Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

I was asked to participate in a conference call yesterday to interview Candace Nelson, the founder of Sprinkles Cupcakes. Although I have never had the opportunity to taste a cupcake from Sprinkles, I have admired them for their modern aesthetic appeal and jumped at the opportunity to speak with Candace.

Since this post is all about cupcakes, I just had to whip up a batch to share with you. After browsing the amazing Sprinkles menu, I knew I wanted to create a chocolate on chocolate cupcake and drew inspiration from Candace’s Milk Chocolate flavor. The description of this selection is a Belgium dark chocolate cupcake with fudgy milk chocolate cream cheese frosting. How delish does that sound? Although my interpretation of this sweet treat is slightly different, it turned of to be quite delectable.

In case you are not familiar with Sprinkles, here is a little background info. Candace started Sprinkles in Beverly Hills in 2005, her sophisticated take on the classic American cupcake made Sprinkles an overnight bakery sensation. Candace’s business continues to grow with 5 more locations slated to open in the near future. If I have piqued your interest about Sprinkles and you’re drooling at the mere thought of entering a Sprinkles bakery, you can check our their list of locations here.

Candace was such a doll during the phone conference, she gave some participants great advice regarding their own business ventures and answered some great questions about branding, business partnerships and even shared some personal stories.

Curious what I asked Candace? Well here are my questions and her responses directly from the transcripts:
MBA: I’m pretty big on the whole presentation factor on my blog with all baked goods, I’m curious what your inspiration was behind your signature Sprinkles look.
Candace: Oh sure. Basically, decoration in general, presentation has to follow what you’re doing with the actual cupcake itself. So a lot of times on Cupcake Wars, if there was a garnish on top of the cupcake, it’s an indication, or should’ve been an indication as to what was going on with the cupcake flavor inside. At Sprinkles what we did, is we reinvented the cupcake. We modernized it, we made it more sophisticated, more elegant with more beautiful ingredients, and we wanted to do the same thing with the look. So, playing on the traditional with the color of the modern dot; having that element of fun, but then also making it more sophisticated and sleek.

MBA: Obviously you were inspired by cupcakes at some point or another, but I’m curious as to what your very first cupcake memory was as a kid.
Candace: Oh my gosh, you know what, no one’s ever asked me that question before! That’s amazing, that’s such a great question. I have so many pictures of myself as a kid eating cake, but I don’t have that many of me eating cupcakes, and one of the reasons why, is that I grew up overseas when I was very young. And it was until I came back to the States when I was more in grade school that I started eating cupcakes, and those were Hostess cupcakes in my lunch box.

If you are a Food Network junkie like I am, you may recognize Candace from the latest commercial promos because Candace’s latest venture is being a judge on Food Network’s new show, Cupcake Wars. Each week on Cupcake Wars, four of the country’s top cupcake bakers face off in three elimination challenges until only one decorator remains. The sweet prize: $10,000 and the opportunity to showcase their cupcakes at the winning gig. Whether a special Ace of Cakes anniversary celebration, a star-studded magazine party or an A-list celebrity golf tournament, these Cupcakes Wars really heat up. Candace Nelson (owner of Sprinkles Cupcakes) and Florian Bellanger (chef and co-owner of online macaroon company MadMac) serve as permanent judges with a third rotating judge each week, and Justin Willman hosts.

I watched the sneak peek of Cupcake Wars on Sunday. Although I like the concept of this Food Network show, it definitely has a flair for the dramatics. I will not proclaim this show to be a must watch, but if you are looking to burn an hour and be exposed to some odd cupcake flavor combinations, definitely check it out and judge it for yourself. Cupcake Wars airs Tuesdays at 9pm/8c…I will definitely be tuning in tonight to see if my opinion of the show changes before I set my DVR to record the season. If you happened to watch the show, let me know your thoughts!

Now let’s talk chocolate on chocolate cupcakes…the combination of the moist chocolate cake with the richness of the chocolate infused cream cheese frosting is a real stunner. These cupcakes were a big hit and I tell you what, I had to practice some serious will power in order to now eat this frosting by the spoonfull! If you have a favorite chocolate cake recipe, slather on this frosting and become a baking rock star! If you like to experiment, give the Martha Stewart cupcake recipe found below a whirl. I liked it, it’s a tad dense, but super moist. If you like cream cheese frosting, you will be smitten with this chocolate version.

Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

Makes 12 Cupcakes

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper liners.
2. Into a medium bowl, sift together cocoa, flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each, then beat in vanilla. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with sour cream and beginning and ending with flour. Gently fold in chocolate chips.
3. Pour batter into cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.
4. Cool in pan 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
(enough to liberally frost 12-16 cupcakes)

8 ounces of cream cheese; room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter; room temperature
4 tablespoons shortening* (Crisco)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
3 ounces unsweetened chocolated; melted and slightly cooled.
4 cups confectioners’ sugar; sifted

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream the butter, cream cheese and shortening until well blended.
2. Add in the vanilla and salt and mix on low speed until well combined.
3. Gradually pour in the chocolate until thoroughly combined.
4. Add in the confertioners’ sugar one cup at a time until completely incorporated.

