These rich chocolate cupcakes are topped with creamy vanilla buttercream, and are decorated with chocolates, toffee, and crushed graham crackers to look like hidden treasure! Perfect for a pirate themed party.
On a scale of 1 to 12, how much do you love cake?
Or, more importantly, how much do you love chocolate?
In college, one of my close friends told me she didn’t care for the taste of chocolate, which I found, well, let’s just call it like it is, weird, especially considering I want my chocolate how I want my bank account: rich.
It’s like those people who decline dessert because they’re “too full.”
I don’t even know what that means those words are so foreign. In my world, there is always–always–room for dessert. Whether or not I should eat it every time I find room, well, that’s a different story. 🙂
These adorable pirate-themed cupcakes were inspired by my nephew’s first birthday party. My favorite little man adores Jake and the Neverland Pirates, and as such, he had a pirate birthday party, complete with the cutest pirate outfit a one year old could ever wear.
He is the most adorable child on the planet. When I get the pictures, you can rest assured I’ll spam you all on Instagram. You’re welcome.
For his party, I created adorable little pirate flags that said things like, “Yo-ho!” and “Matey!”
It was pretty darn adorable, if I do say so myself. Why they didn’t make it into these pictures, I’m really not sure. Chalk it up to an air-head moment.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if all treasure chests were made out of solid chocolate?
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/3 cup hot coffee chocolate, espresso, or plain is best
- 2 Tbsp vegetable or canola oil
- 1/2 cup butter softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp espresso powder optional--it brings out the chocolate flavor without tasting like coffee
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1/4 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
- 1 c butter softened to room temp
- 3-4 c powdered sugar
- 1/4 c heavy cream half-and-half, or whole milk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of salt to offset sweetness
- 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
- 1/4 cup toffee bits
- 12 chocolate nuggets
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-tin cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
Combine cocoa and hot coffee together, stirring until smooth; add in oil and stir; set aside.
Beat butter with a standing mixer or hand mixer until creamy and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
Gradually add in white and brown sugar, beating 2-3 minutes until it is light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until the yellow disappears.
Add in chocolate/coffee mixture, and beat until just combined.
In a bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and espresso powder.
Stir together buttermilk, vanilla extract, and sour cream (or Greek yogurt).
Alternately mix the buttermilk mixture and flour mixture with the butter batter, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Do not overmix.
Divide batter evenly between muffin cups (the batter makes 14-16).
Bake for 17-18 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Be careful not to over-bake, as chocolate cupcakes can get very dry if over-baked.
Allow to cool.
For the frosting, beat butter until light and fluffy. Add in powdered sugar, a cup at a time starting with only 3 cups. Add in heavy cream, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. Beat until light and fluffy, about a minute.
If the frosting is too thin, add in the other cup of powdered sugar, 1/2 a cup at a time. If it's too thick, add in more heavy cream, a Tbsp at a time.
Once the cupcakes have cooled, pipe the frosting on.
Place a chocolate nugget in the middle of the frosting. Press a mixture of graham cracker crumbs and toffee around the chocolate (the "treasure chest") to make it look like beach sand.
Here are some other cupcake recipes that might fancy yourself some: