcakes

Recipe: Famous Chocolate Cupcakes

You’ll need:

For the cake:
1 cup granulated white sugar
¾ cup plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
¼ cup plus 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
¾ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt

1 egg, room temperature
½ cup sour cream, room temperature
¼ cup sunflower oil
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract

½ cup / 120mL boiling water

For the frosting:
6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ cup milk
2 ¼ cups confectioners’ sugar
¾ tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp golden syrup / light corn syrup

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.

In a large heatproof mixing bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar, all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Crack in the egg, spoon in the sour cream and pour in the oil and vanilla. Mix with a wooden spoon or silicon spatula (which I prefer) just until smooth and combined. Pour in the boiling water, and slowly mix, starting from the center working your way out (this makes it easier to mix without the splattering). The batter will be liquid-y, but fear not, this is normal.

Divide the batter evenly among the lined cups, using a spatula to help scrape the bowl, filling each lined cup with 3 tablespoons of batter, or about halfway full.

Bake for 15-19 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through, until a cake tester or a wooden toothpick inserted into the center of each cupcake comes out clean.

Transfer cupcakes in pans to wire racks for about 10 minutes until the tins are cool to the touch. Once the tins are cool, remove the cupcakes from the pans, and transfer to the wire racks. Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting.

In a large bowl (or in a stand mixer), combine the melted butter and cocoa powder powder until smooth. Now, alternately mix in the milk and powdered sugar, beating (on medium speed) to spreading consistency. Add another tablespoon or so of milk, if necessary. Mix in vanilla and golden syrup / light corn syrup.

Note: The frosting recipe provided can easily frost all 16 cupcakes. However, if you’d prefer to have tall “hats” of chocolate frosting on each of your cupcakes, as pictured in this post, 1 ½-ing the recipe will be necessary.

To frost the cupcakes, I use a small off-set spatula (you can use a butter knife without a serrated edge, if you don’t have one) at an angle to spread the frosting smoothly around the cake. Make sure to frost to the very edges (doing this is not only an excuse to have more frosting on your cupcakes — yum! — but it also helps keep the cupcakes moist). Then, I use a cake spatula to create the indent in the center. You can shave some dark chocolate on top using a vegetable peeler (or you can use a microplane or one of those manual cheese graters that they use at Italian restaurants to grate Parmesan), and you’re done.

Famous Chocolate Cupcakes

Thank you so much, Kamran!

P.S. More recipes, including four-ingredient fudge and Nutella brownies.

(Photos and recipe by Kamran Siddiqi. This series is edited by Caroline Donofrio.)