Back in my earlier days of blogging I felt the need to follow a bunch of “rules” that don’t really actually exist. I thought I had to post a perfect balance of sweet and savory recipes, and that I shouldn’t use too many of the same ingredients in recipes posted back to back.
Now I realize the best thing I can do is to simply share with you what truly excites me the most. That usually comes in the form of homemade baking recipes and CHOCOLATE. Lots and lots of chocolate. Always and forever.
The chocolate in these Chocolate Blackout Cupcakes hits you immediately. Especially if you take a big enough bite to reach the chocolate ganache filling right off the bat. There’s so much goodness in both taste and texture happening here that I encourage you to fully savor every moment.
Also since we’re getting closer to Halloween, I think these cupcakes would be the perfect treat to bring to any Halloween party! You could even make white chocolate spiderwebs to decorate these with.
Chocolate Blackout Cupcakes Recipe Tips
For a really dark color and rich chocolate flavor, I like to use a dark cocoa powder product like Hershey’s Special Dark. It’s actually a combination of both natural and Dutch cocoa so you kind of get the best of both worlds!
*UPDATE: It’s been brought to my attention that recently (in 2022), Hershey’s changed their Special Dark cocoa powder product and it is now only made from Dutch process cocoa powder. I prefer a Dutch process cocoa powder for this recipe to achieve a deeper color, and because it will typically contain more cocoa fat, resulting in more moist and tender cupcakes. If you must use natural cocoa powder, that will work as well.
This recipe calls for vegetable oil instead of melted butter. Oil creates an ultra moist texture and open, slightly spongy crumb which is perfect for chocolate cupcakes. Since oil is liquid at room temperature, it gives the palate a sensation of moisture even though it contains no water! Give your vegetable oil a sniff before using to make sure it’s fresh. Feel free to use melted coconut oil instead of vegetable oil.
The more whole eggs a cake recipe has, the richer it’ll be. For this recipe I added in an extra egg yolk. This adds a touch more more richness, chewiness, and structure so the cupcake can stand up to a generous frosting.
This may seem like a strange ingredient, but I promise you won’t taste it in the final result. It simply helps to activate the baking soda to create tall fluffy cupcakes.
Preventing Cupcake Liners from Sticking
These are my favorite cupcake liners that basically never stick. They’re usually sold at Target as well. If sticky liners are a common problem for you, check out this helpful blog post.
Filling the Cupcakes
Possibly the best part of this recipe, filling with a hidden pocket of rich and fudgy chocolate ganache is made quick and easy with one simple tool: an apple corer. Use the corer to evenly remove the center of each cupcake. Then take a “chef’s sample” of the core to make sure the cupcake turned out nicely 😉
This buttercream has a LOT of chocolate in it, both in the form of melted chocolate and cocoa powder. It’s really thick and rich. You can play around adding in more cream to thin it out, or more powdered sugar to thicken it up. I also have more tips in my FREE Buttercream Guide here!.
Interested in learning more about the science of baking?
Check out my online baking class, The Magic of Baking! All of the video lessons, downloads, and side-by-side comparison photos are ready and waiting for you right now. It’ll show you how and why baking recipes work so you can bake with complete confidence. Learn more here.
Hi! I absolutely love this recipe and have made it a few times to RAVE reviews. My son has requested this for his birthday, but as a cake. Would you recommend doubling or tripling this recipe for a 2 layer cake? Thank you!
Hi Danielle! Yay! We’re so happy to hear that your son loves this cake so much. Tessa has a super handy guide to help turn cake into cupcakes and vice versa – check it out here! It will depend on your pan size, but if you’re using an 8-inch cake pan, you’ll need to double it. I hope this helps! Happy baking 🙂
Thank you so much! Turned out great!
So good! My first time making; my sister is the dark chocolate lover and I made them for her, but everything is so balanced you don’t have to like dark chocolate to enjoy this. The varying sweetness of the cake, ganache and frosting combined is
sorry question again. can i use the wincrest black cocoa powder for the cupcake? thank you
Hi Kathleen! We haven’t tried that, but it should work just fine! Of course, the cupcakes will be very dark, but they should be delicious, too! Let us know what you think if you give this a try! Happy baking!
