My very favorite basic chocolate cupcake recipe hails from the queen of cupcakes, Glorious Treats. However, I make a couple modifications – I like to add the dry ingredients to the wet, instead of vice versa. I also incorporate vanilla paste for its wonderful flavor.
This basic cupcake recipe can be modified to your heart’s desire – add orange zest, extract, or Grand Marnier for chocolate orange cupcakes. Or consider adding some instant coffee powder or Kahlua for mocha flavor! It’s a great mother recipe.
And, of course, my trick is that I like to create a simple syrup flavor that matches or complements whatever the cupcake flavor is, so if it’s a chocolate orange cupcake I would probably make orange simple syrup to intensify the flavor and keep the cupcakes moist. Or, if I wanted them to be super chocolatey, I might add cocoa powder or chocolate extract to my simple syrup to make it extra rich.
Without further ado, here’s the recipe!
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon vanilla paste
- 1 cup boiling water
- Line muffin tin with paper liners. Heat oven to 350*F.
- Beat eggs, milk, oil and vanilla on medium speed for one minute.
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Gradually incorporate into the wet ingredients while mixing on low.
- Stir in boiling water (the batter will be thin, don’t worry, this is right).
- Fill liners 2/3 full with batter.
- Bake cupcakes for approximately 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean.
- Cool completely on wire rack before frosting.
- The original recipe says that you should add the wet ingredients to the dry. I've found I have greater success doing the opposite, as it results in fewer lumps.
- I prefer to fill the cupcake liners with a small cookie scoop (two "scoops" of batter per cupcake mold) or by filling a squeezable bottle with the batter and "squeezing" it into each mold. Just make sure the tip has a large enough hole to get the batter through, but not too big (or it'll gush out.)