Double Chocolate Brownie Cupcakes

These cupcakes have the texture of brownies and are intensely chocolate-y . Frosted with chocolate buttercream and decorated with mini chocolate chips, these cupcakes are a chocoholic’s dream.Double Chocolate Brownie Cupcakes | A Nerd Cooks

This post may contain affiliate links.

I made these super chocolate-y cupcakes for Sean’s birthday, which he celebrated last week.  He’s a pretty serious chocolate lover.  Check out this epic chocolate cake I made for him a couple of years ago.  These cupcakes seemed like a fitting choice for his birthday this year.

Double Chocolate Brownie Cupcakes | A Nerd CooksNot only was it Sean’s birthday, but he turned 30!  I managed (with help, of course) to arrange for three of our good friends and some of his family to come down to Durham to visit for the weekend.  He had no idea that anything was happening, and was completely surprised.

After the surprise visitors arrived, we went to the Hurricanes-Canadiens game, and then had a party at our house the day after.  I made these cupcakes for the party.Double Chocolate Brownie Cupcakes | A Nerd Cooks

The recipe for these brownie cupcakes, along with the basis for the buttercream frosting recipe, comes from Joy the Baker’s 2nd cookbook.

You’ll need:

For the cupcakes (makes 12) –

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 oz. dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a muffin tin with paper or foil liners and set aside.

Put the butter and dark chocolate in a heat-proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (make sure that the bottom of the bowl isn’t touching the water).  Stir the butter and chocolate together until they are completely melted and combined.  Whisk in the brown sugar and vanilla extract.  Remove from the heat, set aside, and allow it to cool slightly.

After the chocolate mixture has cooled just a bit, whisk in the eggs one at a time, making sure that they are each thoroughly combined before adding another.  Whisk in the flour, salt, and baking powder.  Fold in the dark chocolate chips.

Divide the batter among the prepared muffin tins.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick, when inserted into the center, comes out clean.  Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing them to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.

For the buttercream frosting (makes more than you’ll likely need for 12 cupcakes) –

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 4-5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2-3 tbs milk/heavy cream
  • mini chocolate chips, for decorating (optional)

Add the softened butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Beat it on medium for about 1 minute.

While the butter is being beaten, whisk together the cocoa powder and powdered sugar.

Add 2 cups of the powdered sugar/cocoa powder mixture, the salt, and vanilla extract. Beat on low speed until the powdered sugar is incorporated.

Add another 2 cups of the powdered sugar.  Beat on low speed, and add the additional 1 cups of sugar as needed to thicken the frosting.  Use the milk/heavy cream to thin things out as needed.

Once the frosting is as stiff as you’d like it to be, beat it on medium speed for about 4 minutes, or until the frosting is fluffy and smooth.

Frost the cooled cupcakes and decorate with mini chocolate chips, if desired.

Double Chocolate Brownie Cupcakes | A Nerd Cooks

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Arnold Palmer Cupcakes

Iced tea + lemonade = a perfectly refreshing summertime beverage.  This time, it’s in cupcake form!Arnold Palmer Cupcakes | A Nerd Cooks

Arnold Palmers (or Half-and-Halfs, for my Bawlmer readers) are one of my favorite summertime drinks.  Half lemonade, half iced tea.  The best of both worlds.

Are you all familiar with this combination?  I brought these cupcakes to work and was pretty surprised at the number of people who did not know what an Arnold Palmer is.Arnold Palmer Cupcakes | A Nerd Cooks

This was the first recipe I decided to make from the Grandbaby Cakes cookbook that I gifted myself for my birthday.  I do have my eye on a strawberry-rhubarb pound cake sort of business from that cookbook, as well.  So hopefully you’ll see that sometime soon, too.

These cupcakes, though admittedly a little drab in appearance without the lemon and mint garnish, are flavorful, sweet, and tangy.  Just like a good Arnold Palmer.Arnold Palmer Cupcakes | A Nerd Cooks

This recipe comes from the lovely cookbook Grandbaby Cakes: Modern Recipes, Vintage Charm, Soulful Memories.  This recipe will also make a 9-inch round 3-layer cake (which is what she does in the cookbook), but I opted for cupcakes for ease of portability and sharing.

You’ll need (makes 2 dozen cupcakes and probably more frosting than you’ll need):

For the cupcakes – 

  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbs vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon oil or 6 tbs lemon zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the buttercream frosting – 

  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 4 bags black tea (English Breakfast, Lipton, etc.)
  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • lemon slices and mint leaves, optional (for garnish)

To make the cupcakes – Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line two muffin tins with liners and set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter for a few minutes.  Add the granulated sugar, and cream together with the butter for 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs 1 at a time, making sure to mix well after each addition.  Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.

