Halloween Chocolate Mocha Cupcakes

Fuzz’s class is having their monthly play date/Halloween party this afternoon, so I decided to bake some cupcakes. The first batch was vanilla and the second batch was based on this prize winning Taste of Home recipe submitted by Mary Bilyeu. The original title is Special Mocha Cupcakes, but if you are a real mocha fan, you should know that the mocha flavor is subtle enough for a bunch of 7 year olds. I recommend decaf.

The original recipe includes a very sweet chocolate frosting. I prefer frosting with less sugar and more chocolate, so I used the recipe below. Depending on your schedule or what’s in the pantry, here are two other great chocolate frosting:

Silky Chocolate Butter Frosting – an old Good Housekeeping recipe I use over and over

Amy’s Chocolate Frosting which is easy and delicious. Swap out the stout for coffee to keep the coffee theme going.

Halloween Cupcake

Chocolate Mocha Cupcakes with Rich Chocolate Frosting

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup hot coffee
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 teaspoons cider vinegar
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs

Rich Chocolate Frosting:
4 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons cooled coffee
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt. In a small bowl, whisk the coffee, oil, vinegar and vanilla. Make a well in the dry mixture and add the coffee mixture to the dry mixture. Stir just until moistened, then using a spoon, beat in the eggs. Beat with a spoon until mixture is smooth.

Divide mixture evenly among 12 paper liners and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool.

Get started on the frosting because it requires chill time.

Place the semi-sweet chocolate in a mixing bowl. In a microwave-safe measuring cup, microwave the cream until it boils. Pour the hot cream slowly over the chocolate and stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Place bowl in the refrigerator and chill for 45 minutes or until it is very cold – it shouldn’t take more than an hour. Don’t chill too long or mixture will get too stiff.

When ready to frost, pull melted chocolate/cream mixture from refrigerator and using a hand held electric mixer, beat it until it fluffs up and becomes a bit paler. Beat in the butter, then slowly beat in the sugar. Beat in the coffee and vanilla. If mixture seems to stiff, add a little more coffee.

Ice the cupcakes.

I like to put the iced cupcakes in the refrigerator and let the icing set.

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  1. says

    The next TWD is chocolate cupcakes. I made them a few weeks ago–they were just okay, but the icing, which was more chocolatey than sugary was good, but I thought it was more for adults than kids.

  2. Kathy says

    Goofy question here. I was wondering what you used to frost the cupcakes – do you have a pastry bag and a tip? I am looking to jazz up my decorating but I don’t have a pastry bag. I am hoping that maybe you have a trick that does not involve a bag. Thanks! Kathy

  3. says

    Your icing doesn’t look like the TWD one. It was dippable, almost like a ganache. Only had 1 T. pwd. sugar. I frosted some like the recipe, then added a lot more sugar and some butter and made it more of a buttercream for the kids. It was good, but yours look better.

  4. says

    I have this issue of TOH w/ this cupcake. There is another cupcake in the issue that I love and make over and over again( the choc. cupcakes w/ cream cheese filling). I’m not sure why this mocha cupcake has vinegar and eggs. The other one doesnt. That one freaking ROCKS. Try it!!

  5. says

    I’ve been wanting to make cupcakes. I have never been able to frost them very pretty though. You did a great job.

  6. says

    Kathy, I use a pastry bag and a very fat star tip. Rolling parchment paper into a tube and inserting a tip is a common method, but unless you buy pre-cut parchment paper or have been rolling parchment bags for a long time and are good at it, it’s kind of a hassle. It’s easiest just to use a pastry bag. Michael’s sells reusable bags and disposables.

    Katrina, the recipe you made sounds similar to mine. I could have stopped at the whipped ganache (chocolate/cream mixture), but at that point I felt the mixture wasn’t sweet enough and didn’t have quite the texture I wanted. Adding the butter and powdered sugar made it more like a butter cream. I guess it’s a ganache/buttercream hybrid.

    LisAway, I guess it wasn’t too rich because everyone loved it! The kids chose the chocolate cupcakes over the vanilla ones which were made with a cake-mix based recipe. This was a major victor, as young kids have been known to pick the box version over scratch.

    Randi, this recipe was good, but in my opinion it could have been more chocolaty. I will check out the other recipe.

    Lisa, that silky frosting is very good. The technique used in making it is a little odd, but it’s worth it.

    Anj, good to see you! Get yourself a big fat start tip. I’m not a decorator either, but the start tip helps me turn out acceptable looking cupcakes.

  7. Jennifer says

    Those cupcakes look amazing! I have to make cupcakes for my daughters birthday coming up, I think I might try to make those!

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