My New Year’s Eve countdown cupcakes were inspired by Sweetapolita’s Dark & Dreamy Double Fudge Cupcakes. If you’re looking for a treat worth staying up until midnight for, these will definitely do the trick! These midnight cocoa cupcakes are delicate and insanely moist. Top them with sour cream frosting that tastes like pudding and feels like a cloud, and you won’t be able to wait until the ball drops to have one!
Why I love this project
I love these midnight cocoa cupcakes because they’re always a big hit at parties. As a rule, you can never go wrong with chocolate when baking for a crowd, but these little cakes are special. I promise they’ll be gone long before midnight.
Tips, techniques + takeaways
Initially, I had trouble with my cocoa cupcakes overflowing in the cupcake tin. After a bit of research, I learned that 3 things could be the culprit: buttermilk, oven temp &/or my convection fan. Some say that a convection fan can “blow” the batter to one side causing it to overflow. But I didn’t see a change when I turned mine off. I still had a mess of cupcakes that were partially baked and pooling over the sides of my tin. So, I turned the fan back on, cranked up the heat a bit and tried once more. Tada! The increase in temp gave my cupcakes the boost they needed to rise quickly and set before they had the chance to ooze over. I definitely recommend trying one cupcake before baking a whole batch. You’ll know quickly if you need to make any adjustments. If you’re still having trouble, try substituting heavy cream for your buttermilk. I haven’t tried it but the thicker texture of the cream might also aid in a more stable batter.
I used an Ateco round #808 tip to pipe 3 concentric domes on each cupcake. This technique works well with this super smooth sour cream frosting. I love how they shimmer and shine!
Finish with your choice of sprinkles. I used edible stars for some New Year’s Eve flair!
Tools for success
Moist Midnight Cocoa Cupcakes
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup extra dark OR black cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
- 1/3 cup coffee, room temperature
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 egg, room temperature
- Preheat oven to 375°. Line cupcake pan with brown paper liners.
- In the large bowl, sift flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl or large measuring cup, combine buttermilk, coffee, oil, egg and vanilla.
- Add liquid mixture to dry ingredients and whisk until smooth, about 1 minute.
- Divide batter among liners filling each about 1/2 - 2/3 full.
- Bake until a wooden pick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean, about 15-18 minutes.
- Let cupcakes cool in pan for about 10 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
TIP: Try a test cupcake before baking the entire batch. If it overflows, increase your oven temperature by 25º. The increase in heat will help these delicate cupcakes rise faster reducing the risk of overflowing batter.
Dark Chocolate Sour Cream Dream Frosting
- 18 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (2 sticks + 2 tablespoons)
- 1 cup icing sugar
- 1/3 cup premium dark cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup hot water
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 pinch salt
- 5 ounces premium dark chocolate chips, melted
- In a bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- Sift together icing sugar and cocoa powder. Set aside.
- Reduce to speed to low, and add the icing sugar, cocoa powder, water, sour cream, vanilla, and salt. Mix until incorporated, about 1 minute. Increase speed to medium and beat for 2 more minutes.
- Add melted chocolate and beat on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute.