Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cupcake with Coconut Buttercream Frosting65

Posted by chockylit in Chocolate,Coconut,Simple Recipe (Tuesday November 7, 2006 at 9:53 pm)

old fashioned chocolate cupcake with coconut buttercream

I was simply in the mood for something simple. I figured it was a good time to start working on what I hope to become my favorite old-fashioned chocolate cupcake recipe. I already have a rich chocolate cupcake recipe I love that I have used a lot this past year, but sometimes I want something that reminds me of the chocolate cake I ate as a kid.

This is the recipe I normally use, which is a slight variation from a recipe in an old Better Homes & Garden cookbook my mom had forever. While I think the recipe is very “old-fashioned” I did want to give it a boost and enhance the chocolate flavor.

I started with the recipe above but adjusted some ratios which really involved adding an egg, more butter, and more cocoa. I also added instant espresso powder as I saw this in a number of old-fashioned or devil’s food type recipes. Lastly instead of the “dump it all in one bowl and mix” method, I decided on using the typical creaming method which involves creaming butter with sugar, adding eggs, then alternating dry and wet ingredients.

Ultimately the cupcakes came out great. The flavor is indeed richer and more chocolatey while not super intense. The cocoa and milk keep it mellow. The texture is somewhat spongy, but not as spongy as a sponge cake. It is moist enough, but the kind of cake you want to eat with a glass of milk. I think I will decrease the amount of espresso powder in subsequent tests as I could kind of taste the coffee and only really want to taste chocolate.

One last thing before I get on to the recipe. As you may have noticed my posting frequency dropped off somewhat this month. I am afraid that posting will be intermittent over the next couple months. I promise to pick it up as soon as I can.

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cupcakes
24 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cocoa powdered
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
1-1/2 cups milk
2 teaspoons vanilla

1. Beat butter until softened. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
2. Add eggs, one at a time, beating 30 seconds after each addition.
3. Measure the flour, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder, and espresso powder into a medium sized bowl and whisk to combine.
4. Measure the milk and vanilla into a measuring thing.
5. Add about a third of the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar and beat to combine. Add about a half of the milk/vanilla and beat to combine. Continue adding, alternating between dry and wet and finishing with the dry.
6. Scoop batter into cupcake cups about 3/4’s full. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Note: I try to use the best quality cocoa I can find. It makes a huge difference. For this recipe I used Valrhona cocoa.

Coconut Buttercream Frosting
1-1/2 sticks butter, room temperature
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar
1-1/2 cups coconut, sweetened flaked

1. Beat butter briefly, scrape bowl.
2. Add the sifted powdered sugar and milk. Beat until smooth.
3. Add coconut and mix until combined.

1. Top cooled cupcakes with coconut-buttercream frosting.
2. Top with chocolate shavings.


65 comments for Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cupcake with Coconut Buttercream Frosting »

  1. In what form is coconut used? Coconut milk or desicated coconut? tks

    Comment by Jo — November 8, 2006 @ 12:01 am

  2. Thanks again for sharing yet another great recipe. Hope all is well with you and will look forward to your future messages!

    Comment by Teresa Mac — November 8, 2006 @ 3:17 am

  3. i think it would be dessicated sweetened coconut. great recipe! thanks!

    Comment by jenncharina — November 8, 2006 @ 5:07 am

  4. Cheryl- hooray- this is more my style- simple and chocolate- will try it! Enjoy thenext 2 months- they are busy!

    Comment by kate — November 8, 2006 @ 8:03 am

  5. Yum! I love that!

    Comment by rachel — November 8, 2006 @ 8:29 am

  6. omgawd!! cannot wait to try this recipe.

    Comment by acaligurl — November 8, 2006 @ 8:53 am

  7. I’m going to make this tomorrow! I mean today. I mean, I wish I could sleep…

    Comment by Mama Min — November 8, 2006 @ 1:13 pm

  8. Oh goodness, coconut.. my biggest weakness. Great idea with adding the espresso powder, I love that!

    Comment by Dianka — November 8, 2006 @ 1:33 pm

  9. Hey there…

    I may not be a big fan of coconut but I am a big fan of your site and yes… your absence has been sorely missed.

