It seems like every calendar day is now a food holiday, but National Chocolate Cupcake Day is one not to be missed. While the chocolate cupcake — with frosting variations in all manners of colors and textures, with or without sprinkles — is a delight in its own right, there are far more creative ways to put a sweet spin on this simple dessert staple. So to celebrate the timeless go-to, here is a roundup of 20 delectable chocolate cupcake ideas that add a little flair to the classic recipe.
Chocolate cupcakes in their purest form are difficult to argue with as a delicious dessert option that gets the job done. However, there are a host of enticingly inventive ways to take the time-honored treat to another level. This holiday (and continuing into the holiday season) is the perfect time to try your hand at one (or more). The ideas range from unusually flavored frostings — like green tea and goat cheese — to dessert mashups that experiment with confectionary crossbreeds — pecan pie, tiramisu — for surprisingly satisfying results. You will still love your textbook chocolate cupcake, but you will just have a reserve of more inspired and impressive options for those times you are needing something more.
1. Hot Chocolate Cupcakes
As the temperature cools, cozy up to a freshly baked batch that evokes the comfort of a hot chocolate drink, complete with a dollop of toasted marshmallow frosting to top it off. The cocoa concoction by A Cozy Kitchen calls for "melting good quality chocolate into a cup of strongly brewed coffee."
2. Malted Milk Chocolate Cupcakes
Halloween's still a couple weeks away, but why not indulge a little early with a candy-inspired treat? These moist chocolate cupcakes by Brown Eyed Baker are not only topped with crunchy malt balls, but are "loaded with a hefty dose of malt flavor." Their frosting is "essentially a cross between a whipped ganache and a buttercream," resulting in an airy, creamy texture.
3. Toasted Coconut Caramel Chocolate Cupcakes
Coconut lovers can really go overboard with these toasted coconut treats by Half Baked Harvest that pair with caramel and chocolate for the ultimate indulgence. "They’re moist, chocolaty and coconuty." It's a word now.
4. Chocolate Cupcakes with Baileys Cream Cheese Frosting
These chocolate cupcakes by My Name Is Yeh, which otherwise keep it classic, get "a little something *extra* by way of Baileys Irish cream."
5. Red Wine Chocolate Cupcakes
For another boozy option, this alcohol-infused batch does the trick. Recipe creator Table For Two promises you can really taste (and feel) the red wine.
6. Chocolate Cupcakes with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting
For a little added autumn flair, crown your chocolate cupcakes with this pumpkin cream cheese frosting by Cooking for Keeps. And for all you PSL lovers out there, "if you absolutely need to have the pumpkin spice in there you could throw in a little pinch."
7. Rocky Road Cupcakes
An ice cream flavor favorite is achievable in cupcake form with this recipe by Your Cup of Cake. Just combine chocolate almond frosting, chocolate ganache, mini marshmallows, and nuts.
8. Hi Hat Cupcakes
Take a trip down memory lane for a hand-dipped cone at the local soft serve stand with this creation by Brown Eyed Baker. Topped with a tall swirl of stiff marshmallow frosting and coated in a chocolate shell, this treat is sure to bring out the kid in you.
9. Chocolate Cupcakes with Lavender Goat Cheese Frosting
While goat cheese may not be the first ingredient that comes to mind when exploring options to better a chocolate cupcake, recipe creator Food Fanatic reassures the results are delicious. The frosting is "rich and tangy," and the "sweet goat cheese buttercream" is "lightly perfumed with lavender buds that have been ground into the sugar."
10. Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Roasted Marshmallow Cupcakes
This over-the-top dessert dream by Joy the Baker synergistically brings together an all-star lineup of sweet-tooth predilections. The tops of chocolate cupcakes are scooped out to make room for peanut butter cookie dough balls that are then covered in marshmallow meringue and toasted.
11. Chicory Coffee Chocolate Cupcakes with Amaretto Buttercream
This heartwarming recipe by Adventures In Cooking calls for a cup of freshly brewed Chicory coffee, to which the fluffy cupcakes owe their flavor. The brew-flavored baked goods are frosted with Amaretto buttercream and sprinkles for some crunchy contrast to the spongey cake.
12. Salted Caramel Chocolate Cupcakes
Skip the crowds and satisfy your seasonal drink cravings with this simple number by Table for Two, who notes "the buttercream tastes exactly like the first sip of [a] salted caramel mocha."
13. Tiramisu Cupcakes
Transform an Italian dessert favorite into a grabable treat with these cupcakes that call for "a quick brushing of coffee liqueur" before being topped with creamy mascarpone cheese, whipped cream, and chocolate shavings. Recipe creator Steamy Kitchen "brushed liberally" and has some words to live by: a dessert "should satisfy not only my sweet (and salty) tooth, but also take care of my boozy tooth too."
14. Sugared Brown Butter Vanilla Bean Popcorn Chocolate Cupcakes
As if brown butter vanilla bean frosting weren't enough to put these cupcakes by Half Baked Harvest completely over the top, they're covered in a mountain of popcorn that's drizzled with melted chocolate, but not before first being coated in hot butter and sprinkled with salt and brown sugar.
15. Brownie Batter Cupcakes
These cupcakes by Your Cup of Cake are as close as you're going to get to licking brownie batter straight from the bowl.
16. Peanut Butter-Stuffed Hot Fudge Cupcakes
Pure decadence is fluffy dark chocolate cupcakes that are stuffed and topped with thick, creamy peanut butter buttercream before getting drizzled with hot dark chocolate fudge. Thank you, How Sweet It Is.
17. Chocolate Cupcakes with Cookies and Cream Frosting
It's hard to believe, but these sweet treats by Averie Cooks are actually vegan (yes, even the Oreos). "The Oreo cookies and cream frosting is truly the icing on the cupcake" and the "crunchy texture breaks up the silky smooth buttercream beautifully."
18. Chocolate Cupcakes with Matcha Green Tea Frosting
Bring some Asian fusion to your baking with this exceptional pairing by My Name Is Yeh. The blend of green tea and chocolate flavors is quite striking, and the natural light green topping is beautiful.
19. Pumpkin Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream
These Halloween-ready cupcakes by Adventures in Cooking aren't just topped with pumpkin frosting, but are pumpkin-flavored all the way through. Spiced up with cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, they'll hold you over until it's time for you to have your first pumpkin pie of the season.
20. Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie Cupcakes
Another one perfect for pie lovers is this chocolate cupcake crowned with a generous swirl of butter pecan frosting stuffed with bourbon-glazed roasted pecans. Recipe creator Half Baked Harvest cautions that these babies do take a little extra love and time. If you're not really a pecan fan, the chocolate-bourbon base is a treat in itself and "calls for a whole cup of bourbon."
For more dessert ideas, check out Bustle on YouTube.
Images: My Name Is Ye (3), A Cozy Kitchen, Brown Eyed Baker (2), Half Baked Harvest, Table For Two, Cooking For Keeps, Your Cup Of Cake (2), Food Fanatic, Joy The Baker, Adventures In Cooking (2), Table For Two, Steamy Kitchen, How Sweet It Is, Averie Cooks