These Cream-Filled Chocolate Cupcakes, with the classic white squiggle, will take you back to your childhood favorite.
These look like pretty complicated cupcakes, I know. “There’s so many components! This will be so hard! I’ll never make them look like that!” Psh. It’s just cupcakes. They’re gonna taste great no matter what! There might seem like there’s a lot of steps, but take them one at a time and have some fun! Don’t overthink things. And if you don’t get your squiggles just right, think about this: Recipe photos, even mine, only show you the best of the bunch. Do you think no one ever makes something that looks kinda funny? We don’t post those pictures. And, again, it’s cupcakes, we eat the imperfect evidence 😉 This is a fairly foolproof recipe and, unless you catch your cupcakes on fire (unlikely), everything is going to be fine. Better than fine – it’s going to be delicious!
- 2 cup (260g) all-purpose flour
- 2 cup 400g) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (96g) unsweetened dark cocoa powder (I used Hershey's Special Dark for a rich, dark, chocolaty flavor)
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup (240g) buttermilk
- 1 cup (240g) still warm brewed coffee + 1 tsp instant coffee or espresso mixed in
- 1/2 cup (120g) vegetable oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Cupcake Filling and Squiggle
- 8 large egg whites at room temperature (save the yolks for another use or freeze with 3 tsp of sugar whisked in, for up to 6 months. The sugar is important to avoid the yolks becoming gummy as they freeze. Trust science.)
- 2 cup (400g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp cream of tartar (don't skip this! It stabilizes your frosting/filling)
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 8 oz (227g) semi-sweet or dark chocolate chopped up (I like a mixture of both, but don't use chocolate chips. They contain stabilizers that might prevent a really smooth ganache, which is what we're going for here)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 3 tbsp corn syrup (this will help your ganache to stay nice and shiny)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pans with baking cup liners. This recipe will make 24 cupcakes. Place oven racks in the top and bottom third of oven. You will be swapping rack positions and rotating pans halfway through.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add buttermilk, warm coffee, oil and vanilla. Give this a little mix. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat on medium speed for 2 full minutes. (Batter will be pretty darn thin and you'll think you messed up everything. Fear not! This is what we're going for.) Fill muffin cups about 2/3 full. This cupcake recipe will not "dome" all crazy-like, but you still don't want to overfill, because then they'll spill over the edges of the liners a bit as they bake. I use a large, or 3 tbs, cupcake scoop, filled to the brim. As you can see, I splattered a bit around the pan. Life is imperfect. Embrace it. Soap is cheap, whatever.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, rotating your pans halfway through (just give 'em a 180˚ spin) and swapping the rack positions of the pans. They are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost completely clean. See the very slight doming on top? That's perfect! Cool the cupcakes in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove from the pan and let cool completely on a cooling rack.
- When your cupcakes are fully cooled, about an hour or so, use a small ring mold or an apple corer to remove the center of your cupcake. This is where you will pipe in the filling we're about to create. Eat those bits you just removed. No one will even notice, and this is quality control. We wouldn't want to give someone cupcakes we haven't checked for flavor, right?
Making Marshmallow Frosting
- Place your egg whites, sugar, salt, and cream of tartar in a bowl placed over a pot of simmering water. Whisk until sugar is completely dissolved and eggs are almost too hot to touch, about 120 degrees F. I use a thermometer now, but honestly, I used to just stick my fingertip in there and if it felt pretty warm and all the sugar was dissolved, it was fine.
- Transfer to your stand mixer and use whisk attachment on low, slowly increasing speed to high. Whisk for 7 minutes or until stiff white peaks have formed. Like this! Add vanilla and whisk on low until completely incorporated.
- Now you're going to fill your piping bag for filling the cupcakes. I see "experienced" bakers just casually draping piping bags over their hands and filling their piping bags with ease. Yeah, no. I start by cutting a hole in the bottom of the piping bag, then I put a large round piping tip over it. I shove my piping bag into this really ugly vase, drape it over the sides, and use a spatula to fill it up. Give it a few quick shakes, and the frosting is ready to pipe. P.S. You can also use a zip-top bag with a hole cut into the corner. You don't even really need a piping tip if you don't have one. Just cut a hole in the corner and jam it in your ugliest vase and fill as directed. P.P.S. I just noticed the water bottle in the picture. It has nothing to do with the recipe. I just got thirsty. Real life.
Let's Fill and Frost These Things!
- Pipe your frosting into each cupcake until it just peeks over the top.
- Using a small offset spatula or butter knife, smooth the frosting flush with the top of your cupcake.
- Chop up your chocolate bars. It doesn't have to be super tiny or even in uniform sized pieces. Just chop it and put it in a bowl.
- Heat your cream and corn syrup on medium heat until bubbles start to pop up on the edges of the pan. Try not to let it go to a full boil because you might scorch your cream. Pour the cream over the chopped chocolate and let it sit there for about 2 - 3 minutes. Using a spatula or whisk, mix your chocolate and cream, starting at the center and working outwards. It's not going to look like it's going to do anything for a minute, then WOW! It's chocolate ganache!
- Gently grasp your cupcake and dip the top into your ganache, giving it a little swirl. Slowly pull it out, and, in an effort to keep the top as smooth as possible, give it a little twist to the side as you whip it upright. Flick that wrist! You may need to give it a few tries before you get the hang of it, but hey! Look how great you did! There might be a small swirly bit from where you finished dipping, but that should smooth out. If it doesn't, that's just character. Cute little swirly bits never hurt anyone. They're delicious.
- It's time to make your adorable squiggles! Grab another piping bag and fit it with a small round piping tip, or use a zip-top bag and cut a small hole in the corner. Place your bag of choice into your ugly vase or tall glass, or just hold it in your very talented hands. Fill the bag with more frosting. It doesn't take a lot. They're skinny squiggles. You might want to practice those classic squiggly lines on a paper plate or a piece of parchment paper. They don't have to be perfect, you should have seen the first time I tried piping some! A little practice will get the nerves out and you'll do fine. When you're done they should look something like this. And they will be delicious. And people will think you're super talented and cool. Cuz you are. Back pat 👋