    Well good luck with those busy months and I eagerly anticipate when you start whipping out marvels for me to learn from again!

    p.s. I got into the cupcake craze only after reading yr site. Cupcakes were never this exciting till you came along!

    Comment by ChroniclesofChaos aka TicklesBellyFlops — November 8, 2006 @ 6:55 pm

  10. i don’t have time to bake–only to dream of time to whip up confections as lovely as yours. i look forward to every new recipe and equally delicious pix . . . nearly as good as baking and eating the cupcakes!

    thank you very much!!!! and please invent something new when you can. take care.

    Comment by skate — November 8, 2006 @ 8:16 pm

  11. One of the things I do to increase fat is add extra yolks. This helps back up a chocolatey taste as well– turning the cocoa into chocolate in a way.

    I imagine this recipe varies widely based on the kind of cocoa one uses.

    I will test this (and add extra yolks) tomorrow (11/9) and get back to you. I’, making something these days that tastes great but the middles sink when they cool.

    Comment by shuna fish lydon — November 8, 2006 @ 8:36 pm

  12. I should have mentioned! I used Valrhona cocoa which is very dark and very rich. I agree it makes a huge difference.

    Comment by chockylit — November 9, 2006 @ 10:47 am

  13. There is nothing like the beauty of simplicity! Thank you so much for these!!!

    Comment by Ivonne — November 10, 2006 @ 9:45 pm

  14. My word, I just found your website. Within five minutes, I’ve become a cupcake addict, a direct result of reading your recipes. Thank you!!!

    Comment by Erin — November 11, 2006 @ 6:44 pm

  15. Reading your cupcake blog has truly pleased my sweet tooth. Also, I’m a fan of simple & traditional cupcake recipes. I not only enjoy baking & eating cupcakes but also enjoy amusing trivia on my fav food-Here’s some cool trivia about ‘Cupcakes’.

    Comment by Casey Galatos — November 13, 2006 @ 12:06 am

  16. I made these just now and they turned out terribly. I followed the directions perfectly, and the batter actually tasted great, but upon baking, the outside of the cupcakes burned and the inside remained kinda raw. I have a cupcake tray by Cuisinart so I thought it would be good quality. My frosting wasn’t so great either – the butter flavor was overwhelming and no matter what I did, I could not get it to be smooth, it just kinda formed into this weird blobby ball. I love chocolate cupcakes so much, and I’m so disappointed! Does anyone know what could have gone wrong?

    Comment by pasc — November 22, 2006 @ 11:56 am

  17. looks delish! love your blog!!

    Comment by wandabun — November 22, 2006 @ 2:37 pm

  18. Hi pasc,I think your oven temperature is too hot (I stand to be corrected). I had the same problem but an oven themometer resolved that problem and now my cakes turns out better. Good luck.

    Comment by Jo L — November 22, 2006 @ 9:58 pm

  19. What a gorgeous place you have here! Your cupcakes look magnificently sinful and your photographs showcase them perfectly. I think I’m going to be a regular visitor, and drooler.

    Comment by Anne — November 23, 2006 @ 2:10 pm

  20. pasc> Was the butter for your frosting truly room temp?

    Comment by Honor — November 25, 2006 @ 10:18 pm

  21. No it wasn’t, it was still a little cold so I popped it in the microwave (bad, I know) for 10 seconds.

    Comment by pasc — November 26, 2006 @ 9:41 am

  22. Batter was delish…I made too batches. The first one tasted too much like coffee was a little runny and spilt over the sides.

    I cooked again but added extra flour and put in less coffee and they turned out perfectly. Got 5 stars from my family too! :)

    Comment by Sonya — November 28, 2006 @ 2:33 am

  23. pasc> That could have accounted for the texture of your frosting. Also, if you used salted butter that could have made the flavor too strong in the frosting…

    Comment by Honor — November 30, 2006 @ 11:13 am

  24. Oh my… I’m going to be sorry I found this blog. I can already imagine the need to try all of these wonderful recipes you’ve posted.
    Gorgeous photos.

