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Chocolate Cupcakes With Fudge Frosting

Fudgy, wacky cake-style chocolate cupcakes with luscious, velvety chocolate frosting and sprinkles. Super easy to make, no stand mixers required, completely egg-free and done in under an hour. Perfect for all types of celebrations or just simply for a really indulgent dessert!
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Course: Dessert
Servings: 11 cupcakes
Author: Adapted from Amanda's Cookin' | Sweetapolita


  • For the cupcakes:
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar*
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ cup dark cocoa powder
  • 6 tablespoons grapeseed oil or other flavorless oil
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cold water
  • For the frosting:
  • 255 g unsalted butter softened
  • 125 g powdered sugar sifted
  • 40 g dark cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup 60ml hot water
  • ¼ cup sour cream or creme fraiche*
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • generous pinch of salt
  • 150 g dark chocolate chopped, melted, cooled
  • sprinkles


  • For the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 12-hole cupcake pan with paper liners (this recipe makes 11 cupcakes, so you can leave a hole empty!). Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, sift in flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and cocoa powder. Whisk to combine.
  • Using a spoon, make 3 wells in the dry ingredients, one large well and two smaller wells. Pour the grapeseed oil into the largest well, the vinegar into one of the smaller wells, and the vanilla extract into the last well. Pour the cold water over everything and whisk the ingredients together until the mixture is smooth. The batter will be quite runny.
  • Fill cupcake liners ¾ full with batter. Bake for 15-20 minutes. They are done when the tops spring back when lightly pressed in the center (or you can do the toothpick test).
  • Remove from the oven and cool in cupcake pan for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • For the frosting: While the cupcakes are baking, add butter, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, hot water, sour cream, vanilla and salt to the bowl of your food processor (see recipe notes if you don't have a food processor). Process until combined and no lumps of butter remain. Pour in the cooled, melted chocolate and process briefly to combine. If the frosting is too loose/runny to pipe or spread, place it in the refrigerator for 5 or 10 minutes and stir every once in a while to keep an eye on the consistency; don't let it get too firm.
  • Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a large, round tip and pipe mounds of the frosting on the cupcakes. To get the little "sprinkle pond" in the middle, hold the cupcake in your non-dominant hand and a small spoon in your dominant hand. Press the back of the spoon into the middle of the frosting, and at the same time, twist the cupcake counter-clockwise while you twist the spoon clockwise. Hard to describe, but easy to do once you get the hang of it. You can also pipe swirls, or just simply spread the frosting on the cupcake!
  • Decorate with sprinkles!!! If not serving straight away, don't add sprinkles just yet; the moisture in the refrigerator makes the sprinkles go soggy and causes the color to run. So let the cupcakes come to room temperature first so the frosting becomes soft, then add the sprinkles just before serving.
  • Store in the refrigerator for 3 or 4 days. Frosting will firm up, but tastes great cold anyway. If you prefer, let the cupcakes come to room temperature and the frosting will soften up.


See bottom of post above for more notes regarding this recipe.
* I always use a scant cup of sugar, which means just a bit under a cup.
* You can also use plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream or creme fraiche.
Use a good, high-quality cocoa powder for a great-tasting chocolatey cake and frosting. I always use my favorite cocoa powder - Van Houten.
If you don't have a food processor: In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a handheld mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 6 minutes. Sift together the powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Reduce speed to low and add the sugar/cocoa mixture, water, sour cream, vanilla and salt and beat until incorporated, about 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 more minutes. Add the melted chocolate and beat on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute.