Category Archives: cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcakes {Six Year Anniversary!}

Chocolate Cupcakes

E2 Bakes turned six years old yesterday. While some things have stayed consistent over the last 634 posts—namely that I keep on posting—one of bigger changes in the last year is that I have finally started to appreciate the art of the cupcake.

Oh, I had cupcake recipes before this year—of course I did—but not many. Making cupcakes takes more time than making layer cakes (the dividing of batter alone…) and, contrary to popular belief, they’re not as simple as divvying up a layer cake recipe into a lot of little bits. Really great cupcakes are a bit more nuanced than that. But nuance doesn’t equal difficulty, and my best ever Chocolate Cupcakes are proof positive of that.

One surefire way to have great cupcakes every time? Don’t overfill the pans. Just don’t. Bigger is not better here—if you want bigger cake, make a layer cake. Lest I need to say it again: cupcakes are their own thing. Once your batter is prepared, fill each well 1/2-2/3 full and absolutely no more. You’ll think “this isn’t enough batter,” but it absolutely is. You can thank me when you pull 20+ soft, tender, perfectly domed little cakes from the oven. None with flat, spread-out tops for me, thanks!

The batter is a simple whisking situation, but there is a secret to getting the most chocolate flavor out of your ingredients: blooming the cocoa powder! Blooming is simply combining cocoa with a warm liquid ingredient to bring out its natural depth. I have bloomed cocoa many times on this blog, including my first post ever, wherein I melted butter, cocoa and sugar together for perfect chewy Cocoa Brownies. I’ve also done it by adding hot coffee to layer cakes and warming the butter and cocoa in my chocolate cookies. Here, the cocoa is stirred into warmed (not hot!) oil before being combined with dry ingredients and buttermilk.

Chocolate Cupcakes

While the recipe will still produce cupcakes if you skip the blooming, they will be oddly unremarkable. Not bad—nothing with a giant plume of chocolate buttercream on top could ever be bad. They just won’t be great. And I don’t know about you, but after six years of baking on here, I think we all deserve great cupcakes.

Chocolate Cupcakes
Chocolate Cupcakes 
makes 20-22 cupcakes

1/2 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon espresso granules (optional)
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature

For decorating:
Chocolate Buttercream (recipe below)
chocolate sprinkles (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F. Line 20-22 cups in muffin/cupcake pans with liners. Set aside.

Bloom the cocoa. Pour oil into a small microwave safe bowl. Microwave 20-25 seconds or until warm (but not hot). This step may also be done in a pot on the stove.

Add cocoa to oil and whisk with a fork to combine. Let sit while you prepare the other ingredients.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, espresso granules, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar and brown sugar. In a liquid measuring cup or small bowl, whisk together vanilla and buttermilk.

Whisk half the bloomed cocoa into the dry ingredients, followed by half the buttermilk. Add the remaining bloomed cocoa followed by the remaining buttermilk.

Divide batter among the liners, ensuring that they are only 1/2-2/3 full. Tap full pans on the counter 5 times to release large air bubbles, then bake cupcakes 18-19 minutes, or until slightly domed. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean.

Let cupcakes cool in their pans for 5 minutes before removing to racks to cool completely.

Spread or pipe chocolate buttercream on cooled cupcakes. Finish with sprinkles. Serve.

Leftover cupcakes will keep covered at room temperature for a few days or in the refrigerator for up to a week.


Chocolate Buttercream
makes enough for 1 batch of cupcakes

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
3/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
6 tablespoons heavy cream

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy (about two minutes). Beat in confectioner's sugar, followed by cocoa powder and salt, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Add in vanilla and heavy cream. Beat on high for 1-2 minutes, until very fluffy.

Load into a piping bag fitted with a tip (I used a star tip here), or spread with an offset icing knife.

Tie-Dye Cupcakes

Tie-Dye Cupcakes

While all of us were inside last year, tie-dye made a huge comeback. It’s a fun and easy way to augment clothes, towels, bedsheets or anything else that will absorb color. Why not take that same bright & twisty aesthetic and apply it to dessert?! We’re talking colorful little cups of cake and clouds of vanilla buttercream with technicolor details. They’re fun and funky, and summery as all get-out!

You’ve seen these cupcakes on here before, but never like this. The base is my favorite vanilla sour cream cupcake batter which has been everything from yellow with Nutella Buttercream to spiked with honey and finished with candy corn to marbled with a streak of red velvet to dolled up for the Easter bunny. Today’s version might be my favorite variation of all. Tie-Dye Cupcakes are beautiful to look at and incredibly fun to make.

Start by mixing together the batter and dividing it into four bowls. Grab a few of your favorite shades of food coloring and dye each bowl of batter a different color. A word to the wise that gel food coloring makes for richer colors and doesn’t threaten to add too much liquid to your batter. That said, if liquid is what you have on hand, use it!

Once your batter is dyed, spoon the colors into your cupcake pans. There are no hard and fast rules on how to do this, except to get all the colors in each cup and only up to 2/3-3/4 full. I like to give mine a little swirl with a skewer before baking, but this is strictly optional. After you’ve got all your batters in your pans, bake your cupcakes and let them cool.

Tie-Dye Cupcakes

Next up: frosting! These swirly-twirly colorful plumes of buttercream may look intimidating, but they are just regular old vanilla buttercream with a little food coloring. Where most colorful frosting recipes ask you to whip the dye directly into the mix, I take a different approach here.

Before the buttercream is loaded into the piping bag, it’s rolled up in a piece of plastic wrap that has been painted with lines of gel food coloring, then formed into a log. I found it easiest to divide the frosting in half for this step. Once rolled, one end of the log is trimmed off before the whole kit and caboodle is placed in the piping bag and then…well, it’s piping business as usual. You know, except for the part where each cupcake looks different and the edges of the frosting are bright and beautiful!

Tie-Dye Cupcakes

It goes without saying that Tie-Dye Cupcakes are delicious, but let’s be real: these are all about aesthetics. They’re so fun—perfect for summer get-togethers, birthdays, or any occasion that could use a pop (or four) of color and a really spectacular bit of vanilla cake.

Tie-Dye Cupcakes
Tie-Dye Cupcakes
makes 12-14 cupcakes

Cupcakes:
1/2 cup milk, room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 food colorings of choice (I used gel)

Frosting:
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons heavy cream
4 food colorings of choice (I used the same gels from the cake)

Special Equipment:
plastic wrap
food-safe paintbrushes
piping bag with a tip and coupler

Make the cupcakes. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 12-cup standard muffin tin with cupcake liners. Set aside.

Combine milk and sour cream a liquid measuring cup, then use a fork to whisk them together. Set aside.

In a small-medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy. Beat in sugar. Add eggs one at a time, combining completely after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Mix in half the dry ingredients, followed by half the milk/sour cream. Add the remaining dry ingredients followed by the remaining milk/sour cream.

Divide batter into four small bowls (about 2/3-3/4 cup batter in each). Add a different food coloring to each one and stir with forks to distribute the color (I used 5 drops each pink, blue, green and yellow gel).

To achieve the tie-dye effect, spoon a heaping 1/2 tablespoon of each color into each liner, adjusting as needed, until each one is 2/3-3/4 full. Tap full pan on the counter five times before baking cupcakes for 18-19 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely.

Make the frosting. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy. Add confectioner’s sugar and salt in two installments, combining completely after each addition. Beat in vanilla & heavy cream until combined. Set aside.

Lay 2 14-16-inch long pieces of plastic wrap on a surface. On each one, use paintbrushes to paint parallel 6-inch stripes of each color of food coloring about 1/2-inch apart. The food coloring may bead on the surface of the plastic wrap—this is okay.

Top each set of stripes with half the frosting. Working with one assemblage of frosting/food coloring/ plastic wrap at a time, use the plastic wrap to roll and manipulate the frosting into a log shape with food coloring stripes going down all sides. Twist the ends of the plastic wrap so that the log looks like a piece of old-fashioned candy. Repeat this process with the other assemblage.

Working with one log of frosting at a time, trim one end and place the wrapped log trimmed-end-down in a piping bag fitted with a tip. Twist the piping bag closed and pipe frosting onto the cupcakes. Repeat trimming process with the second log of frosting when needed.

Serve cupcakes. Leftovers will keep covered at room temperature for 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 4.
Tie-Dye Cupcakes
Tie-Dye Cupcakes

Friday Favorites: Birthday Cake

Friday Favorites: Birthday Cake​

My birthday is tomorrow, so let’s talk birthday cake! From elaborate layer cakes to ice cream cakes to marble cupcakes to cookie cakes, the cake you choose to have at your birthday celebration is highly personal. Some people have the same thing every year. Others, myself included, like to change it up. No matter which camp you fall into, I have loads of cake recipes for you in my archives. Here are some of my absolute favorites.

Friday Favorites: Birthday Cake​

Black Forest Cake {Schwarzvaldtårta}

While feeling homesick on my birthday last year, I decided to recreate a Swiss-style Black Forest Cake that is hugely popular in my hometown. You won’t find any cherries or chocolate cake here, just layers of airy almond dacquoise, whipped cream and dark chocolate. It also happens to be naturally gluten-free and so, so good. I’ll be having the real deal for my birthday this year (lucky me!), but this homemade version hits the spot if you’re not near Fort Worth, Texas.

Friday Favorites: Birthday Cake​

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cake

Who doesn’t love ice cream cake? This one is simple as can be, starting with sandwiching mint chocolate chip ice cream with two layers of chocolate cake, then finishing it with whipped cream and anything else you like! Feel free to change up the ice cream flavor or just use this as a template and change the recipe completely. There is no wrong way to ice cream cake.

Friday Favorites: Birthday Cake​

Funfetti Cookie Cupcakes

When I was a kid, all the best birthday parties involved cookie cake. The same is true as an adult. I have Brown Butter Chocolate Chip, Chocolate M&Ms and Red Velvet Cookie Cakes in my archives, but this almost-36 year-old could really go for these colorful, miniature Funfetti Cookie Cupcakes right now!

Friday Favorites: Birthday Cake​

Red Velvet Marble Cupcakes

We all know a red velvet person. I usually save it for Oscar Night, but I think these Red Velvet Marble Cupcakes would fit the bill for birthdays too!

Friday Favorites: Birthday Cake​

Gluten-Free Vegan Chocolate Cake

This chocolate cake is a thing to behold. Made with all vegan, gluten-free ingredients and stacked tall with vegan chocolate buttercream, it might just surprise you and become a favorite.

Friday Favorites: Birthday Cake​

Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting

Something about Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting screams “birthday” to so many people. Mine is made with very good things like sour cream and brown sugar, mixed using the reverse creaming method, and finished with an irresistible chocolate frosting.

Friday Favorites: Birthday Cake​

How to Make Mini Layer Cakes

Not quite ready to start celebrating with larger groups yet? A mini layer cake might be the perfect solution! This tutorial has everything you need to make a birthday cake for 4-6 people.

Friday Favorites: Birthday Cake​

M&Ms Surprise Cake

This is the cake for that person in your life who’s a little extra. The one who likes all the bells and whistles and would enjoy slicing into a cake full of candy—this cake is for that person. Also? Hi, I’m that person.

Have you made these or any of my other chocolate chip treats? Let me know in the comments or on social media!

Friday Favorites: Birthday Cake​

Easter Egg Hunt Cupcakes

Easter Egg Hunt CupcakesHow cute are these Easter Egg Hunt Cupcakes?! They’re a miniature version of the towering surprise-inside Easter Egg Hunt Cake I made a few years back, and truth be told, I think I love them even more than the original. Layer cakes are great and all, but it’s pretty hard to resist cupcakes topped with Easter candy and filled with sprinkles!Easter Egg Hunt CupcakesEaster Egg Hunt Cupcakes start with the same vanilla sour cream cupcake base I used for my Red Velvet Marble Cupcakes last month. Here it’s baked up plain, but that’s the only thing that’s plain about these little cakes. It goes without saying that this recipe is pretty extra.Easter Egg Hunt CupcakesBefore frosting, each cupcake is filled with sprinkles for a surprise effect. To achieve this, a cone-shaped piece of cake is cut out of the top of each cupcake, leaving behind just enough room for a teaspoon of sprinkles. Then the little conical toppers are trimmed into disks so that they fit right back on top of the cupcakes, concealing the surprise inside. Once the cupcakes are frosted, the cut-outs won’t be visible, making it all the more fun when your family and friends bite in and sprinkles come running out!Easter Egg Hunt CupcakesEaster Egg Hunt CupcakesLike the layer cake that inspired them, these cupcakes are frosted with green-tinted vanilla buttercream and decorated with little Easter scenes made of green coconut “grass,” egg-shaped candies and Peeps bunnies.

Pro-tip: slice off the rounded bottom edges of your Peeps bunnies and slick the exposed marshmallow with frosting so that they sit nicely on your cupcakes. You don’t want to spend all of Easter propping up marshmallow bunnies, you know?!Easter Egg Hunt CupcakesI can’t get over how festive these are! I say this about at least one recipe a year, but these might be the cutest things I’ve ever made. And maybe soon they’ll be the cutest things you’ve ever made.Easter Egg Hunt Cupcakes

Easter Egg Hunt Cupcakes
makes 12-14 cupcakes

Cupcakes:
1/2 cup milk, room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Frosting:
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
a few drops of green food coloring
3 tablespoons heavy cream

For assembly:
1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
a few drops of green food coloring
Peeps bunnies (optional)
rainbow sprinkles (jimmies) or seasonal sprinkles
Easter egg candies (I used M&Ms)

Make the cupcakes. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 12-cup standard muffin tin with cupcake liners. Set aside.