Hi there, I have a quick question.. it doesn’t say sifted or not for the flour. I just read a great article by you that stated: For example, if the recipe calls for “1 cup flour, sifted,” measure the flour first and then sift. If a recipe calls for “1 cup sifted flour,” sift the flour first, then measure.
Do we measure first then sift? Or vice versa? And once it’s sifted, do we measure the exact amount in grams on a scale?
Thanks for all you do!!!!
Hi Natalye! This recipe doesn’t require that you sift the flour – just the cocoa and powdered sugar, because they tend to clump. The rule of thumb for flour is just as you described, but you don’t need to worry about that for this recipe! Happy baking 🙂
Thank you for the clarification!
Amazing chocolate flavor !!!
Love it veeeery much
Just use expensive chocolates or won’t taste the same
I will try your others recipes
I made them yesterday. Everyone loved them. One comment on what to put 2 extra cupcakes in to store till the next day was: “just put them on a plate because I doubt they will make it till tomorrow” 🙂 🙂 🙂
The recipe is added to favorites and I will definitely make it again. Thanks!
Hi Tessa, I have your cupcake recipe in the oven now. Can’t wait to taste them!
I looked up Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa and found this:
“Response from The Hershey Company:
HERSHEY’S · Consumer Relations · 5 months ago
We really our sorry for the disappointment in the new formula. While we made the decision to change this product to a 100% dutch-processed cocoa to maximize the milder flavor that alkalizing brings to cocoa, we will be sure to pass your comments on to our Marketing Department so they can look into this further. We appreciate the feedback.” https://www.hersheyland.com/products/hersheys-cocoa-special-dark-100-cacao-cocoa-8-oz-can.html
I thought you would want to know. I didn’t know what to do for your recipe so I put 50% of Hershey’s Unsweetened Cocoa (non-alkalized) and 50% of Valrhona Cocoa. What will you do?
Thanks much. I think this is going to be excellent. The batter tastes incredible! 🙂
Hi Suzanne! Thank you so much for bringing this to our attention – we really appreciate it!! I hope you enjoyed your cupcakes!
I’ve made these twice so far! They are SO good! I can’t wait to try more recipes from you and hopefully become a better baker. Thank you for posting this and making it so easy to follow!
This is so wonderful to hear, Elizabeth! Thanks so much for the comment 🙂
This recipe is superb! A chocolate lover’s dream. The cake was super moist. The frosting was velvety smooth, with a hint of salt flavor that nicely offset the chocolate sweetness. The ganache in the center was a perfect consistency as well. Will definitely make again.
So thrilled to hear that these cupcakes were so delicious, Suzanne!
So chocolatey! All the chocolate lovers in my life love me a lil more after this. Lol
I used cashew yogurt and it worked great.
I made the cupcakes two days ahead, and the buttercream the night before. I stored the cupcakes at room temp and the frosting in the fridge. I let it come to room temp in a room temp water bath and re-whipped it before topping them.
I also topped them with finishing salt
Sounds wonderful! So happy you and your friends enjoyed this recipe so much!! 🙂
So moist! I topped them off with either sprinkles or dark chocolate chips. I didn’t have time to make the ganche filling but I got a lot of compliments about these cupcakes! Even from a guy who doesn’t like cupcakes, he said this was the best he’s ever had 😀
Hi Linda! Thank you so much for letting us know! I’m so excited you loved these cupcakes! It’s always so great to win over a non-cupcake-lover with a recipe, isn’t it!? 🙂
I made these for VDay gifts for teachers this year.
Since I made 3 regular batches and 1 GF batch, I opted to not fill them, but instead added mini chocolate chips in the batter.
I also made melting chocolate hearts for the top.. ..
Sounds so delicious! So kind of you to make delicious cupcakes for everyone 🙂
The icing is so amazing! Can it be frozen? I hate wasting it!!
