1/2cupcocoa powdernatural or Dutched will both work with this recipe
1/4cupunsalted butterroom temperature
2ounceschocolateChoose your favorite. You can use any chocolate that you like except white chocolate or candy melts. The chocolate doesn't have to be one typically earmarked for baking - any chocolate bar that doesn't contain mix-ins like nuts, Rice Krispies, nougat, etc. will work.
2large eggsroom temperature
2large egg yolksroom temperature
9tablespoonsvegetable oilThis is the same as 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon - measure in a liquid measuring cup
1/3cupfull-fat sour cream
1/2cupwaterroom temperature, measured in a liquid measuring cup
Sift together flour, salt, baking soda, and cocoa powder into a separate medium-sized bowl. Use a fork or a whisk to ensure that the ingredients are mixed well after sifting. Set aside.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, mix butter and sugar until fully combined. The end result should look like wet sand.
Melt the chocolate in the microwave or in a double boiler.
Once the melted chocolate is cool enough to touch, add it to the butter/sugar mixture and mix until just combined.
Mix in eggs and egg yolks one at a time until just combined.
Mix in oil, vanilla, and sour cream until just combined.
Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients in three additions, mixing until just combined after each addition.
Mix in water until just combined.
Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full and put in the oven.
Check for doneness at 18 minutes - a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake should come out clean. If they are not done, check again every three minutes until they are done.
Immediately remove cupcakes from the cupcake tin and place on a cooling rack or on the counter to cool to room temperature. Although they are really good when they are hot, be sure to wait until they are room temperature to give your evaluation.
If you would like to add coffee to the recipe, either add 1 teaspoon espresso powder or instant coffee granules along with the sifted dry ingredients, or replace the water with room temperature brewed coffee.
Using different cocoa powders will alter the taste of the cupcakes, but you really can't go wrong - it's all chocolate!
The chocolate in these cupcakes doesn't have to be one typically earmarked for baking - any chocolate, bar, chips, or discs that don't contain mix-ins (like nuts, Rice Krispies, nougat, etc.) will work. This way, you can choose whatever type of chocolate you prefer to eat: milk, dark, or even flavored chocolate bars.
I and Cupcake Project readers have tested this with so many different kinds of chocolate with amazing results. When I make these for a special occasion and want something fancy, I reach for chocolate with less sugar and a more complex flavor. A melted Patric Chocolate bar yielded my favorite version of these cupcakes to date. I also enjoy TCHO, Scharffen Berger, and Lily's sugar-free chocolate.
For making these cupcakes, use any mild vegetable oil.
I’ve used canola oil, generic vegetable oil, and safflower oil. While I love using flavored oils in baking, keep in mind that they will change the flavor of these cupcakes. You can experiment with using non-neutral oils and try baking these cupcakes with pistachio oil, for example, to get a totally different taste.
You can make this recipe as a cake. You will just need to increase the baking time.