Chocolate Sweetheart Cupcakes
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Rich, moist chocolate sweetheart cupcakes topped with a thick cocoa buttercream. Perfectly decorated for Valentine's Day!
Yield: 18 cupcakes
  • ¼ c. unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ c. canola or vegetable oil
  • ½ c. granulated sugar
  • ½ c. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 oz. 60% bittersweet chocolate, melted
  • 2 eggs + 2 yolks, room temperature
  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • ½ c. natural unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted*
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ c. full-fat sour cream or buttermilk, room temperature
  • ½ c. water (warm) + ½ tsp. espresso powder
  • Chocolate buttercream:
  • 1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature*
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3¼ c. powdered sugar
  • ½ c. unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 3-4 tbsp. heavy whipping cream
  • Chocolate shavings
  • Ghirardelli Valentine's Day Impressions, centers only
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two standard size cupcake pans with 18 liners, set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter, oil, sugars, vanilla extract and melted chocolate until smooth. With mixing speed on low, add the eggs one at a time until incorporated.
  3. In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sifted cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda. With mixing speed on low, gradually add the dry ingredients along with the sour cream (or buttermilk) and the warm water/espresso mixture. Mix just until combined. Allow the batter to rest for 5 minutes.
  4. Divide batter evenly among cups, filling ⅔ of the way full (I like to use a large scoop, a #20). Place in the oven and bake for 17-20 minutes, or until the tops spring back when touched and a cake tester comes out clean. Be careful not to over bake! Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pans for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. Meanwhile, to prepare the frosting, in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. Turn mixing speed off, add the salt and the vanilla extract. Turn mixing speed on to low, then gradually add the powdered sugar and cocoa. Beat for 2 minutes, then turn to low and add the cream. Turn the speed up and beat for 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Spread or pipe on to the cooled cupcakes, garnish with sprinkles, chocolate shavings and the centers of the Ghirardelli Valentine's Impressions.
*Dutch-process or Special Dark cocoa powder can be used in place of unsweetened cocoa powder, or a blend of each.
Recipe by Life Made Simple at