    I look forward to reading and eating with you!

    Comment by Kristen — November 30, 2006 @ 2:27 pm

  25. Welcome, Kristen, to my addiction. =)

    Comment by Honor — December 1, 2006 @ 10:50 am

  26. Honor, I want to thank you for answering questions and helping folks out (whoever you are). I have been under the weather so to speak and unable to keep up. Anyway, I appreciate it!

    Comment by chockylit — December 1, 2006 @ 10:52 am

  27. Of course. Sorry to hear you haven’t been feeling well, Chockylit. I hope you’re better soon!

    Comment by Honor — December 1, 2006 @ 8:43 pm

  28. Honor… the butter was unsalted; my friend who has worked in a bakery tasted my frosting & said it was fine, maybe I’m just not liking the butter taste. Thank you again for all your help!

    Comment by pasc — December 2, 2006 @ 11:40 pm

  29. brilliant … coconut buttercream, sounds yummy and exotic. These look and sound perfect for a wedding too!

    Comment by Snehal — December 3, 2006 @ 3:19 am

  30. This recipe looks great! I just found your blog and I can’t wait to see more.

    Comment by Christine — December 5, 2006 @ 6:55 pm

  31. Hello, this is the first time I have posted anything to a blog, so here goes. But firstly, thanks for all of your lovely baking and recipes, Chockylit – yours must be a true love affair. And thanks too for all the comments from my fellow bloggers; they have been helpful. My question is: How did the frosting turn out looking so white? I can’t seem to achieve white-looking frosting even when I have used unsalted butter and creamed for longer than usual. And I’m not keen to use white fat (which this recipe incidentally doesn’t use) because I’ve tasted it, and, well, it tastes yucky. I use white fat only for greasing in sugarcraft. Can any one help? Many thanks.

    Comment by Hayley — December 8, 2006 @ 5:11 am

  32. Hi Chockylit, Oh yum! Your cupcake photos are so wonderful and the recipes very clear. I posted a link to this in my weekly blog roundup at


    I’ll be checking back often.

    Comment by Carter — December 8, 2006 @ 6:41 am

  33. Hayley–it might be the vanilla. Is yours brown or clear?

    Comment by kristina — December 11, 2006 @ 9:33 am

  34. there’s always a room in my tummy for cupcakes! your creation is truly yummy.

    Comment by eliza — December 11, 2006 @ 12:19 pm

  35. Thanks very much, Kristina, for your help. The vanilla extract I use is brown, but I’ve never come across clear vanilla extract, at least not here in London where I live. Do you think vanilla powder might help? I don’t even know if the powder is clear or not.

    Comment by Hayley Godwin — December 11, 2006 @ 2:43 pm

  36. I use the regular old brown vanilla. I will say that the butter I use is very pale. I have seen darker butters. It may simply be a difference between US and UK butter is my guess.

    Comment by chockylit — December 11, 2006 @ 2:51 pm

  37. My God! It’s the most beautiful blog in the world!

    Comment by Alicia P. — December 13, 2006 @ 10:07 pm

  38. I just used this cupcake recipe but tweaked it a bit by eliminating the espresso powder and adding a bit of sour cream for moistness and a slight more fudginess. Overall, I was very happy with the final product! I topped it with peppermint bark instead of coconut to tie in with the holidays. I have some coconut in my pantry, so I plan to give that a try this weekend! I can’t wait cause I lurvs me some coconut!

    Comment by Garrett — December 15, 2006 @ 11:28 am

  39. Hayley–Wilton carries clear vanilla (www.wilton.com) but I don’t know how well it performs taste-wise.

    Comment by kristina — December 15, 2006 @ 12:21 pm

  40. Mmm… I made this recipe again for my birthday yesterday. I do believe this is my favorite cupcake and frosting combination. For now anyway…

    Comment by Honor — December 16, 2006 @ 3:33 pm

  41. Love you site! Beautiful photos, yummy recipes. I made these cupcakes yesterday and they were very tasty. They looked awful though. I think I put too much batter in the cupcake papers because the batter spread out all over the top of my cupcake tin — what a mess! I wonder why they didn’t make a little dome on top. What did I do wrong?

