One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream

One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes

I think everyone has that imaginary version of themselves they like to trot out from time to time. I, for instance, like to pretend I’m the type of person who can whimsically whisk cupcakes together at a moment’s notice, sans recipe, perhaps while competing on Master Chef. No recipe, needed, thanks, I know 17 cupcake recipes by heart.

PLEASE HOLD YOUR SHOCK, I don’t actually know 17 cupcakes recipes by heart. I do think, however, this one-bowl chocolate cupcake recipe takes me one step closer to Imaginary Allison. It’s really simple. It’s the type of recipe that becomes a staple, the one you turn to when you need to bring a dessert and you want something tried-and-true, with no crazy ingredients.

One bowl, people. You mix the dry ingredients together, then whisk in the wet. No creaming of butter necessary, simply melt it in the microwave. I believe the one thing that sets these apart is the buttermilk, which adds a lightness to the cupcake.

Be warned before you melt your butter – this recipe makes more than twelve cupcakes.  Twenty-four, in fact. If you plan to cut this recipe in half, plan it out now. I melted my butter prior to realizing this, and ended up making three batches of cupcakes. SPOILER ALERT, it turned out ok! I survived and had an extra dozen cupcakes. I’ve managed to eat them, bravely.

I topped these with my all-butter version of the classic Wilton’s Buttercream recipe. No imaginary Allison needed for this one, I could pretty much make it in my sleep. This is the best icing, guys.

I realize it looks fancy-ish, but I promise it’s actually easier to pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes than to try to smear it on with a spatula. I used a disposable plastic decorating bag and tip #2D. Start piping on the outside and twirl the cupcake until you get to the middle. If you make cupcakes even semi often, I really recommend getting a few decorating tips and bags. It’s honestly easier, and you’ll be slightly closer to the imaginary version of yourself that makes the fanciest cupcakes in the land.

One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes 

From Martha Stewart’s Cooking School


  • 1 1/4 cups unsweetened dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons table salt
  • 2 large whole eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled.
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


  1. Prepare oven and tins. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line two standard muffin tins with paper cupcake liners.
  2. Combine ingredients. In a large bowl, whisk together cocoa, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Whisk in eggs, yolk, water, buttermilk, butter, and vanilla until smooth and combined, about 3 minutes.
  3. Bake. Dive batter evenly among lined cups, filling each about halfway. Bake cupcakes, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes.
  4. Cool and frost. Transfer to wire rack; cool 10 minutes, then turn out cupcakes onto rack. Let cool completely before frosting. Unfrosted cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container, up to 3 days at room temperature or frozen up to 1 month.


Classic Buttercream Icing

Adapted from Wilton’s recipe.


  • The meringue powder will help the icing maintain its shape after you pipe it. It’s nice but optional.
  • I’ve doubled the recipe below to match the amount needed for the cupcakes.
  • If you cut the recipe in half, I REALLY recommend buying the one pound box of powdered sugar. It’s much easier than measuring, since powdered sugar shifts so much.


  • 2 cups unsalted butter (four sticks), softened to room temperature.
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
  • 4 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons water
  • 2 lbs pure cane confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Meringue powder
  • Two pinches of salt.


  1. Measure out the water in a small bowl, then dissolve the salt in the water.
  2. Cream butter, vanilla extract, and salted water until butter is fluffy.
  3. Add dry ingredients and mix on medium speed until thoroughly mixed. Blend and additional minute or so until creamy. Be careful not to overwhip, this will form large bubbles in your icing that looks odd when piped.

One thought on “One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream

  1. Pingback: Cooking Food and Stuff – January through March 2015 | Eating Food and Stuff

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