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Chocolate cupcakes, with no frosting

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easy, best chocolate cupcakes recipe from scratch

It hasn’t been a month since I made a chocolate cake recipe, based on one of the best recipes I’ve found so far, and I am already craving it again. I also recently purchased lovely brioche molds from Williams-Sonoma and hadn’t had a chance to use them yet. I know that with brioche, one has to use yeast, and I seem to have unexplainable fear of yeast: I am afraid that if I make something using the process unfamiliar to me (e.i., working with yeast), I will only waste my time and end up with a failed project on my hands.

So, not being able to overcome my fear of yeast, I looked at my beautifully shaped brioche molds the other day and decided, heck with yeast-based brioche! I am using my brioche molds to make chocolate cupcakes instead!

This recipe is very easy, all it requires is basically mixing all ingredients and baking the cupcakes for the right amount of time.

They came out so pretty and delicious, so moist and flavorful, I decided to use no frosting. In fact, when I make chocolate cupcakes using this particular recipe, I prefer them topped with powdered sugar only, and no frosting. Also, this recipe produces beautifully shaped cupcakes: they don’t go concave, quite opposite the cupcakes came out very round shaped on top and pretty – part of the reason why I don’t want to top that beauty with the frosting! Of course, you can top these cupcakes with any favorite frosting of your choice! But if you feel lazy like me, – just use this recipe and you’ll have pretty, round-shaped, and super moist chocolate cupcakes that require no frosting! Save some calories along the way, too.


As I was taking these pictures against dramatic red background, my set up (red background, black cupcakes, orderly disorder) reminded me of the show I used to watch in the 90’s – Twin Peaks. I vaguely remember that there was a big red curtain prominently appearing in several episodes. If you’ve seen the show, it was pretty creepy but done in a very tasteful way. Twin Peaks had a great cast of beautiful, talented actors, tantalizing music, and a very convoluted and intricate script. So, my chocolate cupcakes against red background brought back the memories and associations related to that movie and the 90’s. I miss the 90’s.

chocolate cupcakes recipe, best chocolate cupcakes, no frosting, powdered sugar

Chocolate cupcakes recipe

This recipe is adapted from Epicurious.com

Prep time: 1 hr
Bake time: 30 min


  • 3.5 ounces fine-quality semi-sweet chocolate, such as Lindt chocolate bar (70% cacao)
  • 1 1/2 cups hot brewed coffee
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1) Preheat oven to 350 F. Chop chocolate bar in small pieces. I used Lindt chocolate bar with 70% cocoa, and it worked perfectly in this recipe.

2) Add finely chopped chocolate to the small bowl with hot coffee, stir well and let the mixture sit until all chocolate melts.

3) In a large bowl, add sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder, and mix all these ingredients well.

4) In a separate large bowl, beat 3 eggs until eggs are fluffy and thickened, and slight foam forms – about 3 minutes by hand-held mixer.

Add oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and melted chocolate coffee mixture – continue beating until all are well incorporated.

5) Add flour-cocoa-sugar mixture to the wet ingredients and mix with the mixer just until everything is mixed well. Do not over-mix.

6) Prepare cupcake cups (in my case, it was brioche cups) by spraying them generously with Baker’s spray, which contains flour.

7) Fill the cupcake cups with chocolate mixture just below the pan edges. Don’t fill them all the way to the top, because the dough will rise, as it’s baking.

8) Bake cupcakes for 20-30 minutes, until tooth pick inserted in the middle of the single cupcake comes out clean.

Here are some of these steps in photos:


Dark Chocolate bar (70%)


chopped chocolate

Chopping chocolate bar


adding chocolate-coffee mixture to egg mixture and beating with mixer

adding chocolate-coffee mixture to egg mixture and beating with mixer


mixing chocolate mixture

adding cocoa-flour-sugar mixture to wet ingredients and beating with mixer


state of the kitchen after cupcakes are made

state of the kitchen after cupcakes are made: mess!


one cup of batter left over

one cup of batter left over


cupcakes in mini brioche molds

filling brioche cups with chocolate dough mixture



cupcakes are ready!




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{ 16 comments… add one }
  • Monique November 6, 2012, 6:05 am

    Pretty phoos also!

  • Monique November 6, 2012, 6:06 am

    I meant photos..2 letters on my keyboard..are not sensitive and don’t type well:(

    • Julia November 6, 2012, 9:02 pm

      Funny! I have the same problem with my keyboard – one key does not work well, unless I press it really hard.

  • Kayle (The Cooking Actress) November 6, 2012, 9:09 am

    What goooorgeous and delicious looking chocolate cupcakes!!!! Yum yum and more yum!

    • Julia November 6, 2012, 9:02 pm

      Thank you! 🙂

  • Laura Dembowski November 7, 2012, 9:50 am

    Oh, don’t be afraid of yeast. It’s so easy to work with and homemade bread is the best. I have made brioche with no problem in the past and it is one of the best things I’ve ever had.

    • Julia November 7, 2012, 11:19 am

      My interaction with yeast at this point is limited to baking breads in a bread-maker, where I just add yeast on top of dry ingredients and turn the machine on. I am yet to conquer handling yeast with my hands, it’s on my cooking to-do list. 🙂

  • Jilly Inspired November 7, 2012, 10:53 am

    Gorgeous photos! Love the red! Looks delicious!

    • Julia November 7, 2012, 11:19 am

      Thank you.

  • brighteyedbaker November 7, 2012, 11:08 am

    I second Laura’s comment: yeast is pretty simple to work with; in fact sometimes I think it’s even easier than working with non-yeast recipes. Just go for it. 🙂 The cupcakes look great, though. I’m always looking for a rich and moist chocolate cupcake recipe, so I’ll have to keep these in mind. And I love your photos – very dramatic!

    • Julia November 7, 2012, 11:24 am

      I know it’s time for me to finally tackle the yeast. I even joined a Facebook cooking group that cooks with yeast, to help speed things along :). Hopefully, soon I will bake something with yeast other than the bread from the bread-maker. 🙂

  • Kiran @ KiranTarun.com November 7, 2012, 11:52 am

    Love the props and styling!!

    Don’t be afraid of yeast. It does wonders in baking!!

    That chocolate cupcakes are so chocolaty and moist!! Oh yum!!!

    • Julia November 7, 2012, 1:39 pm

      I know, I know (about yeast and the baking possibilities …) :). It’s just seems like a whole new learning curve to conquer.

  • Curliegyrl Free November 7, 2012, 5:11 pm

    These look so delicious, I will be trying to make these this weekend. The steps seem simple enough.

    • Julia November 8, 2012, 12:27 pm

      It’s very simple! Just mix and bake. You can also use the same recipe and measurements to bake it as a bundt cake. That way it’s even easier, you just pour the batter into one pan for a bundt cake and bake. 🙂

  • Christine @ Cooking Crusade November 17, 2012, 5:24 am

    Great photos and they look so cute in the brioche moulds 🙂

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