No. 95: Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

Ok, baking friends. I need your help.

I'm great with breads, loaves and dense items like brownies. But for some reason I am not so hot with cookies, cupcakes and cakes.

Just keep reading for more context:)

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

I had some semi sweet chocolate chips on hand and thought this Ghirardelli recipe would be a perfect pairing.


Makes 12 cupcakes
1 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup Ghirardelli Unsweetened Cocoa
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 cup whole milk plus 2 tablespoons whole milk
1/3 cup strong brewed coffee or espresso
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

6 ounces Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate baking bar, broken or chopped into 1-inch pieces
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup Ghirardelli Milk or Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

To make

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 12 cupcake molds or muffin tins with paper liners or spray with nonstick spray.

To make the cupcakes, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, brown sugar, and white sugar. Whisk in the milk, coffee, and melted butter. Whisk in the dry ingredients.

Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake molds, filling them about three-quarters full.


Bake for 15 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the middle of the cupcakes comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes. Using a small spatula or knife, remove the cupcakes from the pan. Continue to cool on a wire rack to room temperature.

To make the frosting, melt the chopped chocolate in the top of in a heatproof bowl, over barely simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth.

Frosting 1

Frosting 2

Heat the cream until hot. Remove from the heat and whisk in the chocolate. Transfer to a bowl and cool to just warm. Whisk in the butter until smooth. Let sit until it reaches a spreading consistency, about 1 hour.

Spread the frosting on top of the cupcakes. Sprinkle them with chocolate chips.

The results

So ... this happened.

Cupcakes fell

My cupcakes collapsed in on themselves. To make things worse, I pried the first round from the pan a little early.


Not that demolishing them kept me from eating one. They really are delicious! The recipe itself has great depth of flavor thanks to the high quality chocolate, butter and definitely the coffee.

I did some research and the Cupcake Project (aka Stefani Pollack) has some ideas of why this sinking phenomenon may have happened:

  • The liners could be overfilled. (Nope, I did ok on this one.)
  • The oven temperature could be off. (Definitely possible with my 1980s oven.)
  • Over-mixing. (Pretty sure this was me...whoops.)

But I really loved the last line in the article:

If your cupcakes have sunk, don’t worry. No one will ever know! Just cover the hole with frosting and enjoy!

I like her.

And that's what I did, covered the second round of these bad boys with frosting and chocolate chips. Boom!


So how do you keep your cupcakes up and happy? Shoot me a note on your baking secrets and I'll be sure to try a few!

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Send me your thoughts, comments and ideas at

Amelia McCormick

Kansas girl transplanted to Asheville, North Carolina. Smiler, lover of great food and wine, facilitator, runner, storyteller, wife, optimist, and mother of sweet twins:)

Asheville, North Carolina