1. I use Crisco for a little stability in my frosting, if you are opposed to Crisco, simply sub in a few more tablespoons of butter.
2. The brown cupcake liners and the piping tip used are both from Bake It Pretty.

53 Responses to “Chocolate Chip Cupcakes”

  1. Ken — June 15, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    I love Sprinkles and who can’t use another decadent chocolate treat. Yum!


  2. Jessica @ How Sweet — June 15, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    That is just too cool!

    And the chocolate cupcakes WITH chocolate chips just sound incredible. Beautiful, too!


  3. Naomi — June 15, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    Yeah, so I wanna be a baking rock star! The frosting looks and sounds divine. I’m always looking for different frostings, so I’m going to give these a go. I love the interview!


  4. Sara — June 15, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    I LOVE Sprinkles Cupcakes!! That’s so cool that you got to ask Candace some questions. These cupcakes look delicious and beautiful. I’m sure they could give Sprinkles a good run for their money. :)


  5. Amy Kelly — June 15, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    These cupcakes look and sound delicious! I’m going to have to give these a try soon. I made your Oreo Cupcakes recently and they were a HUGE hit!


  6. Katrina — June 15, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    These look so tasty!! Yum.


  7. Albicocca — June 15, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    Amazing! wow, thanks for sharing!
    I just started a new blog, come and visit if you like:


  8. Lori @ RecipeGirl — June 15, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    Your cupcakes are pretty darn perfect-looking! Maybe you should be opening your own cupcake bakery!!


  9. Kaitlin — June 15, 2010 at 7:23 pm

    These cupcakes are GORGEOUS! I love all of the textures in the photos. And the colors on the napkin are perfect for the set-up. Great work!

    I had the same thoughts about the premiere. I wanted to love it, I really, really did, but it was a little to theatrical, in a way. I think FN is catching on to the cupcake craze a little late in the game, too…


  10. hannah @ thepastrykook — June 15, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    i’ve never tried sprinkles (only crumbs) and so i can’t judge. but i can say that your cc cupcakes look quite awesome! (:


  11. Eliana — June 15, 2010 at 10:07 pm

    Awesome questions Jaime. And your cupcake looks exquisite.


  12. Barbara @ VinoLuciStyle — June 15, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    I’ve never been one to love chocolate and more chocolate but thinking I could love chocolate with sour cream combined with chocolate and cream cheese, no problem. They look mahvelous dahling!

    I’m not familiar with Sprinkles but these will do for me thanks!


  13. Wow – what a neat opportunity! Uber jealous.

    And beautiful cupcake!!! [K]


  14. Cherine — June 16, 2010 at 3:12 am

    Gorgeous cupcakes. Can’t wait to try them!


  15. Kristen — June 16, 2010 at 8:31 am

    Oh my goodness…. I want to eat that cupcake up! That chocolate frosting looks perfectly lickable :)


  16. So exciting you got to interview Candace from Sprinkles! I love her whole concept and design behind her cupcakes. Unfortunately I have never tried them before, but they look so delicious!

    I did catch the Sunday and Tuesday episodes of Cupcake Wars. I wasn’t really sure what to expect going into the program. I do like the fact that it features cupcake bakeries around the country so you can see all the unique flavors that are out there. I don’t like that they only get 2 hours to make 1000 cupcakes and create a display for a big time event. It seems like the displays could be even better if there wasn’t such a time crunch to get everything completed…but I guess that’s what creates the drama for the show! I am a cupcake fanatic so I will probably continue to watch throughout the season so I can get inspiration for my own cupcake creations.

    Your cupcakes look amzaing…chocolate on chocolate YUM!


  17. Maria — June 16, 2010 at 9:14 am

    I’ve never tried Sprinkles. I really want to now! Great post and your cupcakes look wonderful!


  18. CaSaundra — June 16, 2010 at 9:14 am

    I’ve always wanted to try Sprinkles cupcakes–I don’t eat cupcakes nearly enough!


  19. Memoria — June 16, 2010 at 9:22 am

    Wow. I’ve never tried chocolate cream cheese frosting. These cupcakes look amazing.


  20. A Canadian Foodie — June 16, 2010 at 9:29 am

    Great interview considering you have never tasted one of her cup cakes… that would be hard for me. I have never found a cup cake I liked in a cup cake store. The cake is usually too light and flavourless and the icing too sweet – and too center stge. Home made is the way to go. Yours looks scrumy yummy licious… and your photos are fantastic.


