Mom It Down! Chocolate Cupcakes With Vanilla Icing

We went to a barbeque over the weekend and I wanted to bring something unhealthy for the kids. I made cupcakes.

I’ve made two different types of cupcakes in the past and I have to be honest with you, I wasn’t particularly blown away by the red velvet cupcakes. There was something about them that didn’t quite do it for me. The vegan ones were pretty great, but they may kill you if you eat them more than a couple times each year.

Today’s recipe is another stab at the cupcake. I took this recipe from The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Berannbaum. It’s actually a recipe for a chocolate cake but I made cupcakes instead. The icing recipe was taken from Cupcakes Year-Round.

What you will need

  • Muffin liners
  • Muffin tins
  • Mixer (not absolutely necessary but so much easier!)

Ingredients (Cake)

  • 1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa (dutch processed but I found Hershey’s worked fine.)
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups + 2 tablespoons cake flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (softened)

Ingredients (Icing)

  • Powdered sugar
  • Milk
  • Vanilla extract

(There are no measurements listed above. Don’t freak out! I’ll explain later.)

Mom It Down!

At some point during the day remove the unsalted butter from the refrigerator and let it warm to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 350.

Bring water to boil in saucepan, remove from heat and add your chocolate. Stir until it’s dissolved. Let that cool to room temperature. (About 30 minutes.)

While the chocolate is cooling, take the sugar, flour, salt and baking powder and add them to the mixer. Give it a stir just to mix it up.

In another bowl, beat your eggs and your vanilla.

Add a little bit of the cooled chocolate to the egg mixture. Set that aside.

Add your butter to the flour mixture and give it a good stir. Once it’s relatively coated, add the remaining chocolate mixture to that.

Mix that up until all dry ingredients are moistened. Beat for an addition 1 1/2 minutes on medium speed. (This helps build the cake’s structure.)

Gradually add in egg mixture. I poured mine in in three rotations stirring for roughly 20 seconds between each one. I don’t think this has to be an exact science. I was counting Mississippi style. :]

You’re done! Line muffin tins with liners, fill them 2/3 the way full.

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes. (Mine took only 20.)


I mentioned earlier that I didn’t add amounts to the icing ingredients. This is because every time I make icing, I always end up with WAY too much of it. This time, I froze an entire tray of pre-baked cupcakes so I could bake them at a later date. I didn’t want to store leftover icing, so I just made a little bit at a time. I hope that makes sense.

Here’s how I did it: I added a little bit of butter (maybe 3 to four tablespoons) and then a cap full of vanilla. I then added powdered sugar and mixed it up until it was a little less lumpy. I then added a little bit of milk at a time. (Maybe a tablespoon?) If it was too runny, I added more powdered sugar; too thick, more milk. This worked out much better for me. You really can’t go wrong with the icing because the only thing that can go wrong is consistency and that can be fixed super easily by adding either milk or sugar (or even more butter if you want). Basically, flavor your icing to taste and consistency. :]

Cover your cupcakes with icing or, if you don’t want the sweet stuff, lightly dust them with powdered sugar.

Overcoming Obstacles

I mentioned above that I froze a tray of cupcakes before they were baked. I wasn’t sure how this would work out, but it worked out just wonderfully. On the day I wanted to bake the second batch of cupcakes, I just removed them from the freezer, let them thaw for about 20 minutes (while the oven heated up) and then baked them for 20 minutes. I couldn’t tell the difference between the ones I made fresh and the ones I froze. I think this is a wonderful idea for people who are busy and don’t have many hours to make, bake, and ice a bunch of cupcakes. Do it in stages!


I haven’t tried anything different with this. I haven’t even given it much thought. The only thing I will say about this is that the icing is really easy to color. Just add a few drops of food coloring and you’re good to go.

As always, please feel free to give advice and/or suggestions.


  1. Is the first ingredient meant to be chocolate? I’m a very beginner cook so I need it spelled out… powder? unsweetened bars? help! thanks.


  2. OMG! I am SO SORRY. Good catch. Let me fix that. Has NOTHING to do with you being a beginner, it’s all my fault!


  3. Added. It’s unsweetened cocoa. The original recipe calls for dutch processed, but I was out of that. I did have Hershey’s here, so I used it. It was totally fine. Just so you know.

    Thanks again, Alison!


  4. I don’t cook so I often skim over these Mom It Down entries because they require more effort than: Open Box. Stick In Microwave.

    HOWEVER…this one caught my eye because: SO PRETTY. I almost wish I DID cook so I could make things so pretty. *sigh* Maybe someday.


  5. Those are some beautiful cupcakes. Mad skills.


  6. Oh, zoot, I am the worst cook ever. If you actually asked me to cook something? I’d fail miserably. (Or order and pretend I made it.)

    Husband cooks. I suck at cooking.

    But somehow—and I have no idea how or why—I love baking.

    Sarah: No skills at all. I swear. It’s a piece of (cup)cake!

    I’m a DORK.


  7. Last month I took a few vanilla beans and split them and stuck them down in a canister of sugar just to see what happened. Last night I made muffins and used that vanilla sugar in the batter and sprinkled a little on top and it was DIVINE! I immediately thought of you and wanted to pass it on…


  8. Thank you! What a most excellent idea, lady. I may have to give that a shot.

    It’s the little things, right? Make a big difference.


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