Sure! You can store it in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let come to room temperature and re-whip in the stand mixer until light and fluffy again. Add a tablespoon or 2 of powdered sugar if it needs to thicken 🙂
I know you are ABSOLUTELY NOT into gluten free/ dairy free baking…. I have a grandaughter who medically needs to be gf/df. I know you can’t advise me on that. However, since you do live in the baking world, can you direct me to a blogger/baker that has easy, tasty recipes that I can make for my granddaughter. I have learned so much from you. I just would like to be able to also bake something for my granddaughter when the rest of us are enjoying your tasty recipes.
Thanks fo any help in steering me in the right direction.
Can I skip the eggs? Or, is there any substitute for eggs?
No, the eggs are essential to this recipe! We haven’t experimented with any substitutes, sorry!
ITS SO GOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
These are the best chocolate cupcakes I have ever made!!! Tastes like a Hershey’s bar in a cupcake. The icing is perfect in taste and consistency.
Wonderful! So happy you enjoyed this recipe, Ayden!
can i use a handheld mixer for the frosting?
Hi Kayla! Yes, if you don’t have a stand mixer, you can absolutely use a handheld electric mixer for this recipe. Just make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl frequently enough that everything is evenly incorporated. Let us know what you think once you have made them! 🙂
Delicious! Best cupcakes I’ve ever tasted! And they were fun to mix without using a mixer.
Wonderful to hear!
Delicious! Best cupcakes I’ve ever tasted!
Hooray! Glad to hear that!
Hi! Everything on your site looks divine and i can’t wait to try some recipes. Quick question about this one: i notice the recipe for the cake part of these cupcakes is the same as your best chocolate cake recipe except with a little less flour. Does the amount of flour vary between cupcakes and cake or have you tweaked the recipe to improve it? If so, which flour amount is best? Thanks!
I have to make cupcakes that are decorated green for a baby shower. The mommy-to-be loves chocolate cupcakes. Do you think this recipe would be good with vanilla buttercream?
Absolutely! You could also check out my recipe for Mint Chocolate Cupcakes, which have a green frosting on top!
I made these cupcakes for my granddaughters birthday and they were definitely a hit. The cake was moist and everyone thought the ganache center was a fun surprise. I will definitely keep this recipe in my list of favorites and make them again.
I’m so happy to hear this! I always feel so honored when you make one of my recipes for such a special occasion!
These cupcakes are sooo AMAZING! I love chocolate and these where perfect. Rich, fluffy, delicious chocolatey goodness. And the frosting came out amazing too, definitely will use it for other recipes too. And it wasn’t hard to make so definitely recommend it.
I followed the recipe exactly and it said it made 12 so I made 12 and every single one of them ended up overflowing and ruined thanks for wasting a ton of ingredients.
Omg Hannah, rude! Maybe you didn’t measure correctly and who cares how many it says it makes- don’t overfill the cups!
I found this recipe but decided to only make the actual cupcake from this recipe. The cupcakes were AMAZING!! My whole family loved them and I am so excited to try this recipe with the filling and icing soon!! The cake reminded me of a delicious brownie but cake form!! SO GOOD
Too good. All cupcakes lasted one day in our home and were only 3 people
I made these today and they are DELICIOUS!!! Thank you so much for sharing! I tweaked the frosting slightly (used 1 stick of butter but added a tbsp-ish or two of milk) only because I was short the butter. I can’t wait to share them tomorrow for Mother’s Day. Thank you!
I made this recipe for my son’s birthday and let me tell you, they were a hit! This was the first attempt in making cupcakes and even I was impressed! The richness chocolaty flavor was AMAZING!
I made this recipe via a skype bake date with my best friend, because of the contact ban (corona virus etc.). Usually we meet almost every saturday to cook and bake together and with baking he often needs my help. I thought it could be fun to try someone else’s recipe and it sure was! It was exciting to do something out of my own way and it turned out great. The only thing is, it was too sweet for me and the amount of buttercream was for my taste a bit much – we had some leftover cream, but that is fine. I just used that the next day on pancakes 😀 fun recipe, easy to follow along, nicely explained and super super tasty Muffins <3
Is there a substitute of egg? And can i use salted butter instead of unsalted butter for frosting
One question about the chocolate: for the filling it says semisweet and for the cupcakes bittersweet: can you explain/recommend what % would that be if I’m buying chocolate “chips” intended for baking? There are, for example, 55% cocoa or 35% cocoa and others. What percentage should I choose? Thank you! Recipe looks great!