  21. Tiffany — June 16, 2010 at 11:04 am

    these are beautiful! they look absolutely perfect… like something i’d see in a window and but a dozen of :)


  22. RJ Flamingo — June 16, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    First – I would throw myself in front of a moving bus for that cupcake! Well, nearly, anyway. :-)) Also, in case you, or anyone else is interested, I found a non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening at Whole Foods the other day. I understand that Earth Balance makes on, too, but I haven’t seen it. I haven’t tried this yet, but this frosting would be the perfect application!

    Second – Enjoyed the interview with Candace Nelson. I saw two episodes of “Cupcake Wars” – Sunday evening and last night. I enjoy the show, but like any “reality” show, there’s hardly any actual reality involved. I’ve got to admire the courage (or is it desperation for national recognition?) of the contestants. For all intents and purposes, these professionals are risking being told on national television that, either their product isn’t good, or that they, themselves, are stupid. Oh, wait. That was just me yelling at the TV. :-)


    • Jamie — June 16, 2010 at 12:52 pm

      Thanks so much for the info on the shortening, I will have to check it out! I am totally with you on Cupcake Wars…plus there is just something about the host’s cheesy one liners that drives me up a wall!

  23. I’m a big fan of Sprinkles–when I moved to Dallas I was so pysched they had one!

    I can’t wait to try this recipe. I love chocolate cream cheese icing :)


  24. Amanda — June 16, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    Funny… I didnt realize I agreed with you about Cupcake Wars until I read your review! I was TOTALLY shocked when the judges were telling the one guy on last nights episode that he didnt capture the theme of Sea World when he had the WHALE on the cupcake! Drove me batty.

    Then the whole 1,000 cupcakes and 2 hours thing just make me nuts. I mean, really, it cant be real? I wish they WOULD make it real… and obviously its all for show, because they go and re-make all the cupcakes for the actual event. SO I am assuming all those initial 1,000 cupcakes go to waste.

    Anywho! That is the longest comment I have ever left on a blog. ;)

    Love your pictures and recipe and am now stalking you all over the place. :)



  25. Sharlene — June 16, 2010 at 11:35 pm

    Definitely need to make my way over to Sprinkles! And definitely need to try out these cupcakes. I often flip-flop between fruity desserts and chocolate ones and I’m definitely on a chocolate streak right now :)


  26. ITALIAN COOKING ADVENTURES — June 17, 2010 at 3:16 am

    Delicious!!thanks for sharing,these cupcakes are AMAZING!!


  27. Sophia — June 17, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    These cupcakes really look great!! They’re perfect for a birthday! The only time of year that I bake cupcakes is Valentine’s Day. I make these Be My Valentine Cupcakes for my special someone! I think I’ll make yours for my niece’s birthday! Thanks for sharing!


  28. Nessie — June 17, 2010 at 11:22 pm

    Wow these look amazing! Can’t wait to try the recipe out! Is the cream cheese flavour noticeable in the frosting? Or is it more chocolately? PS: I love your photography! You make everything look so delish AND arty at the same time :)


    • Jamie — June 17, 2010 at 11:25 pm

      Hey Nessie-
      Thanks so much for stopping by and for your kind words. I thought the frosting had a nice balance of both chocolate and cream cheese. If you make them, let me know what you think.

  29. Baking Serendipity — June 18, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    Yummmm, Sprinkles! Thanks for including the interview here; I was hoping you would when I started reading :)


  30. Jane Ko — June 20, 2010 at 4:31 am

    These cupcakes LOOK AMAZING!


  31. Jess @ My Sweet Gems — June 20, 2010 at 10:10 am

    OMG these look amazing! I totally love chocolate of all kinds (milk less and less) these would be perfect! When can I find time to make these?


  32. AmyRuth@AmyRuthBakes — June 27, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    What amazing photos you have , and chocolate. Well, it just is amazing! How fun it must have been to talk cupcakes with the “sprinkle girl!” Nice post


  33. Amanda — June 28, 2010 at 11:05 am

    Wow, these are making my mouth water something fierce. They look amazing!


  34. Jodi — June 28, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    I would just like to say that I love cupcakes, mostly for the whimsical appeal and delicous heaping mound of buttercream frosting. I live near Sprinkles bakery in Northern California and have sampled pretty much all of them at one time or another. Sprinkles cupcakes are HEAVENLY! They literaly melt in your mouth, the texture is incredibly delicate, but the flavor is rich and decadent. If you’re ever in the area, this is a MUST TRY!


  35. Kathleen — July 1, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    A-Mazing!!! I wanted to let you know my daughter made these yesterday for her sisters birthday and they are FANTASTIC! Lindsay just finished her 1st year at the CIA in Hyde Park, New York and she said they are now her favorite! My daughter will be making these for a cupcake tasting on Friday for a wedding next summer. Love your blog and your recipes.