In two batches, add the dry ingredients to the wet.  Add the sour cream, lemon juice, vegetable oil, lemon oil/zest, and vanilla extract.

Fill the muffin tins 2/3 of the way.  Bake 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick/knife comes out clean when inserted in the center.  Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pans for 5 minutes before removing them to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.

To make the buttercream – Boil the 1/2 cup of water and add the 4 tea bags.  Allow them to steep for 45 minutes.  Squeeze all of the liquid of of the tea bags before removing and discarding them.  Cool the tea in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Beat the butter for 2 minutes before adding 2 cups of powdered sugar.  Beat until incorporated.  Add an additional two cups of powdered sugar, beating until combined again.  Add the lemon extract and then slowly stream in the cooled tea.  Add the remaining two cups of powdered sugar until the frosting reaches the desired stiffness.  Beat for a few minutes on medium-high speed until it is light and fluffy.

Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, frost them however you’d like.  Top with lemon slices and mint leaves, if desired.

Arnold Palmer Cupcakes | A Nerd CooksArnold Palmer Cupcakes | A Nerd Cooks

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Bourbon Buttercream

The buttercream frosting on these cupcakes is sweet and bourbon-heavy, while the cake recipe consistently produces the best chocolate cake I’ve ever had.Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Bourbon Buttercream | A Nerd Cooks

My parents came to Durham last weekend for a visit, and since my dad’s birthday is later this month, we decided to celebrate while they were in town.

We both have a strong affinity for bourbon, so I felt like it was only natural to include it somehow.  And I had a suspicion that bourbon buttercream would play well with dark chocolate cupcakes.  As luck would have it, I was very right.

Not that I received any complaints, but I was possibly a little heavy-handed with the bourbon.  So add a couple of tablespoons and taste before going for the full 1/4 cup (or more!).Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Bourbon Buttercream | A Nerd Cooks

You’ve seen the dark chocolate cupcakes on this blog before.  Seriously, the best chocolate cake recipe I’ve ever made or had.  The bourbon buttercream recipe is listed below.

You’ll need (makes enough to frost 3-4 dozen cupcakes):

  • 4 sticks unsalted sweet cream butter, softened
  • 5-6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup bourbon (give or take a splash)

To make the frosting, add the softened butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Beat it on medium for about 1 minute.

Add 2 cups of the powdered sugar, the salt, and vanilla extract. Beat on low speed until the powdered sugar is incorporated.

Add another 2 cups of the powdered sugar, along with the bourbon.  Beat on low speed, and add the additional 2 cups of sugar as needed to thicken the frosting.

Once the frosting is as stiff as you’d like it to be, beat it on medium speed for about 4 minutes, or until the frosting is fluffy and smooth.

Frost the cupcakes, and go to town.

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Bourbon Buttercream | A Nerd Cooks

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

Does anything scream Fall more than pumpkin spice anything?  I think not.

These pumpkin cupcakes are moist and perfectly spiced.  The buttercream frosting is sweet and spicy.

So embrace your inner Basic Bitch and have a cupcake or two.Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes | A Nerd Cooks

The recipe for the cupcakes comes from Simply Stacie, while the frosting is the Basic Buttercream from Joy the Baker’s 2nd cookbook.

You’ll need:

For the cupcakes (makes 2 dozen) – 

  • 2 2/3 cups cake flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 4 eggs

For the frosting –

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 4-6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbs cinnamon
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1-2 tbs milk

To make the cupcakes, start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line two muffin tins with cupcake liners.  Set them aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the pumpkin puree, sugars, vegetable oil, and milk.  Add the eggs, one at a time, until well combined.

Little by little, add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing until everything is just combined.  Fill the cupcake liners about 3/4 of the way full.  Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick, when inserted into the center of the cupcakes, comes out clean.  Allow them to cool for a few minutes in the tin, then remove them to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.

To make the frosting, add the softened butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Beat it on medium speed until the butter is soft (~1 minute).

Add 2 cups of the powdered sugar, the salt, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. Beat on low speed until the powdered sugar is incorporated.

Add another 2 cups of the powdered sugar, along with the maple syrup.  Beat on low speed, and add the additional 1-2 cups of sugar as needed to thicken the frosting.  Use the milk to thin it out, if needed.

Once the frosting is as stiff as you’d like it to be, beat it on medium speed for about 4 minutes, or until the frosting is fluffy and smooth.

Frost the cupcakes and enjoy!

I dusted mine with a little bit of cinnamon, but that’s optional.

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes | A Nerd Cooks

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Raspberry Buttercream

This post may contain affiliate links.

