Chocolate Lover’s Cupcakes for the Birthday Girl

Chocolate Lover's Cupcakes

A friend of mine from out-of-town has a birthday coming up soon, and she will actually be staying at my house on that day.  It is pretty rare that we get to be together on her birthday so I wanted to make her a special treat.  I know she likes chocolate, dark chocolate especially, so I set out to make her the cupcake of her dreams.  Hence this chocolate lover’s cupcake!

Chocolate Lover's Cupcakes

The base of the cupcake is made from my go to chocolate cake recipe.  It makes the most moist, chocolaty cupcake you could ever want.  Then the middle is filled with a dark chocolate ganache.  This really adds richness, while balancing the sweetness of the frosting.  The first layer of frosting is from my Vanilla Bean Cupcakes recipe.  Full of vanilla extract and real vanilla bean seeds, it is heavenly and adds a contrast to all of the chocolate flavors.  The top layer  is a semi-sweet chocolate frosting with 2 types of chocolate incorporated into it.  I have been wanting to find a great chocolate frosting recipe, and I think this is it.  It has abundant chocolate flavor, yet is light and creamy.

Chocolate Lover's Cupcakes

Then to top it all off, I drizzled the frosting with some more dark chocolate ganache and pearl sprinkles because you just can’t have too much chocolate in a chocolate lover’s cupcake, and how can you have the cupcake of your dreams without sprinkles? Not possible.

Chocolate Lover's Cupcakes

Quite often I find myself on the fence about whether I am a chocolate lover or a vanilla lover at heart.  I guess that is why I love this cupcake so much.  It incorporates all of my favorite flavors – dark chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, vanilla beans, and sprinkles.  What more could a girl (or boy) want?

Chocolate Lover's Cupcakes

I am making it sound like I made this cupcake for me instead of my friend.  Turns out the cupcake of her dreams is also the cupcake of my dreams.   I guess that is why we get along so well.  We agree on all the important things in life!

Chocolate Lover's Cupcakes

  • Servings: 24
  • Difficulty: moderate due to time involved
  • Print

For the Cupcake:

  • 2 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 c sugar
  • 1 c vegetable oil
  • 1 c hot coffee (you won’t be able to taste the coffee at all, just makes the chocolate more pronounced)
  • 1 c whole milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, sift together dry ingredients.
  3. Add oil, coffee, and milk and mix at medium speed for 2 minutes.
  4. Add eggs and vanilla and beat 2 more minutes.  Expect batter to be thin.
  5. Line cupcake pan with approximately 24 paper liners.
  6. Pour batter into liners, making sure each liner is about 2/3 full.
  7. Cook approximately 15 to 18 minutes, testing after 18 with a toothpick to see if done.  Important not to over bake.
  8. Cool cupcakes on wire rack.
  9. After cupcakes are pretty cool, cut out a small hole in center of cupcake, about 1 inch wide and 3/4 inches deep.  A smaller serrated knife works well for this.

Recipe from

For the Ganache:

  • 10 ounces dark chocolate chips (I recommend Ghiradelli)
  • 1 c heavy cream
  1. Place chocolate pieces in a large heat proof bowl.
  2. Heat heavy cream on medium high until just before it comes to a boil. Stir constantly and watch carefully so it doesn’t come to a boil.  Remove from heat and immediately pour cream over chocolate.  Do not stir.  Let sit for 10 minutes, and then stir until completely mixed and glossy.  Allow ganache to cool.
  3. When ganache is cool, spoon into a piping bag or baggy and snip off the end.  Fill holes in cupcakes. SAVE LEFTOVER GANACHE AT ROOM TEMPERATURE FOR DRIZZLING AT THE END.
  4. Cover cupcakes and refrigerate until frosting is ready.

Ganache recipe a combination of recipes from Savory Sweet Life and Martha Stewart

For the Vanilla Butter Cream Frosting:

  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • seeds scraped from one vanilla bean
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract (or clear vanilla extract to maintain bright white color)
  • 1 1/2 pounds (24 ounces) powdered sugar, sifted (approximately one 1 lb. box plus 1 3/4 plus 1/8 cups)
  • 4-6 Tbsp. heavy cream (I used 4)
  1. Beat butter and vanilla bean seeds until soft and fluffy.
  2. Add in powdered sugar, and beat at low-speed until all lumps are gone.
  3. Add in vanilla and 3 Tbsp. heavy cream.  Beat well.
  4. Add in 1 to 3 more Tbsp. of  heavy cream one at a time and beat until of desired consistency.
  5. Place in a piping bag with a large round tip.  Squeeze onto cupcakes in a single round layer, leaving edges of cupcake showing.  Leave cupcakes out at room temperature while making chocolate frosting.

Recipe from My Baking Addiction

For the Chocolate Butter Cream:

  • 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (I used Ghiradelli chocolate chips)
  • 1/4 c cocoa powder, sifted (I used Ghiradelli)
  • 2 c unsalted butter, almost room temperature
  • 1/4 c half and half
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 c pre-sifted confectioners sugar (sift first then measure out 3 cups from sifted powdered sugar)
  1. Melt chocolate in a microwave safe bowl in the microwave in 15 second intervals (important so the chocolate doesn’t seize up).  Stir after each interval, being careful not to overheat it.  Set aside to cool.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until creamy, about 2 minutes on medium low-speed.
  3. Add half and half and beat until mixture is light and fluffy, but start on low-speed or milk will go everywhere.
  4. Add all the cooled melted chocolate, and then beat for about 3 minutes.  Add the vanilla and beat to incorporate.
  5. Add sifted cocoa powder and powdered sugar in half cup increments, beating well to incorporate, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.  Beat until it is as light as you would like it, but it is more of a soft set frosting.
  6. Pipe on top of the vanilla frosting using large round tip.

