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Perfect Chocolate Cupcakes lined up on a white tray

Perfect Chocolate Cupcakes

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 These Perfect Chocolate Cupcakes were moist and tender and the rich ganache and malted milk balls were the crowning glory.  Plus, they are perfectly portable, which makes them ideal for so many occasions!

It was the weekend before Nick’s birthday, so we loaded up the family and these Perfect Chocolate Cupcakes and headed to his college campus. We took him and his buddies out for a steak dinner, but they all had room for dessert back at his apartment. The boys all seemed to have no trouble digging right in (they basically have bottomless pits for stomachs), and from Nick’s report, the dozen cupcakes disappeared quickly. 

Perfect Chocolate Cupcakes lined up on a white tray

Perfect Chocolate Cupcakes

It was a joy to spend time with the whole family plus Nick’s friends to celebrate his special day. I know as they grow older, we’ll have less and less opportunities to do so. I am grateful for all the time I get to spend with my children. So on this Mother’s Day, I was glad to share a recipe that reflects my mothering! Good food is one of the ways I show my family how much I love them. This best chocolate cupcake recipe was no exception!

Perfect Chocolate Cupcakes - Terrific chocolate cupcakes with a swirl of decadent chocolate buttercream

Mother’s Day Tribute

Like me, my mom had a huge recipe collection. From cookbooks, to clippings, to recipe cards from her friends and family, they filled our family kitchen. I treasure those index cards with handwritten recipes she’d share after a visit. She was a marvelous cook, but I was always the baker in the family. So today, these luscious cupcakes are to honor my mom and her sweet tooth along with Nick on his 22nd birthday.

Perfect Chocolate Cupcakes - Terrific chocolate cupcakes with a swirl of decadent chocolate buttercream

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This is the first Mother’s Day without my beautiful, talented, giving mom. Bittersweet as I’m glad she is with her beloved parents, sister and  nephew, but sad for those of us she’s left behind. Cheers to you, Gretchen!

Perfect Chocolate Cupcakes Photo and text collage for Pinterest Mom and Katie

My mom with her only granddaughter, Katie.

Mom with me and my sister, Katie

My mom and me with my new little sister, another Katie!

Maddy's Baptism

Baptism of  her fourth daughter, Madeleine.

Check out my Cakes and Cupcakes board on Pinterest!


Perfect Chocolate Cupcakes

Perfect Chocolate Cupcakes

The BEST chocolate cupcakes topped with outrageously delicious chocolate ganache frosting!

Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Yield 12 cupcakes


For cake:

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For frosting:

  • 1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup Dutch processed cocoa
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 8 ounces milk chocolate, melted and cooled


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter with the vegetable oil and water over low heat.
  3. In a large bowl, sift the flour with the sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Add the melted butter mixture and beat with a handheld mixer at low speed until smooth. Add the egg and beat until incorporated, then add the buttermilk and vanilla and beat until smooth, scraping the bottom and side of the bowl. Pour the batter into the lined muffin tins, filling them about three-fourths full.
  4. Bake the cupcakes in the center of the oven for about 25 minutes, until springy and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool slightly, then transfer them to a rack to cool completely.
  5. To make frosting, process the butter, sugar, cocoa and salt in a food processor till smooth, scraping the bowl as needed. Add the corn syrup and vanilla and process till combined. Add the chocolate and pulse till smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Pipe or spread a mound of frosting on each cupcake. Top with a piece of candy if desired.
  6. Makes a generous amount of frosting for 12 cupcakes.


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52 comments on “Perfect Chocolate Cupcakes”

  1. Ahh, chocolate porn! Time to give ourselves a treat with these and have a dose of the happy hormone for a stress-free Sunday 🙂 Thanks a bunch, Liz!!

    Julie & Alesah
    Gourmet Getaways xx

  2. What irresistible cupcakes, I love the ganache and malt ball topping

  3. Yummy! These cupcakes really look perfect!

  4. I thought about you today as I saw families celebrating. The first year after my mother died was the toughest for me. I just didn’t want it to happen even though it was her choice.

    She would love your cupcakes!

  5. Today when I read your post dear I think in my mom too.
    she is ok now but she has 85 years. How difficult if you are so close of your mom like you and your.
    my mom loves cook too but know is difficult to her so she asked me when want something.
    lizzy Im sure your mom is always with you.
    these chocolate cupcakes are wonderful and perfect.
    A big hug my dear friend!

  6. Your cupcakes look amazing Liz, I’m sure they were a big hit! Happy Mother’s Day, take care:@)

  7. I love those old photos! Thank you for sharing them and this great cupcake recipe.

  8. It looks stunning Liz ! Nick must be very happy wiht this perfect cupcakes ! They are brillant and beautiful and I would like so much have one with my cofee 😉
    Lovely pictures, thanks for sharing and Have a nice mother’s day 🙂

  9. Ahhh those cupcakes are gorgeous, Liz! That ganache looks so rich! I think these truly are the perfect chocolate cupcake! Lovely photos of your family. Hope you have a wonderful Mother’s Day! : )

  10. Happy Mother’s Day Liz. These cupcakes look and sound delightful, my bother adored malt balls as a kid, so I know he’d love these.

