Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Doesn’t everyone want chocolate cupcakes for their birthday? The Bella’s first birthday was yesterday and she deserved cupcakes to go with the theme her Mama picked:  zebra print and hot pink. My favorite easy and delicious chocolate cupcakes with vanilla buttercreme frosting recipe to the rescue.

Bella is my sister’s grand-daughter and I just happened to be in town, so guess who got volunteered to command this project? Sis and I went off to the craft store to see what kinds of cupcake liners and/or ribbons we could find. We chose black cupcake liners and found a zebra print ribbon just the right width to wrap around a cupcake. Knowing the frosting had to be pink, we found an Electric Pink gel paste. Oh, and we couldn’t forget the nonpareils. We decided on white ones.

Time to make the cupcakes!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Pink Vanilla Buttercream
Servings: 12 Cupcakes
Chocolate Cupcakes
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup coffee, still hot
  • 3 Tbls. vegetable oil
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Pink Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
  • 1 pound butter (2 sticks) softened
  • 5 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 2 Tbls. vanilla extract
  • Heavy cream or milk
  • Pink gel paste food color
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line muffin tins with 12 cupcake liners.

  2. Sift all dry ingredients together into a stand mixing bowl.

  3. In a separate bowl, mix all wet ingredients together.

  4. Turn the mixer to slow speed and add the wet ingredients until incorporated.

  5. Mix for 2 minutes on medium speed. Batter will be liquidy, but no fear - they will come out beautifully!

  6. Pour evenly into cupcake liners and bake for 15-17 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

  1. Cream the softened butter on high speed in a stand mixer.

  2. Turn the mixer to slow and add 1 cup of sifted sugar at a time until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl after each cup.

  3. Add 2 Tbls. vanilla extract.

  4. Add a splash of heavy cream (or milk) until desired consistency.

  5. Add pink gel paste, a bit at a time, until desired color is reached. You can always add more color to make darker, you can't make it lighter.


Chocolate Cupcakes With Buttercream Frosting

Once the cupcakes cooled – we wrapped the zebra print ribbon around them.
HINT: If you’re ever going to add ribbon to a cupcake, do it before frosting!
HINT: You may need a drop from a glue gun to adhere the ribbon.

We made 48 cupcakes for the party. We even got my Sis’s husband (grandpa) to help. What a great grandpa, he wrapped all those cupcakes.


Happy baking to all!




Did you try this recipe?

Let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #wistfullywarped.



Jack Daniels Whiskey Cupcakes with Whiskey Ganache and Nutella Frosting


The choice for the next cupcake revolved around liver pate, whiskey or Spam.  The whiskey won out in this round. We’re making chocolate Jack Daniels cupcakes with Whiskey Ganache and Nutella Frosting!

Note: the most important thing to remember when baking with alcohol is to not to drink it all beforehand.

As this was an experiment and I only wanted to make 12 cupcakes, I adapted a few recipes.  It worked!

Bake the cupcakes first and then prepare the whiskey ganache. (The ganache is used as both a filling in the cupcakes and a drizzle on top.) With a paring knife, cut a funnel shaped out of the center of each cupcake. Pour the ganache into the well and place the cut piece back on top. The frosting will cover the imperfections made in this process.

Frost the cupcake with the Nutella frosting and chill.  Drizzle whiskey ganache over the chilled cupcakes (if necessary, rewarm in the microwave for a few seconds.)

Jack Daniels Cupcakes With Whiskey Ganache and Nutella Frosting
Jack Daniels Chocolate Cupcakes
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbls. cocoa powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup strong coffee
  • 1/4 cup Jack Daniel's whiskey
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
Whiskey Ganache
  • 8 oz. premium bittersweet chocolate
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbls. heavy cream
  • 2 Tbls. unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
  • 2 Tbls. Jack Daniel's whiskey
Nutella Frosting
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup premium bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled completely
  • 1/3 cup Nutella
  • 1 Tbls. milk
  • pinch salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line muffin tins with 12 paper liners.

  2. In a large bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

  3. In a separate bowl, combine the egg, coffee, whiskey, sour cream and oil. Pour the egg mixture into the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth.

  4. Spoon evenly into prepared paper liners.

  5. Bake for 18-20 minutes until cake tester comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

  1. In a bowl of stand mixer, combine the butter and sugar and beat on med-high speed until light and fluffy.

  2. Add vanilla and beat until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the melted and slightly cooled chocolate. Beat on medium speed until smooth (about 2 minutes). Add the Nutella, milk and pinch of slt and beat on medium-high speed for another minute.

  1. Chop the chocolate and transfer to a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream over low heat until bubbles appear on the edge of the pan.

