These schoolyard cupcakes are intensely moist without losing their cake-like consistency and the best part about them is their stellar chocolate frosting.

I’ve decided I don’t make cupcakes nearly enough. My children wholeheartedly agree with that statement.

A few months back an extremely benevolent and lovely reader, Melody S., sent me a few cookbooks she was about to toss. I decided I would be generous and take them off her hands for her. I’m nice like that.

Chocolate frosted cupcake in a silver muffin liner.

The first recipe I tried from either cookbook was this cupcake. I daresay, this recipe alone, has prompted me to reaffirm my allegiance to cupcakes.

These are easily the best chocolate cupcakes I have ever made. Unlike some cakey goods where the texture is wimpy and fragile or dry and crumbly, these cupcakes are intensely moist and fudgey without losing their cake-like consistency.

Chilled, these cupcakes are absolutely divine and still retained the softness and delicacy of a great cupcake. Not given to great amounts of self-control on a good day, I had to employ a serious dose of self-talk to get me out of eating six of these.

I’m not kidding. They are positively evil and addicting.

A great cupcake needs a stellar frosting, since that is the taste bud’s first sensation of gloriousness when biting into a confection like this. The frosting for these cuppycakes is magnificent. Heavenly, even.

An untraditional frosting when compared to everyday buttercream, in this recipe, heavy cream is combined with cocoa powder and sugar and heated until warm.

Chilled completely, the mixture is whipped into soft peaks and the result is a silky, creamy, chocolatey frosting as light as air and as delicious as about anything else on this good, green earth.

Thanks, Melody, for renewing my love for the almighty cupcake! (And for adding at least three inches to my already abundant thighs. Actually, upon further thought, that’s my fault not yours. I take it back.).

Top view of a chocolate frosted cupcake with white sprinkles.

One Year Ago: Garlic Chicken Pasta with Spinach
Two Years Ago: Solid Peanut Butter Cups


Schoolyard Cupcakes

4.80 stars (5 ratings)



  • 1 ¾ cups (249 g) all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 ounces (85 g) semisweet chocolate
  • ½ cup (113 g) butter, softened
  • 1 cup (212 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup (227 g) sour cream


  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup (43 g) cocoa powder
  • ½ cup (106 g) granulated sugar
  • Pinch of salt


  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line 18 muffin tin cups with paper liners.
  • Sift the flour, baking soda and salt together and set aside.
  • In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate on 50% power for 1-2 minutes. Stir and continue melting on 50% power for 30 second intervals until the chocolate is melted. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Blend in the vanilla. Add the eggs and beat until the batter is creamy. Blend in the chocolate. Add one-third of the sifted dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Add 1/2 of the sour cream and mix. Add another third of the dry ingredients and mix together. Add the other half of the sour cream and mix. Finally add the remaining dry ingredients and beat until well combined.
  • Fill each muffin cup about 1/2 full. Bake for 10-14 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs (not wet batter). The key to not drying out these cupcakes is to make sure and not overbake them! Remove the cupcakes to a wire rack and let cool completely.
  • To make the frosting, combine the cream, cocoa, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan. Gently heat and stir constantly until the sugar has dissolved and the cocoa has blended into the mixture. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Pour the mixture through a mesh strainer into a medium glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Put in the refrigerator until completely chilled.
  • With an electric mixer, whip the frosting until it is smooth and forms medium peaks and has a spreading consistency. It will be quite firm. Frost and garnish the cupcakes as desired. I use a large piping tip (Wilton 1M tip to be exact) to make the decorative swirly frosting.


Frosting: after several comments on the frosting recipe alerted me to the fact that it wasn’t whipping up for many of you, I tested it. And sadly, I had the same result, even though it had whipped up perfectly the first two or three times I made it a few months ago. I plan on continuing to test it to see what’s going wrong – my guess is it has something to do with overheating the cocoa/cream mixture in the first step but I’m not entirely sure. So until I can troubleshoot it more, I want to add a caveat on to this recipe and in the comments that this frosting is temperamental (but absolutely divine if it whips up to stiff peaks)!
Serving: 1 Cupcake, Calories: 311kcal, Carbohydrates: 31g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 20g, Saturated Fat: 12g, Cholesterol: 77mg, Sodium: 152mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 19g

Recipe Source: adapted from The Chocolate Book by Sara Perry