High Top Chocolate-Sour Cream Cupcakes

One of our favorite things to do in Connecticut is walk around the town where Todd grew up. Shops come and go, and one recent addition made us very happy – a Crumbs bakery. I was excited about trying one of their famous cupcakes, but never did. The excuse? It was 30 minutes before lunch and too hot to carry cupcakes around. I said we’d go back, but we didn’t and I’ve been mad at myself ever since.

Today, in honor of the Crumbs cupcake we never tasted, I decided to make some cupcakes that sort of look like the ones from Crumbs. That is, with big domed tops and lots of sprinkles

The cake part of this recipe is adapted from “The Only Bake Sale Cupcake You’ll Ever Need” and the icing is adapted from Oprah.com. I halved both recipes, added vanilla, and baked the cupcakes at a higher temperature since I’d read that domed tops were formed from high heat baking. It seems to have worked. The domes are just the right size and shape for building up with more icing for a big, dramatic top. They might not be as good as Crumbs, but they were still delicious.

If you only need 6 cupcakes, you can halve this recipe. Just beat the egg lightly and measure out a little less than 2 tablespoons.

As for the icing, it’s got a pretty strong (in a good way) sour cream flavor and a velvety smooth, non-chalky texture which I loved.

cupcake 004

Chocolate-Sour Cream Cupcakes

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate (I used Ghirardelli’s 100% cacao)
1 cup granulated sugar (192 grams)
1 cup all purpose flour (135 grams)
3/8 teaspoon baking soda (1 ml plus a pinch)
1/4 teaspoons salt (1 ml)
1/4 cup hot coffee (60 ml)
1/4 cup sour cream, room temperature (55 grams)
1/4 cup vegetable oil (60 ml)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg, lightly beaten

5 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 sticks unsalted butter (230 grams)
3/4 pound powdered sugar, sifted after measuring (336 grams)
Pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup sour cream (55 grams)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. and line 10-12 muffins cups with paper liners. I wanted my cupcakes to be a little bigger, so only used 10.

Melt the chocolate in a bowl set over hot water or in microwave. Set aside to cool slightly.

Mix the sugar, flour, baking soda and salt together in a mixing bowl.

Whisk the coffee, sour cream, oil and vanilla together in a separate bowl for about 2 minutes or until very well mixed.

Gradually add the coffee mixture to the flour mixture, stirring to blend, then add the egg and whisk until combined. Add the melted chocolate and mix until it’s blended in.

Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake tins and bake on center rack for 20 minutes or until cupcakes appear done or a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs.

Makes 12

To make the frosting, melt the bittersweet chocolate and set it aside to cool to lukewarm. Beat the butter with an electric mixer until fluffy. Beat in the powdered sugar, salt and vanilla. Stir in the melted chocolate and the sour cream.

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  1. says

    Well, there is a pile of frosting but it is spread over the dome. The dome just bulks it up a little and gives it a good shape.

  2. Therese B. says

    Those cupcakes look so good. I really think
    there is an obsession with cupcakes. Martha Steward has a cupcake book too. It seems
    most of the magazines have cupcakes on their
    But, these look soooo good. I love the high
    domed look.
    I am going to make these for my Bunco group,
    whose theme is Come on over Cupcake. These would be so perfect!
    Thanks Anna…perfect timing for me!

  3. Louise says

    Cupcakes have been a food fad for quite a while. Who can’t love a cupcake? And they are perfect portion size too. These turned out really cute. I’ll have to try the high temperature technique for the round tops. Thirty minutes until lunch would not stop me from trying a “Crumbs” cupcake. After all, “Life’s short. Eat dessert first.” 🙂

  4. says

    AH! I’ve been looking for a good, easy chocolate cupcake recipe. FYI: the chocolate frosting recipe on the can of Ghiradelli’s unsweetened cocoa is TO.DIE.FOR!
    I love your new template- very clean & neat!

  5. Sarah says

    Love the new look, and these cupcakes 😉 They look so yummy, is only this humidity would break I could turn the oven on!

