Easy Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe with Fluffy Vanilla Buttercream Frosting – classic chocolate cupcakes that are tender and moist, and won’t fall apart when you take a big bite. Topped with fluffy, melt in your mouth buttercream frosting with just a little bit of cream cheese added for stability and creaminess. Not just for Halloween!
My husband and our son Patrick have birthdays in late October. While Patrick was growing up, we often hosted Halloween themed birthday parties at the house. All Patrick’s friends came in costume, there was plenty to eat, they played games and ran wild all over the yard. Those were the days 🙂 Having a October birthday party meant I got to serve some kind of spooky dessert. I often made Dirt Cake decorated as a grave yard, which was always a favorite!
Now we have grandchildren and while they don’t need me giving them sweets, who can resist making just a little something every now and then? I’m Gram after all! If you’re a grandma, mom, super nice office co-worker, or family baker, you’ll love these super easy chocolate cupcakes made with an unexpected and brilliant ingredient – mayonnaise!
Mayonnaise is oil, vinegar and eggs after all, and since there is no other fat added to this recipe, it makes perfect sense! I’ve always wanted to try the Hellman’s Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake recipe so this was the perfect opportunity. I made some small, minor tweaks to the original recipe and cut it in half for fewer cupcakes. I’m really surprised how chocolatey they taste, and they’re not overly sweet. Sometimes buttercream frosting can overwhelm a cake, especially if it’s super sweet. This is not at all the case with our combination! If you prefer a non-chocolate cupcake, try our White Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream – another classic and delicious recipe.
While I don’t often use food color, I figured a little would’t hurt. These cupcakes were made to mimic Indian Candy Corn which is the darker cousin to regular candy corn. Indian corn has a chocolate bottom instead of the traditional yellow. I’m not considered a candy corn nut, like some people I know (traveling husband!) but I love the fall colors and they are so darn cute!
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- 1 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup Hellmann's Real Mayonnaise (I've only tested with this brand)
- 2/3 cup water
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 ounce cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 to 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons whole milk
- pinch of salt
- orange gel food color if using
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt and espresso powder. Whisk until blended and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the eggs, sugar and vanilla. Beat on high for 3 minutes or until creamy and lighter in color. Add the mayonnaise and blend on low speed until incorporated. Add about 1/4 of the flour mixture and blend just until incorporated. Add 1/3 of the water and blend again on low. Repeat adding about 1/3 of the remaining flour, then half the remaining water. Start and end with the flour mixture divided into 4 additions, and the water in 3 additions. Scrape the sides and the bottom using a rubber spatula. Beat on low for another 30 seconds.
Fill the muffin liners to a little more than 3/4 full. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 5 minutes then remove to a rack to cool completely. Frost as desired.
Add the butter and cream cheese to a medium mixing bowl. Beat on medium-high until light and fluffy.
With the mixer on low, add the vanilla extract, 1 tablespoon of the milk, and the salt. Beat another minute on low to combine. Add the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and beat on medium-high for about 3 minutes or until the frosting is light and fluffy. Adjust by adding the remaining milk if needed, for desired consistency.
If not using immediately, refrigerate and rewhip before using.
To tint, remove half the frosting to a small bowl and add gel food color if using. Pipe on cupcakes as desired. Repeat with the plain buttercream in a clean piping bag. I used a Wilton 2A large round tip to frost the cupcakes.
This recipe has only been tested with Hellmann's Real Mayonnaise and was adapted from a recipe on their website.
This cake may also be baked in a 9-inch x 9-inch square baking pan. Grease and flour the pan and watch the baking time.
Looking for more Halloween treats? Check out this gorgeous Candy Corn Swirled Fudge from The Cafe Sucre Farine. And I love these Halloween Oreo Pops from Chelsea’s Messy Apron – so easy, quick and down right adorable! This simple recipe for Halloween Monster Mash Party Mix – from Coffee & Crayons makes me want to invite friends over! If you need lots of inspiration – don’t forget to follow my Halloween Pinterest Board – it’s loaded with great ideas for your next spooky party!
Thanks so much for stopping by! Have a terrific weekend.