Chocolate Lightning Cupcakes

So, my 10-year-old son might be my toughest critic. Especially when it comes to anything chocolate. Gavin was born with…shall we say a selective palate?!? Discerning may be more accurate or even downright highfalutin. We’re talking about a kid who wanted bolognese for his birthday party at the age of three. He knows when I switch milk brands or if I serve lean versus fatty ground beef. I have found myself watching him while he taste tests for me, reading his facial expressions, anticipating his thumbs up approval. Needless to say, I’ve been practicing for months to get him to LOVE my chocolate cupcakes. The comments ranged from the frosting being too sweet or not chocolatey enough and I’d cringe when I’d hear Gav utter, “Uhhhh Mom, it’s not my favorite.”

Okay, cringe is a strong word, but I did try REALLY hard to make perfect chocolate cupcakes for his 10th birthday celebration at school. I even added a sugar cookie bolt topper to make them extra special.

PUT THE CHOCOLATE IN YOUR CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES!

1. Scharfenberger is my chocolate of choice more often than not. Gav loves it and can honestly taste a difference if I happen to use another brand of chocolate.

2. I used both chocolate bars and cocoa powder for these decadent cupcakes — come on, you really can’t have too much chocolate.

3. To start off the frosting, measure out the cocoa powder as you’ll be mixing it with boiling water until fully dissolved. This helps create your chocolatey base for that rich frosted topping.

4. To melt the chopped chocolate bar, I put it in a stovetop safe bowl on a low temperature to slowly melt the chocolate. Keep stirring as it’ll melt pretty fast!

5. I recommend my Perfect Sugar Cookie recipe for those dynamic lightning bolts and you can use some of the melted chocolate to decorate, dunk, and glitterize the cookies.

6. The Sweet Nerd that I am, of course, I like precise decorating lines so I pour a little bit of the melted chocolate into a piping bag with a thin tip to outline some of the lighting bolts. You can fill the inside of the cookie with glitter for an extra pop of fun.

7. And when all else fails, just dunk them in chocolate. Trust me, there will be no complaints!

I personally love gold flecks!

4. CUPCAKE FROSTING: Whip up the butter, sugar and salt until becomes pale and fluffy. Add the melted chocolate (after it has cooled) into the mix. Lastly, add the cocoa mixture, blend well, and you’re ready to go!

I had to talk Gavin into letting me add the sugar cookies on top and a sprinkle of glitter. It was not an easy negotiation but I think he enjoyed it in the end.

I couldn’t resist giving this chocolate cupcake some glam because of that rich luscious chocolate frosting. But truth be told, when you’re a ten-year-old boy, glitter is something that can teeter on the edge of “not cool.”

Gavin’s birthday couldn’t have been better – there was a school Dance-A-Thon, it was a Friday Free Dress (no uniforms!), and a family dinner party where we tried (successfully!) to stick 10 candles into a single chocolate cupcake. Light a fire, I say. Why not? After all, reaching the double-digits should be honored with a little light show.

Photos by: Maria Hedrick Photography

chocolate cupcakes
chocolate cupcakes

Chocolate Lightning Cupcakes

By TheSweetNerd  

August 31, 2017

  • Prep: 45 mins
  • Cook: 40 mins

Ingredients

Cookies

3 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 large egg

2 teaspoons vanilla

Cupcakes

2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup Dutch-Process cocoa (Valrhona)

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 cup milk

1/2 cup canola oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar

2/3 cup boiling water

Frosting

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-Process cocoa powder

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon boiling water

2 1/4 cups unsalted butter, room temperature

1/4 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 pounds best-quality semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled

Decorating

Gold Edible Disco Glitter

Directions

Cookies

1Dries: Whisk flour and salt in a bowl. Set aside.

2Base: In a mixer, cream together butter and sugar. Next, add eggs, vanilla, and optional flavorings of citrus zest or spices (ie: cardamom).

3Gradually, add dries to base just until incorporated. Chill in refrigerator up to one hour. Roll on lightly floured surface. Cut shapes.

4Bake at 350F for 8-10 minutes or until edges are slightly browned.

5Note: When you cut into a shape, chill in freezer to set. Then, transfer directly to hot oven.

