Dark Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes with Chocolate-Cherry & Cherry-Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Sometimes, less, really is more. Instead of making fancy intricate adornments for my cupcakes, I simply added a tiny little heart sprinkle on top of each one for a simple yet classy and sophisticated touch for Valentine's Day this year. I added a little cherry extract to the frosting for chocolate-cherry and cherry-vanilla flavored frostings. You can also try adding a little raspberry or strawberry flavored extract to my basic chocolate and vanilla buttercream recipe below, for a fun and festive touch!

These mini 2-bite cupcakes make a perfect Valentine's Day party treat or for bringing in to school or work for a sweet surprise. You can even switch up the sprinkle shape to match the theme of any occasion!

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

Yield: 14 cupcakes or about 2 dozen minis


Chocolate Cupcakes:
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (105g) all-purpose flour, weighed or spooned and leveled
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (30g) unsweetened cocoa powder, dutch processed or "Special Dark"
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated white sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder or instant coffee granules
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cupcake pan with baking cups.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cocoa and sugar. In a measuring cup whisk together oil, egg, vanilla and sour cream. Gently stir into dry ingredients. Dissolve instant espresso or coffee in the boiling water and stir into batter. Batter will be thin and liquidy.

Fill cupcake liners just over 1/2 full, about 3 tablespoons of batter per cup. Bake for 16-19 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. (For mini cupcakes, fill with about 1 1/2 tablespoons batter each and bake for about 8-10 minutes). Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

Chocolate-Cherry & Cherry-Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

  • 1/2 cup (1 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 4-6 tablespoons cream, half and half or milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cherry flavored extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
  • mini heart confetti sprinkles

With an electric mixer, beat butter on medium speed until smooth. Beat in powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons cream until smooth. Add flavor extracts and salt. Beat on medium speed until light and creamy. Scoop out half of the frosting and set aside. Beat in the cocoa powder and 2-4 tablespoons cream to the remaining frosting until smooth and fluffy. Spread or pipe half of the cupcakes with your vanilla frosting and the other half with chocolate. Top each cupcake with a festive confetti heart sprinkle.

I used the extra frosting to pipe little kisses of icing on top of my brownies bites (recipe HERE