Makes 24 cupcakes


For the Cake

2C + 2Tbl. sugar
1 3/4C all-purpose flour
3/4C + 1T cocoa powder
1 1/2tsp. baking powder
1 1/2tsp. baking soda
1tsp. salt
2 eggs
1C milk
½C vegetable oil
2tsp. vanilla extract
1C boiling water

For the Frosting

24 oz. (1 ½ lb.) cream cheese, room temperature
8 oz. (1/2 lb.) unsalted butter, room temperature
2C powdered sugar, sifted
1T vanilla extract, or ½ a vanilla bean, scraped

Special Equipment

Electric hand mixer
Mixing bowls
Cupcake tins
Wire rack


For the Cake

Preheat the oven to 350F (or 325F convection bake). Line muffin pans with paper cupcake liners.

Sift sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds, scrape down the bowl, then beat 2 minutes more. Slowly add the boiling water, stirring gently to combine. Let the batter sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before portioning to let the dry ingredients evenly absorb the moisture (the cupcakes will bake more evenly and have a better crumb).

Fill each cupcake liner three-quarters full. Bake until the tops are firm and a tester comes out clean, about 18 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool completely directly on the rack before frosting.

For the Frosting

With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth. Gradually add soft butter in pieces and mix until smooth and well blended. With the mixer off, add sifted powdered sugar, vanilla and mix slowly at first until powdered sugar is incorporated, then mix on medium speed until smooth. Use immediately.

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