I’ve been biding my time, waiting for the right day to share these with you.

Today is that day, my friends.  Let’s finish the week on a strong note.

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Raspberry Buttercream | A Nerd Cooks

What can I say about these cupcakes?  Honestly, I’m a little bit in love with them.

The dark chocolate cake is perfectly chocolatey and moist.Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Raspberry Buttercream | A Nerd Cooks

And the frosting?  Gahhh, the frosting…

It’s a classic buttercream frosting with quite a bit of raspberry preserves swirled right in.  The preserves make it a beautiful pink color.  No food coloring required, here!

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Raspberry Buttercream | A Nerd Cooks

Both the cake and frosting are modified versions of those found in Joy the Baker’s newest cookbook, Homemade Decadence.

You’ll need:

For the cupcakes (makes 3 dozen cupcakes) – 

  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tbs vanilla extract
  • 2 cups buttermilk

For the buttercream (makes enough to frost 2 dozen cupcakes) –

  •  2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 tbs vanilla extract
  • 5-6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tbs heavy cream or milk
  • 1/3 cup raspberry preserves (I’m partial to these)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a muffin tin with liners.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the cake flour, dark cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugars together.  Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between additions.  Add the vanilla extract.

Alternate between adding some of the dry ingredients with the buttermilk.  After the last addition, mix until just combined.  Scrape down the sides, making sure to get the bottom, too.  Turn on the stand mixer for another 30 seconds – 1 minute, just for good measure.

Fill the liners 2/3 of the way full.  Bake for 20-25 minutes (make sure to start checking after 20!), or until a knife/toothpick, when inserted into the center of the cupcake, comes out clean.

Allow the cupcakes to cool for 10 minutes in the muffin tin, then remove and place them on a wire rack to finish cooling completely.

While the cupcakes are cooling, make the raspberry buttercream frosting.

Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until it is softened (about 1 minute).

Add 2 cups of the powdered sugar and beat on low until well combined.

Add another 2 cups of powdered sugar along with 1 tbs of heavy cream/milk.  Beat until combined.

Add the remaining 1-2 cups of sugar (depending on your desired consistency) and remaining cream/milk and beat until the frosting reaches the desired thickness.

Add the raspberry preserves and beat until thoroughly mixed through.  Beat on medium speed until the frosting is smooth and fluffy (about 4 minutes).

Frost!  Consume!

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Raspberry Buttercream | A Nerd Cooks

You most definitely will not regret making and eating these.  And your friends and family definitely will not be mad at you if you bake up a batch and bring them over.Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Raspberry Buttercream | A Nerd Cooks

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Raspberry Buttercream | A Nerd Cooks

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes | A Nerd Cooks

Filled Peanut Butter Cupcakes Two Ways: PB&J and Chocolate

I am beyond excited to share these cupcakes with you.  The flavor combinations are classic, and the cupcakes are crazy delicious.

These cupcakes have been billed as “the best cupcakes I’ve ever had” by two different people.  The PB&J version resulted in another cupcake-eater having a bit of a moment, and then declaring that they “taste like childhood”.  The chocolate-filled cupcakes resulted in appreciative eye-rolling and silence.

Not to toot my own horn anything, but, you know… beep beep.

 PB&J and Peanut Butter-Chocolate Cupcakes | A Nerd Cooks

Half of these cupcakes are filled with raspberry preserves, and topped with chopped peanuts and a single raspberry.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes | A Nerd Cooks

The other half are filled with a chocolate cream cheese frosting and topped with shaved chocolate.Peanut Butter-Chocolate Cupcakes | A Nerd Cooks

Trying to squeeze two separate blog posts out of these cupcakes seemed a bit like cheating, so today you’re getting a twofer!

The recipe for the cupcakes and chocolate cream cheese frosting come from Joy the Baker’s first cookbook, and the peanut butter frosting recipe comes from Joy’s second cookbook.

This may seem like a lot of steps/ingredients, but trust me, it’s really not so bad, and totally worth it.  Alternately, you could make just one of these varieties of cupcakes to cut down on ingredients.

You’ll need:

For the cupcakes (makes 24) –

  • 2¼ cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk

For the fillings (enough chocolate frosting for 24 cupcakes; enough preserves for 12 cupcakes) –

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp milk
  • 1 15 oz. jar raspberry preserves

For the salted peanut butter buttercream (enough to frost 24 cupcakes) –

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tbs vanilla extract
  • 4-5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tbs milk

For the toppings –

  • 12 raspberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts
  • milk chocolate, for shaving

To make the peanut butter cupcakes, start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line two muffin tins with paper liners.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

Using an electric stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the peanut butter, butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar.  Do this until everything is light and fluffy looking, which will take about 3 minutes.