  36. Julie H — August 2, 2010 at 9:18 am

    I made these for a birthday party at the office. WOW… They were WONDERFUL!!! The cake is so rich & the icing is a nice contrast to the cake flavor, much lighter flavor. But yummy, yummy, yummy!!! Thanks for the recipe & LOVE your site.


  37. Monica — February 18, 2011 at 10:03 am

    I’ve just started making my own cupcakes and this is a recipe I chose to try. Best cupcakes, ever! AND, I don’t even like chocolate cake! These were SO good. I didn’t think they were too dense, although they are heavy. I think the sour cream makes them nice and smooth. Moist and chocolaty goodness. Yum! The frosting was really good…until I figured out the calories! Next time I’m just going to make the cake and sprinkle some powdered sugar over it. The cake is rich and decadent by itself. Thank you for this recipe!


  38. Julie — April 14, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    Just made these today. WOW are they incredible. Made a double recipe so my husband could take a bunch to work and I’d still have enough for visitors this weekend. The cake is rich and moist with chips suspended throughout. The icing is to die fore. Smooth and rich. I made a double batch of icing and had SO much leftover. I kept adding more and more to the cupcakes and had to stop. Put the leftover icing in the freezer. Hope it keeps! Realized though, I need to buy some better (larger) decorating tips.

    Thanks for this awesome recipe!


  39. Jill — August 22, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    Just made these yesterday. OMG, these are amazing! My hubby doesn’t typically like chocolate cupcakes but he LOVED these!!!


  40. Julia — September 18, 2011 at 10:40 am

    I just decided I want THESE for my birthday this year. Simple but divinely chocolaty and sooo cute. Love the interview with Candace too, especially since we live right near a Sprinkles, now I feel even moooooore inclined to go ;)


  41. Tina — March 19, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    I love your website! :)

    You weren’t kidding when you said that this cupcake recipe is a tad dense. I found the cupcake was quite brownie-like and might be better for me as a mini-cupcake. I tripled the cupcake recipe and made 1.5 times the frosting recipe. I tend to put 1 swirl of frosting on my cupcakes so this ratio of cupcake to frosting was perfect for me. I thought the frosting was great – the cream cheese flavour made the frosting less rich which was spot-on for this dense cake.

    Thanks, I can’t wait to try another recipe!


  42. Caylee — July 7, 2012 at 12:38 am

    Usually I don’t give reviews, but these were AMAZING, to say the least. I made them today (cupcake only, did not make the frosting unfortunately :( ) for my 4th of July party tomorrow! They taste like brownies and are unbeatable.


  43. Megan — October 31, 2012 at 11:34 am

    I’m not sure what I did wrong but the cupcakes look fabulous but they are bitter. Any key else have problems with this? They aren’t sugary enough. Hmm wonder if it is just so much bitter cocoa? Or are they not supposed to be very sweet?


  44. elisa — January 12, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    I used the cake part of your recipe to make these. thanks! the cake is perfectly moist. i like the mini choc chips that melt throughout the cake. love your work!


  45. Marcia — October 19, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    Jaime, you’ve got me hooked! Making these last weekend for my sister-in-law’s baby shower was my first real foray into baking, and they were awesome! And the lemon with lemon cream cheese icing were just as yummy. Everyone flipped out over how delicious they were! For everyone who skipped the homemade icing, give it a go next time–it’s truly incredible and didn’t take that long. Thank you for the introduction to Bake it Pretty. Their icing how-to video is awesome, and my fancy looking cupcakes received lots of oohs and ahhs- Please keep coming up with awesome recipes… and I’ll keep taking the credit for my- err, your genius! Seriously, thanks a million!


  46. Dawn — January 15, 2014 at 3:23 am

    Hi!! Do these cupcakes have to be refrigerated because of the cream cheese frosting? :)


    • Jamie — January 17, 2014 at 8:15 pm

      Yes, I would recommend refrigerating the cupcakes. Have a great day.

  47. Corissa — February 8, 2014 at 11:14 am

    Hi I am a huge fan! Because of your recipes, all my friends think I’m a genius baker! My really good friend has requested I make her Bday cupcakes. Her favorite cup cakes are yellow cake with chocolate frosting. She also loves chocolate chip cupcakes. Can I use this recipe with white cake and chocolate chips instead? Also can you use your doctored up cake recipe with other flavors?


    • Jamie — February 11, 2014 at 8:19 pm

      Corissa, that should work fine. You absolutely can doctor up different flavors. Just use corresponding pudding flavors – vanilla pudding for vanilla or strawberry cake, etc.
      – Jamie


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