These moist and easy chocolate cupcakes are a one bowl recipe made with olive oil. The Mascarpone frosting is basically a fudgy ganache that takes them over the top
You probably already have a chocolate cupcake recipe in your recipe book, but if you’re like me then you know that there’s always room for another one! Plus this recipe is very easy (it’s made in just one bowl and you can even make it without an electrical mixer), it has some healthy fat from the olive oil – just like these melt-in-your-mouth olive oil brownies – and produces moist, intensely chocolaty, fluffy and soft cupcakes. As far as the chocolate Mascarpone frosting I really have no words… It’s like eating a fudgy chocolate truffle, and it complements the cupcakes perfectly. Note that this cupcake recipe is without milk, but the frosting is not. So, if you follow a dairy-free diet you can make the cupcakes but you should substitute the Mascarpone frosting with something else that doesn’t contain dairy.
How to make chocolate cupcakes moist (and keep them moist)
The first thing you should do is start with a good recipe! You may have noticed that cocoa powder absorbs a good amount of moisture. This means that the recipe needs a lot of liquid in order to stay moist. So that’s why the batter for many chocolate cake recipes is a lot thinner compared to a vanilla cake batter.
What liquids to use
Your best option is coffee or water (roasted almond/hazelnut milk is also great if you have some). Coffee has a similar flavor profile with cocoa, thats why it enhances the taste of chocolate cupcakes. And in most cases you won’t be able to taste the coffee because the cocoa powder will overpower it. If you don’t want to add any coffee, you can add water instead.
You hear it all the time. If you overbake your cupcakes they will be dry. Because every household oven is different, you are the best judge for when your baked goods are done. Use the times given in the recipe as a reference point, and check doneness with a toothpick. If a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out with a few crumbs stuck on it, then your cupcakes are perfectly baked. Also, to ensure even baking for all the cupcakes, make sure that all the cupcakes liners are filled equally. An ice cream scoop is very helpful for this.
After the cupcakes have cooled, store them in an aitight container to prevent them from drying. They’re even better the next day!
Why this recipe is without milk
I have been baking cakes and cupcakes for over 20 years now, and I have come to the conclusion that dairy (like milk, yogurt, buttermilk) makes the cocoa taste less chocolaty. However, almond milk or hazelnut milk (because it’s not dairy) will go very well with this recipe.
Note that only the cupcakes are dairy-free. The Mascarpone frosting is not dairy-free because it contains Mascarpone which is a type of cream cheese.
- 3/4 cups (100 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cups (60 grams) Dutch-processed cocoa powder, sifted
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
- 1 cup (200 grams) light brown sugar
- 1/3 cup (80 grams) olive oil
- 1 large egg 60 grams
- 1/2 cup (125 grams) strong coffee
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon brandy or kahlua or whiskey
- 2 tablespoons (15 grams) icing sugar
- 3 tablespoons (20 grams) Dutch processed cocoa powder, sifted
- 2 tablespoons (30 grams) milk
- 1/2 cup (125 grams) Mascarpone cheese (room temperature)
- 6.7 oz (190 grams) chopped dark chocolate 50% cocoa (semi-sweet)
- 1 tablespoon (15 grams) brandy, kahlua or whiskey (you can substitute with vanilla extract)
- chocolate sprinkles for decoration.
Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.
Make the cupcakes: transfer the flour, the cocoa, the salt, the baking powder, and the sugar in a bowl and mix to combine. Make a large well in the center and add the olive oil, the egg, the coffee, the brandy, the vanilla. Beat the liquids with a whisk and stir everything together until just combined.
Divide the batter into 11 cupcake liners and bake for 20 – 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Don’t overbake. Transfer the cupcakes to a rack and let them cool completely.
Make the chocolate Mascarpone frosting: Add the cocoa powder, the icing sugar and the milk to a small pot and stir to combine. Add the Mascarpone cheese and heat over low heat until hot.
Remove from heat and add the chopped chocolate. Stir well until the chocolate is melted
(if all the chocolate is not melted return to heat and stir until the mixture is smooth). Refrigerate until the frosting reaches a spreading consistency. If the frosting gets too stiff, let it come to room temperature.
Frost the cupcakes: work the frosting with a spatula to make it soft and transfer it into a piping bag (a star tip number 1M is recommended). Frost the cupcakes and sprinkle with chocolate sprinkles. Eat.
Substitute the brandy with water if you don’t want to use alcohol.
Watch this video with 4 ways to frost a cupcake.
The cupcakes are dairy-free but the frosting is not. If you follow a dairy-free diet, you should use another type of frosting.
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