Add the eggs, one at a time.  Beat the mixture for about 1 minute at medium speed between egg additions.  Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

On low speed, add half of the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture.  Then slowly add all of the buttermilk.  Once things are just coming together, add the remaining flour mixture and continue beating on low speed until everything comes together.

Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.  They should be filled approximately 3/4 of the way.

Bake for 15-20, or until a toothpick/knife comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cakes.  Allow the cupcakes to cool for about 5 minutes in the pan before moving them to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.

To make the chocolate cream cheese filling, place the softened cream cheese in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.  Beat the cream cheese for about 1 minute, until it is soft and fluffy.  Stop the mixer and use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Add the butter to the bowl.  Beat the butter and cream cheese on medium speed for 1 minute until thoroughly combined.

Add the cocoa powder and beat on medium speed, until incorporated. Turn the mixer on low and add the salt, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and milk. Beat until almost incorporated.

Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl. Beat on medium speed until all of the powdered sugar has disappeared and mixture is smooth.

To make the salted peanut butter buttercream, add the other softened butter to the bowl of a stand mixer, with the paddle attachment. Beat the butter on medium speed until it is softened (about 1 minute).

Add the creamy peanut butter, salt, and vanilla extract and beat well.

Add 2 cups of the powdered sugar and beat on low until well combined.

Add another 2 cups of sugar along with 1 tbs of heavy cream/milk.  Beat until combined.

Add the remaining 1 cup of sugar (depending on your desired consistency) and remaining cream/milk and beat until the frosting reaches the desired thickness.

Beat on medium speed until the frosting is smooth and fluffy (about 4 minutes).

Now that all of our ingredients are prepped and ready to go, you’ll want to hollow out the cupcakes.  Using a melon baller, scoop out the middles of the cupcakes, setting the scooped out cupcake bits aside (snacks for the baker!).

Spoon raspberry preserves into half of the cupcakes (you’ll end up using the entire jar).  Spoon or pipe the chocolate cream cheese frosting into the other half of the cupcakes (you’ll have some left over).

PB&J and Peanut Butter-Chocolate Cupcakes | A Nerd Cooks

Once the cupcakes are filled, frost with the peanut butter buttercream.  Top the PB&J cupcakes with a single raspberry and some chopped peanuts.

Top the chocolate-filled cupcakes with a bit of shaved milk chocolate. PB&J and Peanut Butter-Chocolate Cupcakes | A Nerd Cooks

Now go to town on these cupcakes!  Consider sharing with some friends.  They’ll thank you for it. PB&J and Peanut Butter-Chocolate Cupcakes | A Nerd Cooks

Margarita Cupcakes – Updated!

Yes, more cupcakes. Wanna fight about it?

Margarita Cupcakes | A Nerd Cooks

No? That’s what I thought.

A couple of our good friends stayed the night over Memorial Day Weekend, and I prepared a Tex/Mex-themed spread: carnitas in corn tortillas, pitchers of margaritas, and these margarita cupcakes.

Margarita Cupcakes | A Nerd Cooks

I first blogged about these cupcakes two years ago, but, like so many of my early posts, felt that they deserved an update. The original blog post can be found here.

You’ll need:

For the cupcakes –

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tbs baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 3 limes, zested and juiced
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup tequila, optional

For the frosting –

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 2-3 tbs lime juice
  • 1 tbs tequila (optional, can add more lime juice instead)
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • kosher salt and more lime zest, for topping

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Line muffin tins with paper liners, and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together on high until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs, one at a time, until they are well combined.  Add the lime zest, lime juice, orange zest, and vanilla extract.

Turn the mixer to low.  Add the dry ingredients in 3 batches, alternating with the buttermilk.  Mix until everything is just incorporated.

Fill each cupcake liner ~3/4 full.  Bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick, when inserted into the center, comes out clean.  Allow the cupcakes to cool for about 5-10 in the muffin tins before removing them to a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cupcakes are still warm, brush the tops with tequila.  This step is optional, of course, but recommended.

For the frosting, beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer until light and fluffy.  Slowly add the powdered sugar.  Then add the salt, lime juice, and lime zest.  Mix until thick and creamy.  If the frosting is too thin, add some more powdered sugar.  If it’s too thick, add a bit more lime juice or a bit of tequila.  Once you’ve reached the desired frosting consistency, whip it on medium-high speed for a few minutes.

Frost the cupcakes however you’d like. Sprinkle with a bit of kosher salt and additional lime zest.  Eat ’em!

Margarita Cupcakes | A Nerd Cooks