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A chocolate lover’s dream, these rich and moist chocolate sour cream cupcakes are covered with a smooth and creamy chocolate buttercream.

A chocolate lover’s dream, these rich and moist chocolate sour cream cupcakes are covered with a smooth and creamy chocolate buttercream.

Photos Updated August 2015


Originally posted March 13, 2008 – I think that everyone needs a go-to chocolate cupcake recipe in their arsenal. I’ve had to play with this recipe a bit over the years to get it to be consistent for me (because I had some issues with it in the beginning if you read below), but now I can call it my go-to. The texture of this cupcake is perfect – nice and moist from the sour cream, with the perfect amount of chocolate flavor. And the buttercream? Even my frosting hating husband will eat this stuff. It’s that good.

The original post follows:

I am turning into a cookbook junkie. I definitely don’t own as many as some other bloggers do, but in the last year of blogging, my cookbook collection has at least doubled. Not only do I love to have the cookbooks to read through and cook from, but I’m a sucker for recommendations made by other people. When I read a blog and the blogger raves about a certain cookbook, I end up thinking about that book until I just have to go and order it.

So when I see a cookbook pop up on multiple blogs, you can pretty much guarantee that sooner or later, that book will be on my bookshelf. That’s what happened with this cookbook – cupcakes! by Elinor Klivans. With cupcakes like this, this, this, this, this, this (I could go on and on!!) I just had to buy it. And I’m really glad that I bought it, because it has some very different recipes in it, but I did have a bad start with the book.

It all started back in January. I had a birthday at work to bake for, plus it was my brother’s birthday, so I decided to make cupcakes so that I could do both at the same time. I was looking to do German Chocolate cupcakes, since they are my brother’s favorite. I found a recipe in this book, and set out to make the cupcakes. Well, they didn’t quite work out…
A chocolate lover’s dream, these rich and moist chocolate sour cream cupcakes are covered with a smooth and creamy chocolate buttercream.
I don’t know what happened. It could be that I used those stupid silver cupcake liners, or it could be that I filled the cups too full, but I ended up with more cupcake on the bottom of my oven than in the actual cupcakes. And to top it all off, the cupcakes really stuck to the wrapper, making it impossible to peel it off. Maybe I did something wrong because I doubled the recipe. But I wasn’t too impressed with the recipe. They were not suitable to give away, so the next day I stopped at the grocery store on my lunch break and bought a cake mix – I needed something no fail because I had to have the cupcakes back at work that afternoon. The frosting was delicious, though!

So when my mother-in-law’s birthday came around in February, I don’t know why, but I went back to this book. I really wanted to do something creative, but my husband just kept saying “just chocolate – she loves chocolate”. So because I’m not a quitter and I wanted to make the recipe right, I went for the Chocolate Sour Cream Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting. If she likes chocolate, she was gonna get chocolate!!

And I’m glad I took the risk. These were probably the best chocolate cupcakes I’ve ever made. Even my husband, who is not a frosting lover, loved these. I still don’t know what happened the first time, but I’ll no longer be scared of this book!!
A chocolate lover’s dream, these rich and moist chocolate sour cream cupcakes are covered with a smooth and creamy chocolate buttercream.

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Chocolate Sour Cream Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A chocolate lover’s dream, these rich and moist chocolate sour cream cupcakes are covered with a smooth and creamy chocolate buttercream.
Serves: 18 cupcakes
  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ teaspoon baking powder
  • ⅓ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1¼ cups minus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup water
Chocolate Buttercream
  • 1½ ounces unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 1¼ cups powdered sugar
  • 3 teaspoons Dutch process cocoa
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup heavy whipping cream, at room temperature
Make the cupcakes:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line 18 muffin tin cups with cupcake liners.
  2. Place the chocolate in a glass bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Stir the chocolate until it is melted and smooth. Remove the bowl and set aside to let it cool slightly.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  4. In a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until light and creamy, about 2 minutes. Scrape the bowl down as needed. With the mixer on low, slowly add in the chocolate. Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating fully between additions. Add the vanilla and beat the mixture until the color has lightened slightly, about 1 minute. Mix in the sour cream and mix until no white streaks remain.
  5. Add half of the flour mixture to the batter, mixing just until combined. Mix in the water. Mix in the remaining flour mixture, mixing just until combined.
  6. Divide the mixture between the prepared cups. Bake until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely.
Make the buttercream:
  1. Place the chocolate in a glass bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Stir the chocolate until it is melted and smooth. Remove the bowl and set aside to let it cool slightly.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together the powdered sugar and cocoa. Add the butter, and with an electric mixer on low speed, beat until smooth and combined. The mixture will appear crumbly at first, but it will eventually come together. Beat in the melted chocolate. Add in the vanilla and the cream and beat together on medium speed for at least 3 minutes, until it is smooth and creamy.
adapted from cupcakes!


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A chocolate lover’s dream, these rich and moist chocolate sour cream cupcakes are covered with a smooth and creamy chocolate buttercream. This will become your go-to chocolate cupcake recipe!

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34 Responses to Chocolate Sour Cream Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream

  1. Meeta says:

    cookbook junkie – that would be me too! But I still like the way these turned out.

  2. bbaking says:

    lucky MIL! I never say no to chocolate! mmmmmmmmmmmm

  3. Madam Chow says:

    I have that book, and I haven’t made anything out of it yet, but after this, I’m going to!

