Double Chocolate Devil's Food Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Buttercream

Double Chocolate Devil's Food Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Buttercream

A rich yet light chocolate cupcake with a bit of espresso, studded with dark chocolate chunks and topped with vanilla bean Swiss meringue buttercream icing. This is not an overly sweet cupcake, rather just enough to engage your sweet tooth while quelling your chocolate cravings.*Prep time above does not include amount of time to decorate cupcakes.
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 32 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 17 minutes
Servings 16 Cupcakes
Calories 377kcal
Author Traci York | Vanilla And Bean


For the Cupcakes:

For the Simple Syrup (optional but recommended):

  • 3 Tbs Cane Sugar
  • 3 Tbs Water
  • 1 Tbs Kahlua - for boozy optional

For the Swiss Meringue Buttercream (yields about 2 1/2C or 368g):

To Finish (options):


Get Ready:

  • A stand mixer is quite helpful to have when making this recipe, although it can be made with a hand held mixer.
  • Set up a bain marie: The bain marie should be large enough to hold the mixing bowl you'll be mixing the cake in. Fill a sauce pot with water and heat until just steaming, not boiling. Test to make sure your mixing bowl can set in the water without the water splashing out while you gently stir the mixture. You'll need the bain marie for both the cake mixture and the buttercream.

For the Cupcakes:

  • Place baking rack in the center of the oven. Preheat oven to 350F (180C) and line cupcake pans with 16 muffin cups.
  • In a small mixing bowl, add the cocoa powder, hot espresso and vanilla extract. Whisk until incorporated. Whisk in the sour cream first then add the coconut oil. Whisk to a smooth and incorporated consistency. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour, corn starch, sea salt, baking powder, baking soda and light brown sugar. Whisk. Set aside.
  • In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer add the eggs and sugar. Set on the bain marie. The bottom of the bowl should touch the water. The water should be steaming, not boiling. Whisk the mixture while it warms to room temperature. Test the temperature with your finger. It should not be hot, but just comfortable. Dry the bottom of the bowl, turn off the burner and place the bowl on the stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whip on medium-high (speed 6 or 7) for about five minutes. The eggs will become lighter in color and airy, doubling in volume. Whip to ribbon stage. Test this by removing the whisk, dipping it in the eggs and drizzling the eggs into the bowl. If the eggs disappear into the bowl, then keep whipping. If the drizzle floats on top of the eggs forming a 'ribbon', the eggs are ready. This should take about 5-6 minutes. Scrape down the bowl.
  • Remove the whisk attachment and attach the paddle. With the machine running on low, pour in the chocolate/oil mixture, slowly. Stop 1/2 way through adding the mixture and scrape down the bowl. After adding all the chocolate/oil mixture, mix in the flour mixture on the lowest setting, in two batches, stopping to scrape the bowl once. Do not over mix here. Mix just until the last bit of flour is incorporated. Remove bowl from stand mixer and fold in, very gently, the chopped chocolate. The batter will be light and airy.
  • Use a #20 cookie scoop to make portioning the cupcakes a snap (or fill each cup to 3/4 full). Bake for 20-22 minutes. A toothpick should come out clean when cupcakes are done. Be sure to not open the oven door until 20 minutes as we don't want the cupcakes to deflate!
  • Cool in pans on a cooling rack for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and allow to fully cool to room temperature before assembling the cupcakes.

For the Simple Syrup:

  • In a small sauce pot add the sugar and water. Bring to a boil and cook until the sugar is dissolved. Pour into a lidded container and stir in the Kahlua (optional). Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

For the Buttercream:

  • Warm the water in the bain marie. Top off the water if needed. Heat to steaming, not boiling. Make sure the stand mixer mixing bowl can fit in the bain marie, touching the water. Have a thermometer on the ready.
  • In the stand mixer mixing bowl, add the egg whites, sugar and salt. Set the bowl into the bain marie, making sure the water is not boiling and the water is touching the bottom of the bowl. Whisk the egg mixture, occassionally, while heating to 160F (71C). This should take about 8-10 minutes. The mixture will become frothy and fluffy.
  • Wipe the bottom of the bowl dry and place it on the stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whip the eggs on medium-high (speed 6-7) for about 5 minutes. The mixture will become sticky, shiny white and have cooled to room temperature (the bowl will remain hot to the touch, so to test for room temperature, touch the mixture). You've now made Swiss meringue. Now we'll add the butter to make the butter cream.
  • With the mixer on medium-high (speed 6), add the room temperature butter, one Tbs at a time adding more only once the previous butter has fully incorporated into the mixture. Keep adding butter until all the butter has been added. Turn the mixer up to high, speed 7 and mix until light and fluffy. This should only be about a minute or two more.
  • The buttercream is ready to use.

To Assemble:

  • Make sure the cupcakes are completely cool before icing. Using a skewer or toothpick, poke 5-10 holes in the top of the cupcake making sure the holes are very close to the edges of the cupcake. Brush on the simple syrup being careful not to add so much that it overflows onto the paper cups. It will be a sticky mess when trying to eat them.
  • There's enough icing to pipe/spread/scoop about 2.5 Tbs of icing on each cupcake. Fit a piping bag with your favorite tip and pipe the cupcakes. Or use a large cookie scoop, 2-3 Tbs, to place a scoop on top of the cupcake. Invert the cupcake into sprinkles and roll the icing into the sprinkles, gently pressing to shape the dome.
  • Store the cupcakes in a lidded storage container for up to two days. But their at their best on the day baked.


Cupcakes can be made in advance. Simply freeze in a freezer bag when completely cool, making sure to press out as much air as possible in the bag. Freeze for no more than a week.
If storing the buttercream before using, store it in a lidded container at room temperature. To rewhip the buttercream simply use a hand whisk or rewhip it on a stand mixer. If it feels stiff, place the buttercream in a heatproof bowl and dip it in a bain marie to gently warm the buttercream. Do not allow it to melt, rather, just warm the bottom of the bowl, then whisk.


Calories: 377kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Cholesterol: 53mg | Sodium: 162mg | Potassium: 208mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin A: 407IU | Calcium: 71mg | Iron: 1mg