  2. Pour the heated cream over the chocolate and let sit for a minute. Add the butter and whisk until both chocolate and butter have melted.

  3. Add the whiskey and whisk until smooth. Set aside to cool.


Happy baking!


Did you try this recipe?

Let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #wistfullywarped.


Got Chaos? Let them eat cupcakes!

Margarita Cupcakes While Being Entertained by Gin Blossoms

Margarita Cupcakes recipe adapted from my favorite Cupcake Project


Yield: 12 cupcakes

  • 1/4 C lime juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp. lime zest (1 lime)
  • 1 C plain or vanilla soy milk (I use 2% milk)
  • 1/4 c vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp. tequila
  • 1/2 tsp. Madagascar bourbon vanilla extract
  • 1 C sugar
  • 1 1/3 C all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking  powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

1. In a large bowl, mix together lime juice, lime zest, milk, oil, tequila, vanilla and sugar.

2. In a small bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

3. Add the dry ingredients to the lime mixture and stir until combined.

4. Divide evenly between 12 cupcake liners (this is where chef boyfriend comes in handy – he’s an objective party – he’s right even though you want to hit him in the head)

5. Bake at 350F for 20 -24 minutes until tester comes out clean.

Margarita Frosting Recipe (adapted from Cupcake Project and would suggest tripling it if you choose to make 2 dozen cupcakes)

  • 1/4 C butter, softened
  • 1 tsp heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp tequila
  • 2+ C sifted confectioner’s sugar
  • Decorative clear sugar crystals
  • Starburst – orange and red
  1. Cream together butter, heavy whipping cream, lime juice, tequila and confectioners’ sugar.
  2. Have chef boyfriend use thumb to create swirl of frosting on cupcake,
  3. Roll edge of frosting in clear sugar to emulate margarita drink.
  4. Microwave an orange and red Starburst for 7 seconds.  Roll into 3″ snakes. (Make Boyfriend do it)  Roll together into a “straw”
  5. Take to a party with a group of preschool teachers. It is now “Gonzo”



Or you could turn it upside down and add blueberries. . .

Inspiration is everywhere…Cupcake homage to carrots and bath salt crack.

I’m often asked, “Where do you get your inspiration?”  Ahhh, and this is the scary part of being dangerously creative. . .it’s everywhere.  And it’s extremely simple.  A word, a smell, a turn of phrase.  It’s usually the reaction that’s generated from others that gets my wheels turning and bumps it up to another level.  For instance, I had posted this picture on FB back in October of 2011.  I’m sorry to say that I don’t know where it came from, but I can’t take credit for it.  A new friend noticed the picture and this generated a whole new rash of reactions.  So. . .now we have carrots. . .

Meanwhile, someone had started a discussion regarding the illegal use of bath salts. Okay, I’m not called “warped” for nothing.  How could I possibly incorporate carrots and bath salts into a cupcake?

Here’s the result:  Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting  (Adapted from Elie Krieger, Food Network)

Ingredients for cupcakes:

  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups finely shredded carrots
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts

Ingredients for frosting:

  • 8 ounces 1/3 fat cream cheese
  • 3 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar (more if necessary to increase stiffness)
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

Ingredients for decor:


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
  2. Sift together first six ingredients.  In a large bowl, combine oil, brown sugar and eggs until well blended.  Add in applesauce, vanilla and carrots.  Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined.  Stir in chopped walnuts.
  3. Divide the batter between the muffin cups.  Bake until toothpick comes out clean, about 20 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. Meanwhile, create the candy decors.  Place 10 unwrapped butterscotch candies in a plastic sandwich bag. Using a hammer, pound into small pieces.  Spread the candy pieces in an even layer over a foil-lined cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 until bubbles form – at least 3-4 minutes.  Let cool and break into small pieces.
  5. Using a sharp knife, slice along the grooves of the Rips green candy.  The large carrot needs a piece of candy three grooves wide and small carrot needs a piece two grooves wide.
  6. Microwave 3 pieces of orange Starburst for approximately 7 minutes (time will vary depending upon the microwave).  Roll one candy into a carrot shape adding green Rips to the top and set aside.  Roll the second two candies together into a carrot shape and cut off small part of bottom to use as the arm for the first carrot.  Add the green Rips to the top of this larger, second carrot.  Drape and shape the first carrot over the second.  Roll the remaining bit of candy into an arm shape and attach to first carrot.
  7. Frost the cooled cupcakes and sprinkle with the butterscotch “bath salts”.  Add a carrot sculpted decor.
  8. Store the cupcakes in the refrigerator.