  4. Emiline says:

    Yum, those look great! Cupcakes are so popular right now.

  5. Happy cook says:

    Looks so good have bookmarked this too. After reading you reviews about the book i might buy them.
    Hey it is my b’dat in May you may bake these any time for me :-)))

  6. michelle @ TNS says:

    that chocolate frosting looks seriously obscene, like i wanna slather it all over my body. in a tasteful way.

  7. linda says:

    They look perfect and delicious! Wouldn’t mind eating one of those with my tea…mmmm!

  8. Steph says:

    I’m a cupcake junkie, I’m sorry to admit. It is definitely one of my many weeknesses. These look fabulous! I will have to try them very soon.

  9. kellypea says:

    HA! I almost bought that book too because I’d seen so many lovely cupcakes around but ended up getting a Sherry Yard book instead. Your flat cupcakes brought back some memories of my own baking adventures Your cupcakes turned out fabulously. YUM!

  10. Kate / Kajal says:

    fortunately for me i don’t have amazon delivering to Africa, so cant buy !!! Dunno if its a good thing or a bad , but like you i know i would not able to control myself.
    These cupcakes look perfect , and i’m sure your mum in law adored them.

  11. Katie says:

    They look fabulous. Well done for not being put off the book by an unsucessful recipe.

  12. Gretchen Noelle says:

    These do look absolutely delicious! I cannot really get many cookbooks here, at least the ones recommended there, so I cannot consider myself as an addict quite yet. But if I lived in the US…

  13. Peabody says:

    Yes, I know I have a cookbook problem. 🙂 I have gotten a ton more too just as of late.
    Glad to see you stuck with it and made a lovely batch of cupcakes.

  14. Ryley says:

    Those look super yummy.. I’ll have to find them.

    K.. I have been looking for Dutched Processed too.. apparently they don’t think Utahn need it! 🙂

    But.. at Target (the only place I can find it.) I found Hershey’s Dark Chocolate powder, on the back it says it can be used where Dutch Processed is called for. Does that mean its the same? or it can be subsituted?? I need to find some of that Vanilla bean paste too! I say we start writting to some grocery stores!! 🙂

  15. Kevin says:

    Those cupcakes look good. Especially the chocolate butter cream frosting…mmm…

  16. glamah16 says:

    My addiction is growing with the cookbooks too. Your cupcakes look pro.

  17. Brilynn says:

    Those look awesome! I’ve definitely developed an affinity for cookbooks in the past couple years. I’m just drawn to them now.

  18. Shandy says:

    Deb, I am so happy that you tried that one more time! They look positively delicious! The chocolate cupcake and frosting looks so inviting in the picture.

  19. CB says:

    Lovely cupcakes! Glad you decided to give ::cupcakes!:: another shot. Just a thought about your previous cupcake catatrophe. Maybe you overfilled it and it collapsed on itself? I know that happens to me…
    -Clara @ I♥cuppycakes!

  20. Arfi Binsted says:

    Deborah, I bet your Mum would be really pleased! I am a bit mad with Nigel Slater at present as his recipes seem work for me, but he doesn’t make cupcakes hehehe…

    Thank you for your gorgeous entry for Cupcakes Spectacular 2008!


  21. Patricia Scarpin says:

    Deb, what a joy to see you didn’t give up – these are worth the effort!

  22. April says:

    These look wonderful!

  23. ourohana says:

    I received that cookbook for Christmas and the yellow cupcakes I made did the exact same thing your’s did. Chockylit made a comment in her plain and simple chocolate cupcakes post about the sinking thing…filling the papers too full will cause some cupcake batters to sink when baking. I’m glad this recipe was a success…you’ve given me hope for this cookbook. 🙂

  24. Chocolate Shavings says:

    I love the look of those cupcakes! Great job Deborah!

  25. Ivy says:

    I had the same thing happen to my cupcake attempt with that recipe! SO what is the secret to success? The frosting was good, but I'm reading alot of people out there get bad results with that recipe. Should I return the book?

  26. Deborah says:


    I've actually tried a few other recipes from the book and liked them. I don't know why these didn't work the first time, but they did work the second time!

  27. Laura says:

    They look great! I made this same recipe two times, following each step, but both times my cupcakes sunk in the middle, just like the first photos. Is it because i didn’t use double-baking powder, or because i filled too full the papers???

    • Deborah says:

      Laura, I’m guessing that you filled the cupcakes too full. That is usually my problem when my cupcakes sink. Just a guess, though!

    • Hi!

      I’m my experience, it can be for 2 things, one just what Deborah said, maybe you filled the cupcake liners too much or two (and one of the most common things in the world) you underbaked them.

      Sometimes the cupcake looks completely done but you have to leave them couple more of minutes in the oven, baking is a lo tlike chemistry so if you take them out one minute before everything is set they will deflate.

      Hope that helps!


  28. Rachel Cooks says:

    Wish I had one (okay, two) with my coffee this morning!

  29. These look so scrumptious! That buttercream looks so creamy, yum!

  30. Craving a cupcake so badly right now – these look amazing!

  31. cupcakes says:

    that’s an original cupcake recipe, photographer is genious

  32. Chocolate Lovers is right. These look perfect! I want to lick that frosting right off of the screen!

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