Recipe from American Heritage Cooking

For the Dark Chocolate Ganache Drizzle:

  • leftover ganache from above
  • piping bag
  • pearl sprinkles
  1. Place leftover ganache into piping bag without tip.
  2. Cut a tiny hole in end of tip.
  3. Drizzle ganache over cupcakes.
  4. Sprinkle with pearl sprinkles if desired.
  5. Refrigerate until ready to serve.  Make sure you set them out 1 hour prior to serving.
  6. Can be frozen for up to one month.  Thaw out for approximately 4 hours before serving.

Chocolate Lover’s Cupcake created by Cook AZ I Do









About Shari

My name is Shari, and I am an Arizona native and married mother of 3 who loves to cook and bake and figure out how to garden successfully in our suburban home in the desert. On this blog you will find a combination of savory and sweet recipes that have been tested by me, along with many tips to help you be successful. I hope you enjoy them! (
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41 Responses to Chocolate Lover’s Cupcakes for the Birthday Girl

  1. They look sensational Shari. I’m sure your friend is going to be over the moon when she see’s them. Not to mention when she bites into one! 🙂 🙂

  2. CakePants says:

    These cupcakes look glorious, and they are indeed a chocolate lover’s dream come true!! I wish I had one (or two!) of these for dessert tonight!

  3. Becca Lin says:

    Wow, these are so cute and delightful! They seems delicious 🙂

    • Shari says:

      Thank you very much, Becca Lin! It was fun making them. The design just kind of evolved as I went. I appreciate you taking the time to stop by!

  4. Those cupcakes are so beautiful it’s like they could easily have been done in Martha Stewarts kitchen. They look perfect and love all that delicious chocolate. Beautiful work!!

  5. This cupcake is right up my alley. Chocolate and more chocolate. Your decorating is beautiful too. If I was the BD girl I would feel very special!

    • Shari says:

      Thank you very much, Julie! Chocolate and more chocolate is my motto, too!:) I had fun making them for her. Now I just have to try to forget they’re in the freezer so they will still be here when she is! I appreciate you stopping by!

  6. nancyc says:

    These look super-yummy! Very pretty cupcakes!

    • Shari says:

      Thanks a lot, Nancy! I was very pleased with how they turned out. Every once in awhile something works like you want it to. I appreciate your comment!

  7. Teresa says:

    Hey, Shari, I want to be invited to THAT birthday party! 🙂

    • Shari says:

      The more the merrier, Teresa!:) I can tell from your recipes you appreciate sweets like I do. These were fun to make. Thanks for stopping by!

  8. These cupcakes look beautiful 🙂

  9. Kay says:

    This out-of-town birthday girl can’t wait to try them! I feel so honored already and it isn’t my birthday yet! They look gorgeous and I can almost taste the vanilla bean and dark chocolate. Yum! Indeed we do agree on the important things in life! Thank you, my friend!

    • Shari says:

      You are so welcome, Kay! I was hoping you would see this post. I’m looking forward to spending your birthday with you. Thanks for your comment. See you soon!

  10. Laura says:

    Shari these cupcakes are FAB!! Nice job =)

  11. These are pretty fabulous, and definitely birthday-worthy. I love the cross-section shot!

    • Shari says:

      Thank you so much, Sue! I included that shot in order to show the different layers. I always like it when a blogger includes a photo that shows the texture or insides of a recipe. Your comment is much appreciated!

  12. That does it. I’m coming to your house on my next birthday.

    • Shari says:

      Just let me know when that is so I can get your cupcakes ready!:) Arizona is a great place to visit. Hopefully your birthday isn’t in the summer, though! Thanks for making me smile today!

  13. These are absolutely adorable!!! I love the double buttercream frostings and the gorgeous, yet simple, decorations on top! I’m glad you liked my chocolate buttercream recipe!

    • Shari says:

      Thank you so much, Lindsey! I really did like it. It was so light and creamy and chocolatey. I appreciate you taking the time to stop by and comment!

  14. cheri says:

    Hi Shari, your friend is so lucky, these are a work of art. Love the double buttercream frosting!

    • Shari says:

      Hi Cheri, Thank you so much for your sweet comments! I had a lot of fun with these. My kitchen was a disaster afterwards, but it was worth it. I appreciate you stopping by!

  15. Diana Rambles says:

    Is it wrong to want one now, for breakfast??? YUM! Shared.

  16. rozpaige says:

    Oh you are such wonderful friend to make these amazing cupcakes for her birthday! WOW! I love the 4 levels of yumminess, especially as a chocoholic! I’m saving this recipe for sure! Thank you for sharing Shari! PS: My camera died yesterday and I was wondering if you can tell me what camera you use. I will probably be shopping for a camera very soon!
    Thanks Shari,

    • Shari says:

      You are welcome, Roz! I wish I could give you one. They are a lot of work, but for a special friend or event are worth it. Sorry about your camera! I use a Canon Rebel XS. I like it a lot. There is so much more I need to learn about photography, but this camera has been great for me. I hope you find one you like!

  17. This is torture for me!! 😦

    • Shari says:

      I know, it’s hard to look at pictures of food when you don’t have the food sitting right in front of you! 😦 I miss these cupcakes. I need to make them again.

  18. Patricia says:

    Can I leave out the coffee in the recipe

    • Shari says:

      You can just use water, but it won’t have the depth of flavor the coffee gives it. I hope you enjoy it whatever you decide to do!

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