Combine milk and sour cream a liquid measuring cup, then use a fork to whisk them together. Set aside.

In a small-medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy. Beat in sugar. Add eggs one at a time, combining completely after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Mix in half the dry ingredients, followed by half the milk/sour cream. Add the remaining dry ingredients followed by the remaining milk/sour cream.

Fill liners 2/3-3/4 full. Tap full pan on the counter five times before baking for 18-19 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely.

Make the frosting. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy. Add confectioner’s sugar and salt in two installments, combining completely after each addition. Beat in vanilla, food coloring & heavy cream until combined. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together coconut and food coloring until combined. If using Peeps bunnies, trim off 1/2-inch of their curved bases so that they are flat.

Fill cupcakes. Working with one cupcake at a time, use a small paring knife to carve out a 1-inch deep hole in the top. The removed piece should be conical; slice off the narrow/pointed end so that you have a little disk of cake. Fill the hole in the cupcake with ~1 teaspoon of sprinkles, then place the disk of cake on top to cover them. Repeat process until all cupcakes have been filled.

Frost and decorate cupcakes. Use an offset icing spatula to frost filled cupcakes, leaving the tops relatively flat. Sprinkle on green coconut (or gently dip cupcakes into a bowl of coconut), then decorate with egg candies and Peeps bunnies. I find it easiest to get the Peeps bunnies to stick by dipping their trimmed flat bottom edges in frosting before adhering to the frosted cupcakes.

Serve. Cupcakes will keep covered at room temperature for up to three days, or in the refrigerator for up to five. Peeps bunnies will get stale over time.

Easter Egg Hunt CupcakesEaster Egg Hunt Cupcakes

Friday Favorites: Red Velvet

Friday Favorites: Red VelvetI professed my love for red velvet earlier this week, and this round-up is the proof! Whether it’s cake, cookies or cookie cake, I am all about this ruby red chocolate-vanilla flavor. Just in time for Valentine’s Day weekend, here are a few of my red velvet favorites from the archives.Friday Favorites: Red VelvetRed Velvet Marble Cupcakes

I posted these cupcakes two days ago, and I am not over them. The red velvet-swirled sour cream cupcake, the plume of two-tone cream cheese frosting—I love it all. These are positively dreamy.Friday Favorites: Red VelvetRed Velvet Cake

You can’t beat a classic, and my red velvet cake is just that. Super moist, springy and perfectly red, this is the best of the best…unlike the photos. Did I take them in the dark?! Yikes. Looks like I need to replace those immediately, if not sooner. Friday Favorites: Red VelvetRed Velvet Cookies

These chewy Red Velvet Cookies were one of my first posts ever! The cream cheese frosting is swapped for white chocolate chips, but please trust me when I say the flavor is all there.Friday Favorites: Red VelvetRed Velvet Sandwich Cookies

I made these simple and stunning Red Velvet Sandwich Cookies a couple of Oscar Nights ago and haven’t stopped thinking about them since! They’re soft and chewy like the Red Velvet Cookies above, but instead of being studded with white chocolate chips, they’re sandwiched with a swipe of cream cheese frosting.Friday Favorites: Red VelvetRed Velvet Cookie Cake

Here I’ve taken that Red Velvet Cookie recipe, baked it in a cake pan and crowned it with cream cheese frosting. It’s a little underdone in the center for maximum cookie cake goodness!Friday Favorites: Red VelvetRed Velvet Cut-Out Cookies

Heck yes I made little red velvet cookie Oscars! I celebrate every Oscar Night with a red velvet baked good. If you’re not a total awards show weirdo though, you can cut these into hearts for Valentine’s Day.Friday Favorites: Red VelvetRed Velvet Cheesecake Thumbprints

Sparkly red velvet cookies with little wells of cheesecake baked in the centers? Sign me up!Friday Favorites: Red VelvetRed Velvet Cheesecake Bars

And speaking of red velvet cheesecake things, I made these Red Velvet Cheesecake Bars for a bake sale a few years ago and they were the first things to go! With a chewy red velvet blondie base and a thick layer of creamy cheesecake, they’re absolutely irresistible.

What’s your favorite way to eat red velvet? Have you made these or any of my other red velvet recipes? Let me know in the comments or on social media!

Friday Favorites: Red Velvet