Can’t thank you enough for this recipe. I have never made buttercream before, now I don’t want anything else! So rich, buttery smooth, and chocolate, chocolate, chocolate! These cupcakes were the hit of the party.
Can these be made in advance and frosted and refrigerated?
Can these be made in advance? Do they need to be refrigerated?
Can these be made in advance? If they can do they need to be refrigerated due to the filling?
I need to make two dozen cupcakes. Can I double the recipe or do I need to make two batches?
You can double the recipe 🙂
I think that I have texted you before. Just a quick note… I am probably old enough to be your Grandmother!
Have been baking since I was 25…Over 50 years ago! and I am still employed as a full time Pastry Chef. Have owned my own award winning shop but after a long but sudden onset serious illness was unable to work for over a year. So was unable to keep my building during my recovery. My spouse was not a fan of giving me money or emotional support. God must have had a plan!
Anyway, I am not in the habit of sending comments to these sites but am such a FAN of yours that I feel almost compelled to let you know how much enjoy not only your recipes but your personality that shines through! I was far from as pretty as you but was blessed with a Mentor that gave so generously of herself to share her skills and all of the tips and hints that are worth their weight in gold! We met in such a way that I can only say had to be arranged God or an angel. She was my best friend for over 20 years until she died.
I have had a long career in healthcare as well as baking. Graduated from the French Pastry school (at 55!) and still teach and bake..as I mentioned. Raised 5 children and out lived 2 spouses. . my current is a real challenge and my only hope is that I will out live him! He is 85, has the first buck he ever made I’m sure and doubt if he has given my $20 since I married him. Hope God hurries up with a plan for this one.
Anyway, Love your personality and recipes. I wanted to wish you Happy Holidays and let you know that you have a Fan. I am sure you are BUSY but at some point I would really love to get to know more about you. I have been a food editor (Pulitzer Prize winning paper) for 8+ years, After 1 year, my bakery was listed in USA Today’s Top Ten Bakeries in America, God only knows how that happened! and have many other awards from Natl Honey Board to others from competitions and publications to mention. Have made GF and later Vegan for over 50 years! My only son was allergic to wheat, dairy, coloring, eggs and other foods to the point where I was fearful that he might not survive. There were NO Whole Foods, Trader Joes or computer sites that sold GF ingredients so I bought a wheat grinder and made my own Rice flour and read all I could find in medical books about food allergies ..and did the best I could. . . .he is now in his early 50’s and doing very well, against all odds. I do have some VERY nice recipes that I would be willing to share if you might like. None of my girls bake although one has an award winning catering company nearby. I won’t go on but needed to let you know just how much I do enjoy your web site and recipes. I think that I will make a batch of those Blackout cupcakes this afternoon! Am so happy to see that you teach as well. Many of my students have become lifelong friends. Have a class Sunday afternoon. Will teach Buche de Noel, hands on class for 12.
God Bless and Happy Holidays to you and yours.
Made these a couple of days ago. OMG!!!!!!! they are absolutely fabulous!!!!! Will be making them again, hopefully will share them!!
These sound and look phenomenal! My question is do dark cocoa and unsweetened cocoa have the same chemical makeup (i.e. can they be used interchangeably in a recipe?)? Thank you!
Did you see my notes about the cocoa in the blog post? I used Hershey’s Special Dark which is a mix of both natural and Dutch cocoa 🙂
Would you need to make any adjustments to bake this recipe into a cake?
I would recommend making my Best Chocolate Cake Recipe! https://handletheheat.com/best-chocolate-cake/
You could use the dark cocoa with that recipe, and double the ganache & frosting from this cupcake recipe to use.
These sound amazing! I have the official cupcake corer gadget but I am wondering if the ganache would work as a layer in a layer cake? Thanks!
It should, but I would double it at least!