Cupcakes

1Preheat the oven to 350F . Line two 12-cup muffin pans with cupcake liners and set aside. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

2Combine the eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the sugar and dry ingredients. Blend at low speed, then increase the speed to medium and mix until the batter is completely smooth, about 2 minutes. Remove the bowl from the stand. Add the boiling water and stir with a wooden spoon carefully so that the water doesn't splash and until the batter is smooth again. It will be thin. Let the batter rest for 15 minutes and stir gently before using.

3Fill the cupcake liners three-quarters full. Bake until the tops of the cupcakes are firm and a cake tester inserted in the center of a middle cupcake comes out with just a few crumbs, about 20 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool for 5 minutes in the pans before removing to a rack to cool completely.

Frosting

1Combine cocoa and boiling water, stirring until cocoa has dissolved. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter, confectioners' sugar, and salt until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low. Add melted and cooled chocolate, beating until combined and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in the cocoa mixture.

00:00

27 Comments

  • Lorna Umphrey
    1 year ago

    These are so Harry Potter-esque cute! And I love the glitter topping but hence, I’m a girl.

    • Cindy "TheSweetNerd" Rodriguez
      1 year ago

      Hi Lorna! Thanks so much loving the glitter as much as I do. And to boot, Harry Potter, that is a huge compliment.

  • Kendall
    1 year ago

    These are so adorable! I love the sugar cookie cupcake combo- 2 for 1!

    • Cindy "TheSweetNerd" Rodriguez
      1 year ago

      Appreciate the love Kendall. Yep a two-fer!

  • Tessa
    1 year ago

    Total Harry Potter! Can’t wait to try these Cindy. 😀

    • Cindy "TheSweetNerd" Rodriguez
      1 year ago

      Thanks Tessa. I love Harry Potter too!

  • These look so great, love the lightning bolts. Really are perfect for a birthday.

    • Cindy "TheSweetNerd" Rodriguez
      1 year ago

      Thanks Sara. Glad you dig it!

  • The lightening is very effective, love the decoration and these cupcakes are looking delicious

    • Cindy "TheSweetNerd" Rodriguez
      1 year ago

      Thanks so much! I am so happy you like the bolts!

  • These look so cute, love the step by step photos as well!

    • Cindy "TheSweetNerd" Rodriguez
      1 year ago

      Awww, shucks. Totally appreciate that you love the step by step. Hope you get to make these soon.

  • These are the best cupcakes in the world! I mean, who doesn’t love edible glitter?!

    • Cindy "TheSweetNerd" Rodriguez
      1 year ago

      Right? Edible glitter is delish!

  • Anna Ehrlich
    1 year ago

    Love it all!

    • Cindy "TheSweetNerd" Rodriguez
      1 year ago

      shucks, thanks Anna. Love ya.

  • Anna Ehrlich
    1 year ago

    Yum! Love it all

  • 1 year ago

    Hey, Dear, This looks so amazing. I remember the childhood days when I was a huge fan of Harry Potter and his characters and this recipe of your is reminding me the same. Pinned this recipe of yours. Best wishes and Regards.

    • Cindy "TheSweetNerd" Rodriguez
      1 year ago

      Thanks Supriya. I love Harry Potter too, and now my kids love these. Cheers!

  • Double-digits absolutely calls for a light show and delicious chocolate cupcakes homemade from Mom! Even if they do come with a little glitter! 😉 Love these, my friend!

    • Cindy "TheSweetNerd" Rodriguez
      1 year ago

      Annie, thanks a billion for the love. Hope you are well.

  • Your son sounds like he has quite the palette! These are so fun and perfect for a birthday or a random Tuesday 😉 Cheers to a wonderful week, Cindy!

    • Cindy "TheSweetNerd" Rodriguez
      1 year ago

      Thanks Dawn. So appreciate the comment. Yes, Gavin is a dessert snob! I guess I might have had a hand in spoiling him a bit too young in the kitchen. Hee Hee.

    • Cindy "TheSweetNerd" Rodriguez
      1 year ago

      Awww, appreciate the love Dawn. Same to you. Cheers –

  • Love the lighting cookies on top! Such a cool idea. The cupcakes sound delightful. Congrats on getting the b’day boy’s approval 🙂

    • Cindy "TheSweetNerd" Rodriguez
      1 year ago

      Oh shucks! Thanks so much for your sweet comments. I felt like a million bucks getting my harshest critic’s approval.

  • that is so classic -gosh he must have good taste buds!! these cupcakes look pretty perfect to me – especially that frosting – luscious is an understatement!

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