    Comment by Di — December 17, 2006 @ 1:41 pm

  42. Di, I can’t be sure but that is often as a result of a too cool oven. If you haven’t purchased an oven thermometer, you might want to. At least that rules out any problems with oven temperature.

    Comment by chockylit — December 17, 2006 @ 1:47 pm

  43. Hi Chockylit!

    My oven is fine (at least the oven thermometer says so). I think I know what I did wrong now… I did not use the instant espresso powder (’cause I didn’t have any and its not to be found in the Heartland anyway) and since the leavening was baking soda (which requires something acidic to activate its powers) the cupcakes didn’t rise. None the less, the flavor is excellent. I will try again… maybe with buttermilk? Would that work?

    Comment by Di — December 19, 2006 @ 4:19 pm

  44. Just want to thank you for keeping at this and say how much I appreciate your clear and comprehensive comments. I missed the Richmond connection in the original Nation article. Really do hope and expect that someday soon we’ll be reading your work, or something comperable, in the RTD. In the meantime, I’m glad we can read it here.

    Comment by joanna "the Baker" smyth — December 20, 2006 @ 9:09 pm

  45. We tried this recipe and it turned out so YUM! Thank you!

    Comment by Coleen — December 29, 2006 @ 2:28 am

  46. I made these cupcakes for my boys – used ordinary instant coffee powder, and less of it – and they now love their mummy even more! I adore the way that these cakes stayed so light, yet managed to be so filling. And since my hubbie doesn’t particularly like coconut, it meant that the boys and I got more!

    Keep up the good work. I love to read this blog from rainy England and cheer myself up with thoughts of treats to come on vacation.

    Comment by Nicola — January 17, 2007 @ 7:37 am

  47. I made these cupcakes last weekend and they were so yummy! The buttercream was just right and the cake was moist and rich and just what I’d been craving. I took a batch of them to work with me and got huge raves. Good work! I love this blog and I’m definitely going to have to try a few more of your recipes.

    Comment by Krisha — January 21, 2007 @ 10:32 pm

  48. Wow! these little babies are addictive!!! I made them for a SB party we attended, and was surprised that I had any left. my friends don’t know what they missed. I will definitely be making these “adult cupcakes” again.

    Comment by jamesie — February 5, 2007 @ 5:01 pm

  49. These cupcakes are The Best! Thanks for a great recipe! Have all you Cupcake Addicts seen the “cupcake courier”?? I will order one today~~three stackable trays, each holds 12 cupcakes. The lid clamps down and it has a handle for carrying. http://www.cupcakecourier.com/pages/products.asp

    Comment by Baker — February 8, 2007 @ 11:58 am

  50. I may never use a boxed recipe again! I’m not the most adept person in the kitchen, but even I can pull these off. They tasted (and smelled) great every step of the way. I knew I had a winner when I tried the batter and was shocked to discover that chocolate cake batter could actually taste like chocolate. I don’t even like coconut, but somehow, this frosting charmed its way into my stomach. I’m supposed to bringing these in for a party at work–I hope they make it that long! Next up: Horchata Cupcakes!

    Comment by Jennifer — April 4, 2007 @ 11:43 am

  51. I made these today and teamed them with the buttercream you used for the ice cream cone cupcakes. Lovely :)

    Comment by Mel — May 20, 2007 @ 10:23 am

  52. hi chockylit..

    i made these today, and they spilled over the sides :( n once i took them out of the oven to cool, thinking they’ll just be gigantic cupcakes, craters formed on the top of the cupcakes leaving a yummy souffle-like cake in the cup.. in time, the cake slowly shrank away from the walls of the cup leaving not just a crater on the top, but a drain around the sides of the cake! i could hardly frost them because the frosting just kept going down the circular drain.. any tips will b greatly appreciated for i looooved the smooth chocolatey batter.. i did use scharffen berger cocoa powder as opposed to valrhona.. dunno if that made a diff..