  11. Love the photos of mom, hard time for your after just losing her. Your cupcakes are simply divine!!

  12. I’m so sorry that you lost your mom, but at least you have great memories of her. Happy Mother’s Day, Liz, and I hope you have a great day celebrating with these cupcakes

  13. Happy Mother’s Day to you! Your son must have loved these cupcakes. The frosting looks delicious!

  14. Thanks for sharing a part of your mom with us. And thanks for the chocolate cupcakes – they look wonderful!!

  15. Thanks for sharing your family stories with us. I think the sharing is a nice way of celebrating and honoring the wonderful people in our lives. Happy Mother’s Day to you!

  16. Liz you’re amazing!
    As in the day you spread the word, I’m still very sorry for your loss.
    Happy mother’s day.

  17. Happy Mother’s Day Liz!!! All mothers deserve these gorgeous cupcakes!

  18. Those malted milk balls on top are just perfect, Liz! How great that you were able to drive to school to spend Nick’s birthday with him and his friends. We’ve been lucky because our daughters have either Christmas or summer birthdays but it starts to get tricky when they graduate and have to work! Happy Mother’s Day to you!

  19. Would you believe that I’ve never made real, home made chocolate cupcakes? Sinful, I know. Saving this to remedy that. I definitley got my mom’s genes for saving recipes in all forms, even menus 😉

  20. These chocolate cupcakes do sound perfect! Malted milk ball and all!

  21. No wonder they all have bottomless pitts for stomachs, I’d definitely make room for 1 (or 10) of these too! 🙂 Can’t beat the rich indulgence you get from chocolate. These look so decadent.

  22. Great post, Liz, and Happy Mother’s Day!

  23. It’s amazing what a positive influence our mothers can be without even realizing it. Bless you and loved the tribute to your mom. Oh and those cupcakes, I am ready because I have a bottomless pit when it comes to chocolate.

  24. Lovely, lovely photos of your mother, Liz <3 Bet she's smiling from Heaven right now on you and Nick and company as you enjoy the Mother Day's chocolate cupcakes <3 P.s. Love the garnish of malted balls…I'm inspired to try out the idea =)

  25. These cupcakes look wonder. I love the pictures that you shared. I am sorry to hear that this is the first Mother’s Day without your mother, I am sure it was a difficult one. I am sure that your children made it a happy Mother’s Day for you . Happy Mother’s Day!

  26. Those look awesome! I can see why they are the “perfect” cupcake 🙂

  27. I am a chocoholic and these sound like they may just satisfy my sweet tooth. Thanks for sharing. Happy Mother’s Day.

  28. These are definitely PERFECT! xo

  29. It is a bittersweet celebration for you Liz, glad you could celebrate Nick’s birthday too. The cupcakes are magnificent! And love the old pictures. I wonder what this digital generation will show their kids in thirty years!

  30. It’s safe to say my chocolate cravings have definitely kicked in after seeing this post. These cupcakes look wicked.

  31. Happy Mother’s Day. I love chocolate + chocolate cupcakes, there is never too much chocolate for me. It’s amazing how much college students can eat, you’re right about the bottomless pits!

  32. These cupcakes are sheer perfection, Liz! So decadent and fudgy 🙂 And the pictures are gorgeous!

  33. What a nice trip. I bet the crumbs were flying as they were devouring these delicious cupcakes! What beautiful pictures of your mom, Liz. I hope you Mother’s Day was filled with love and happy memories <3

  34. Those are some beautiful cupcakes! Tim would love the malted milk ball on top!

  35. Nick had one very nice birthday with Jankos Little Z and those wonderful chocolate cupcakes! And I agree, those boys all have bottomless pits at these ages…good golly they can eat! 🙂 Love the photos of your mom…the one with her and Katie is priceless for sure, as are they all.

  36. Perfect cupcakes for all our perfect mothers <3

  37. These cupcakes are so beautifully done, who can possibly resist? I need one with a cold glass of milk, please. 🙂 ~s

  38. I do not think there is anything better than chocolate ganache frosting! These look gorgeous!

  39. ANYTHING chocolate is perfect in my book 🙂

  40. The beautiful pictures of your mom are treasured memories, thank you for sharing. I can see why these cupcakes disappeared quickly, that ganache sent these way over the top!

  41. If I weren’t a very taken lady, I’d so be all about your son Nick because we clearly have the same taste. These cupcakes are OH AMAZING!!! The frosting looks luscious and they’re just perfectly decadent! nom nom nommmm

  42. Those do look perfect! I hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day.

  43. love the photos of your mom just beautiful thanks for sharing

  44. what a great moment in time with Katie. That photo is precious of your mom, she is beaming with joy!. I know how she feels was the first girl in my family all boys and now the girl is my granddaughter so far and its such a joy having a little girl around!
    Those cupcakes are divine!

  45. awesome recipe and i like it

  46. These were so moist! the flavor was perfect and the frosting was the perfect addition to the top of them!

  47. These are perfect for birthday parties and holidays!

  48. Such delicious flavor! And I love the presentation! Pinning these for future birthday gatherings!

  49. My kids really can’t stop eating this!! So delish!

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