Easiest, Rich, Dark Chocolate Cupcakes With Vanilla Frosting

This Recipe Uses A Mix, But No One Will Ever Know! 

These cupcakes taste 100% homemade even though you are using a mix.  I made these cupcakes to bring to a barbecue when my daughter Randi first became engaged.  She and her friends loved these.  I make them now mostly for me because I love chocolate, and I really need to eat something chocolate at night while I’m watching TV with my son Danny.  When I make these cupcakes, I freeze them individually in some plastic wrap, and then put them in ziploc freezer bags.  (I deliver a bag of them to Randi, and then we get to keep the rest.)  Then, I can just take out one to eat at night, and I know that at least the portion isn’t huge.  If I just made this as a sheet cake and left it out on the counter, we would probably finish it in one day.

for the cupcakes:

  • 1 box Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge cake mix
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 extra large eggs
  • 1/2 cup canola, corn, or light olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line two 12 cup muffin pans with paper or foil liners.  In large bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, blend cake mix, cocoa, buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla on low speed for a minute just to blend.  Scrape down sides of bowl, increase speed to medium and beat 2-3 more minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Spoon large spoonfuls into muffin cups.  The batter should come up about 2/3 of the height of the muffin cup.  

Bake in the center of the oven about 18 to 20 minutes until the tops of the cupcakes look dry and a toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool on wire racks.

for the frosting:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter or Fleischmann’s margarine, at room temperature
  • 1 box (1 pound) confectioners sugar, sifted to remove any lumps
  • 6 tablespoons of whole milk (may use half and half or light cream)
  • 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt (only necessary if you are using unsalted butter or margarine)

Put room temperature butter in the large bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment.  Cream for 1 minute.  Pour in sugar, salt, milk, vanilla.  Mix on low speed just to blend.  Then mix on medium speed until frosting becomes creamy and smooth.  Frost cooled cupcakes immediately.   

I recommend keeping the leftover cupcakes covered individually with plastic wrap in the refrigerator or freezer .  When you want to eat one, just take one out and let it come to room temperature before you eat it.

Note:  You may bake this in a 9 x 13 inch baking pan to make a sheet cake.  Grease the sides and bottom well with butter or margarine.  Bake cake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool on wire rack.  When cake is cool, make vanilla frosting and spread it on cake with a rubber spatula, a knife or an offset spatula.  Cover with plastic wrap.  Keep the leftover cake covered in the refrigerator.

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