  6. says

    Thanks for the comments on the new look! I need to come up with a new banner, though. The current one doesn’t fit the “Madness” theme. I’m learning all this as I go — Php, CSS, Photoshop. It’s almost as fun as baking.

    About cupcakes, I was reading Food & Wine’s website this morning and found a very similar cupcake recipe with a cookies and cream flavored frosting.


    The batter is almost the same as this one, but for the fat they use 1/4 cups butter and for the 2 oz chocolate, they use 6 tablespoons cocoa and and add in 1/4 cup vegetable oil to make up for the fat missing from the chocolate. And since they use a little more vegetable oil than needed to make up for the fat in the chocolate, they use buttermilk in place of sour cream. I may make a batch of those for the kids across the street.

  7. janet says

    Yikes, new format! I kept thinking I had logged in wrong;-) Like it…thanks for all the tempting and delicious looking recipes!!!

  8. says

    Great new blog look!

    This has given me new inspiration re: my dad’s sixty-mmph birthday on the 18th. We ALWAYS make chocolate sour cream cake for his birthday, and I’m thinking maybe chocolate sour cream cupcakes this year?

  9. Marie says

    Anna, I love your website. I check it religiously. Question: Do you think that this high-heat method/recipe would work well when baked in ice cream cones? since they make nice domed tops? (meaning less frosting and marshmallows to give the cakes an ice cream appearance.)

    I’ll let you know if I try it.


  10. hulagirl247 says

    hi anna!

    OMG!!!!! major revamp fo your site – i am in shock! i’ve been swamped at work and try to peek in evey day even if just to see what’s baking….. and i just now peeked today. very nice! hope you are pleased with the change –

    best regards –


  11. says

    Thanks for the comments!

    Marie, let me know if it works. You’ll probably get a little bit of a bump, but I don’t know….

  12. Lucyinaz says

    Love the new look!!!! What a fun surprise for your readers today! 🙂 I’m making these cupcakes today for sure!!!

  13. Anne says

    Made these yesterday for our church youth group. The teens highly highly approved!! A note: The cupcake recipe will make 10-12, but the frosting will frost about 20 cupcakes. 🙂 Having extra frosting is always a good thing in my book!!

  14. says

    Hi Anne,

    Thanks for the feedback! It’s a good, basic recipe. I wasn’t sure how much frosting the Oprah recipe would yield, so I went with the better safe than sorry approach and made too much. I have some leftover too.

  15. kitty62 says

    Made these last nite and was disappointed…..but however, i did not put papers in the cupcake pan and may have baked them a little too long. My oven seems to run a little hot but i think the problem was the fact that i did not use cupcake papers. My only recommendation is more chocolate.
    Will try again. Love the new website!

  16. says

    Oh, I’m bummmed that you didn’t like the cupcakes. I don’t think leaving the wrappers off would have ruined them, but you might have overbaked them since the oven runs hot. Sorry they didn’t work out. Is it possible you used too much flour? The recipe needs 135 grams, so you’d need to fluff it and scoop it without packing or weigh it out.

    Mine were good and with the rich chocolate frosting, it seemed to be enough. However, a handfull of chocolate chips woudn’t have hurt things! Maybe Food & Wine’s version is better. They baked theirs at 350 (I used 375 because I wanted to try the high heat dome method) and used

    4 tablespoons unsalted butter
    1/4 cup vegetable oil
    1/2 cup water
    1 cup all-purpose flour
    1 cup granulated sugar
    1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
    3/4 teaspoon baking soda
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    1 large egg
    1/4 cup buttermilk
    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  17. Mara says

    Hey Anna–

    I just wanted to let you know I just made this recipe for a neighborhood adult potluck. Added some instant coffee powder to the batter and frosting to make it more mocha and they’re sooooo delicious. Never tried a dissapointing recipe from this blog yet, but this one is the best cupcake recipe that I’ve ever personally made. Thanks so much!

  18. says

    That frosting looks incredible. Could you use semi sweet chocolate in place of the bittersweet or does it have to be bittersweet? Also what is the dome made out of?

  19. Claudia says

    We’re having some friends over to watch the UT game and the meal theme is ‘finger foods’, so I’m going to make these for dessert!

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