    Comment by danielle bumblebee — June 24, 2007 @ 1:11 am

  53. Are u baking cupcakes everyday? Wooww…what a wonderful life!! I’ll start trying your recipe. It’s great to know your blog..

    Comment by cherry — September 19, 2007 @ 8:10 pm

  54. I have used this recipe twice now with fantastic results (once as cupcakes, once as a giant cupcake cake (pan from Sur la Table)!) – I omit the espresso powder due to personal preference and use 1/2 SB cocoa and 1/2 Hershey’s dark (couldn’t find V’rona). The chocolate flavor is amazing and the cake is nice and dark in color. I also prefer using a cream cheese icing but still add the coconut. Chocolate and coconut are wonderful married together!

    Comment by Sarah — November 8, 2007 @ 2:03 pm

  55. I just found your website & I love it!! I have a question about icing & thought maybe you could help me. My daughter is getting married in late June. The evening reception is outside & they don’t want a cake-they want cupcakes, which I offered to make. My concern is whether or not a buttercream icing will hold up if the weather is very warm. If not, can you suggest one that will? I bake quite a bit but have never done an outside event before.

    Comment by Kathy — March 27, 2008 @ 5:32 pm

  56. Thick buttercream holds up very well… As long as its not super hot, but then again not much will hold up in very hot weather. But up to 80 or so I would say its fine. Try to keep them out of direct sunlight if you can.

    Comment by chockylit — March 28, 2008 @ 11:32 am

  57. Thank you so much for this recipe!!! I tried so often but my chocolate cupcakes never tasted THAT “original”. Since my fist holiday trip to the USA I´m a cupcake-fan!! But here in germany they´re not that popular yet…unfortunately! And you can´t get real good recipes here! But since I found your blog…I won´t be able to stop!!! :o) Thank you!

    Comment by Sabine — April 11, 2008 @ 8:58 am

  58. my 12 year old son is now the baker in the family, printing this recipe for him to try!

    Comment by sara — April 15, 2008 @ 8:33 am

  59. I’m 14 years old and a beginner (yet avid!) baker. I tried this recipe 2 nights ago and they came out WONDERFULLY. Made them for my parents’ cocktail party and got lots of praise. I made mini ones, baked for 12-15 minutes and got 72 cupcakes (3 batches of 24). The frosting didn’t come out quite as white as yours do in the pictures, but tasted fine regardless. Love your blog, as well as the pictures. Thanks!

    Comment by Evie — November 8, 2009 @ 7:23 pm

  60. These look AMAZING – I’m dying to try them, but preferably w/o the espresso powder. So, if you’re around, I have a quick question – can I just omit the espresso? Or should it be replaced with something? Thanks in advance! I love love love your blog.

    Comment by Janine — January 21, 2010 @ 12:12 am

  61. You can omit it. Might change as flavor a little, but that’s it…

    Comment by chockylit — January 21, 2010 @ 9:27 am

  62. So, so yummy. Just made these for my husband– we took one bite and both let out an “Oh my goodness” at the same time : ) Mine are definitely not as pretty (overfilled the cups a little) but they taste amazing– thank you for making us very, very happy.

    Comment by Krista — August 1, 2010 @ 5:28 pm

  63. Well I’m officially never going to successfully diet again ^_^ lol I can’t wait to try this, though I admit I mostly was just looking for a good coconut frosting recipe and thank the cupcake gods google sent me here =D

    Comment by Alyx — March 17, 2011 @ 12:17 am

  64. Hi

    May I use Cappucchino instead? Don’t have Espresso..will it alter the flavor or texture? Thanks.

    Comment by Sharon — March 30, 2011 @ 2:36 am

  65. I tried your coconut frosting with the devils food cupcakes, delicious. I had a problem with the frosting though, very liquidy. Used a lot more powdered sugar but couldnt get it right. any suggestions? Maybe butter was too soft, idk. Thanks

    Comment by Lindsay — October 4, 2011 @ 9:37 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment


(required but not published)