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Cocoa Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream in floral paper wrappers with a giraffe topper

Cocoa Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream

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Whip up some classic Cocoa Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream when you’re dying for some old-fashioned comfort food! Perfect for a special snack, a birthday treat or just a chocolate craving that won’t go away!

Cocoa Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream in floral paper wrappers with a giraffe topper

Cocoa Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream

Nick drew a short straw when it came to his birthday this year. It landed on a Monday…the first day of his college finals. Insert pouty face. I reminded him that he had to eat dinner, so we planned to drive down treat him to a meal at the restaurant of his choice on Sunday night (no fine dining required). I whipped up a batch of Cocoa Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream for him to share with the other hooligans on his dorm floor. Apparently they didn’t last long. Teenage boys do like cake. Especially when it’s not from the campus cafeteria…I think even the dreaded meatloaf of his childhood was a step up from the entrees he faced each night for dinner.

I was overly generous with the buttercream…and the boys gave them rave reviews…especially the icing. Nick is moving into an apartment with 3 friends next year. I have a feeling I’ll be taking full meals down to them…all Nick has mastered so far is the peanut butter sandwich.

When the picnic theme was announced for this week’s Sunday Supper, I knew these delectable cupcakes would be perfect. I had just purchased a cupcake carrier, and could see arriving with a couple dozen of these to a Memorial Day gathering. Around here, we have the Indy 500…and the city is just hopping with festivities. And I always bring a dessert unless otherwise assigned…and typically something chocolate. Scroll down to see all the the extraordinary treats my friends are bringing to the picnic…and I hope some of them will inspire you to create a special treat for the holiday.

PRO-Tip: My baking friend, Jenni,  of Pastry Chef Online, offered me a solution for the air holes in my buttercream frosting. She suggested using the paddle attachment instead of the whisk. Too late this time, but it will be my new technique!

Cocoa Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream on a small white tray

Check out these other recipes for your chocolate cravings:

My No-Fail Chocolate Fudge is a family favorite, this Chocolate Raspberry Pavlova is elegant and delicious, and this Chocolate Souffle Cake is flourless and a beauty topped with cream and berries!

Cocoa Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream in floral paper wrappers with a giraffe topper

The Recipe: Cocoa Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream

Old-fashioned frosted cocoa cupcakes that are perfect for any occasion!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Yield 24 cupcakes


For cupcakes:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk or sour milk (put one tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup and fill with milk to the one cup mark. Let sit a few minutes before using)
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For buttercream:

  • 1 cup butter (at room temperature)
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate (melted and cooled)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line two 12 cup muffin tins with paper liners and set aside.
  2. Whisk together dry ingredients in large bowl. Add eggs, buttermilk, water, oil and vanilla. Beat with mixer for about 2 minutes on medium speed, scraping down sides of bowl. Batter will be thin. Fill each liner 2/3-3/4 full with batter.
  3. Bake 15 minutes or till toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool for a few minutes in tins, then remove to cooling rack to cool completely.
  4. To make buttercream, put butter and shortening in the bowl of your stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, whip on medium-high till light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  5. Reduce speed to low and slowly add in powdered sugar. When the sugar is incorporated, mix in vanilla, then the chocolate. Increase mixer speed to medium high and beat till light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
  6. Ice cupcakes as desired.
  7. Yield: 24-30 cupcakes
  8. Total time: about 1 1/2 hours

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 cupcake

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 444Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 42mgSodium: 307mgCarbohydrates: 55gFiber: 1gSugar: 45gProtein: 3g


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Cocoa Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream on a multi tiered dessert stand

A Few More Picnic Recipes You’ll Love:

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57 comments on “Cocoa Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream”

  1. You set my heart at odds with your story. While I dread the day that Dudette leaves the house for college, I also can’t wait to bring her and her friends treats and meals! Happy birthday to Nick!

  2. Love these little goodies!! And my daughter pointed to the computer screen and said “Giffy’s” Which she calls Giraffe’s πŸ™‚ Now I need to make them! GL making some amazing dishes for your son and his roomies next semester Momma!

  3. One of the down sides of living overseas is not being about to bake and cook for my girls and I miss that terribly. What a blessing for Nick that you are able to bring him sweet treats and be there to celebrate his birthday. Those cupcakes are just perfect for a chocolately rich celebration!

  4. Mmmm – I can imagine how much those were appreciated by teenage boys or anyone!!! They look so lovely. Happy Memorial Day to you and yours.

  5. Beautiful cupcakes! Chocolate cakes go down well at any time with me! Happy #SundaySupper!

  6. Yummmy! There is something about buttermilk that makes cake so extra delicious. And I agree with Anne, when it comes to frosting, the thicker the better =)

    So cute that your son has mastered the PB sandwich…Might be a smart strategy tho’ As long as he doesn’t cook, he can enjoy Mom’s catering service and marvelous meals =)

  7. I have no doubt the cupcakes were a big hit! Have a great Memorial Day:@)

  8. They look lovely πŸ˜€

    Have a wonderful Sunday! πŸ˜€

  9. Busy days ahead , Lizzy πŸ˜€ Those cupcakes look pretty ! For me , the thicker the frosting the better !

  10. Followed u at BlogLovin & would love to have u follow me too, dear! Strangely, when I checked your blog posts under blogger reading list, last post was 4 mths ago :<

    These bakes look like some wonderful x'mas treats!

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