Chocolate cake is one of my families favorite desserts and I have several recipes I have used over the years. Only recently did I come across a version that started with a cake mix. Now generally I would dismiss this concept because a cake mix just can't compete with homemade. Right? Okay, I was wrong. It was a really good cake but I have enhanced the chocolate flavor with the addition of instant espresso powder and cocoa. My family calls these the best chocolate cupcakes ever and I think you will agree.
The recipe makes approximately 30 cupcakes so it is perfect for when you have a crowd coming over or when you need to take a treat to your child's school. These cupcakes are addictive so don't say I didn't warn you.
- 1 box devils food cake mix (15 oz)
- 1 box chocolate pudding mix (5.9 oz)
- 2 tsp instant espresso powder
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 4 eggs
- 3/4 cup canola oil
- 3/4 cup hot water
- 8 oz sour cream
- 1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips
- 3 sticks butter, softened
- 6 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 1 vanilla bean
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 3-5 tbsp milk
In a large bowl of an electric mixer, combine the cake mix, pudding, espresso powder and cocoa.(Photo A) Next mix in the eggs, oil, hot water and sour cream. Pour in the mini chocolate chips and fold into the batter. (Photo B)
Pour batter into cupcake liners about 3/4 full. (Photo C) Bake for 20-25 minutes at 325 degrees or until the cupcakes spring back when touched. Use a toothpick to check for doneness if you prefer.
Remove from the oven and allow the cupcakes to cool completely.
Place the butter in the bowl of a large mixer and whip until the butter is light and fluffy. Don't skip sifting the confectioners' sugar. (Photo D) You don't want lumps in the icing. Add the confectioners’ sugar one cup at a time. Mix slowly or the confectioners’ sugar will create a cloud of white powder throughout your kitchen.
Add 2 tbsp milk mix until combined. Scrape the vanilla out of the vanilla bean with a knife. (photo E) Add in the vanilla bean paste, and vanilla. The buttercream should be thick but spreadable and hold a peak. (Photo F) Add more milk as needed to reach the desired consistency.
Frost the cupcakes with the Vanilla Bean Buttercream. The frosting can be piped or put on with a knife. I used the Wilton 1M to frost the cupcakes. (Photo G, H, I and K)