Recipe Review

This Blogger Spent a Year Developing Her Chocolate Cupcake Recipe — And It’s Perfect

updated Feb 11, 2021
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Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

Can you really have a cupcake showdown and not include a recipe from the Cupcake Project? The blog, created in 2007 by recipe developer Stef Pollack, is packed with baking tips, instructional videos, and lots and lots of cupcake recipes. Given her expertise, I couldn’t wait to try Stef’s “best” chocolate cupcakes.

I was excited to try this recipe from the minute I looked at the ingredient list. It calls for both butter and oil, as well as sour cream, which always add more moisture and a bit of tangy flavor. It also calls for the eggs and butter to be at room temperature, which I’ve learned goes a long way in making a light and tender cake. Would these cupcakes be as good as I anticipated? Here’s my honest review.

Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

How to Make Cupcake Project’s Chocolate Cupcakes

Sift the flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder into a medium-sized bowl and whisk to combine. Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until fully combined. Next, melt the chocolate on the stovetop or in the microwave.

When the chocolate has cooled, add it to the butter and sugar and mix until combined. Beat in the eggs and egg yolks until combined, then add in the oil, vanilla, and sour cream. Mix in the dry ingredients in three batches, then add the water just until combined. Use an ice cream scoop to fill lined muffin cups 2/3 full, then bake for about 18 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the tin and cool on a wire rack.

For the frosting, beat the butter on high speed until fluffy. Mix in the cocoa powder, then slowly mix in the powdered sugar. Beat in the vanilla and salt. Pipe or spread onto cupcakes.

Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

My Honest Review of Cupcake Project’s Chocolate Cupcakes

These cupcakes were absolutely flawless. They were so soft and fluffy they were almost cloudlike, but they were still incredibly moist with an intense chocolate-y flavor.

Stef says she spent a year developing this recipe and that it was tested by over fifty bakers, and you can tell! Every decision feels purposeful — sifting the dry ingredients to remove any clumps of cocoa powder, using both butter for flavor and oil for tenderness, adding sour cream and extra egg yolks for more moisture and fat, calling for melted chocolate and cocoa powder to help the chocolate flavor shine through. I also appreciated all of her tips, like subbing yogurt for sour cream or how to incorporate coffee.

Even though this was the most complex recipe of the bunch with the longest ingredient list, it was these details that made it so delicious. In my opinion, the extra effort is totally worth it. Honestly, they’re so good they don’t even need frosting, but the super-smooth buttercream was spot-on, too. This is, hands-down, the only chocolate cupcake recipe I’ll be using from now on.

Credit: Nicole Rufus

If You’re Making Cupcake Project’s Chocolate Cupcakes, a Few Tips

  1. Use whatever kind of chocolate you’ve got on hand. As long as it doesn’t have any mix-ins (like dried fruit or nuts), you can use whatever type of chocolate is easiest for you to get your hands on.
  2. Add some coffee if you like a hint of bitterness. Add a teaspoon of espresso powder or instant coffee granules to the dry ingredients, or swap out the water for room-temperature brewed coffee.

Rating: 10/10

Have you tried Cupcake Project’s chocolate ganache cupcake recipe? Tell us what you thought in the comments!