Magnolia’s Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

Yes, I know, another cupcake post. But these are so damn good I couldn’t resist. Plus, the recipe comes from my muse and baking inspiration Allysa Torey, owner of Magnolia Bakery in NYC. I bought Allysa’s cookbook a few years back, and her recipes are truly the only ones I’ve found to be infallible. Her cupcakes…wow. If you’ve been to Magnolia you know her cupcake and buttercream frosting combo are pretty killer, and they are super easy to make.

So many of the baking tips and tricks I’ve picked up have come from her (second only to my mom). A couple of my favorites:

  • Make sure all cold ingredients (butter, milk, eggs) are at room temperature before you start mixing. This has been possibly the best tip I’ve ever received; it really makes a difference!
  • You simply cannot overbeat sugar and butter, so feel free to whip away until they are super fluffy. Once you add any other ingredients in, though, be careful. Always cream the butter and sugar before you mix in anything else.

These are pretty simple, just chocolate cupcakes with the famous Magnolia chocolate “buttercream” (I put buttercream in quotes because even Allysa notes that it’s not made like a traditional buttercream). Since my last attempt at piping icing was a disaster, I think I’m getting a little better, no?

Magnolia Chocolate Cupcakes

Note to self: ask for lots of frosting tips for Christmas.

Like I said, her recipe is perfect as is so I didn’t change much. The addition of buttermilk makes them a littler tangier than a regular cupcake.

Magnolia Chocolate Cupcakes

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Baking Temperature: 350 degrees
Baking Time: 20-25 minutes

  1. To melt the chocolate, place in a double boiler over simmering water on low heat for approximately 5–10 minutes. Stir occasionally until completely smooth and no pieces of chocolate remain. Remove from the heat and let cool to lukewarm 5–10 minutes.
  2. In a small bowl, sift together the flour and baking soda. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. Add the chocolate, mixing until well incorporated.
  6. Add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated, but do not overbeat. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended and the batter is smooth.
  7. Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about three-quarters full. Bake for 20–25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
  8. Cool the cupcakes in the tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

Magnolia Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons milk
9 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

  1. To melt the chocolate, place in a double boiler over simmering water on low heat for about 5-10 minutes. Stir occasionally until completely smooth and no pieces of chocolate remain. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5-15 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the milk carefully and beat until smooth. Add the melted chocolate and beat well, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat for 3 minutes. Gradually add the sugar and beat on low speed until a desired consistency is reached.

17 Responses to Magnolia’s Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

  1. Marla Singer says:

    These sound soooo good! If only I worked with you so I could eat the nice cupcakes too!

  2. Jen Crev says:

    Hey Suzy! I love the recipes.. I was wondering if you had suggestions on some nice, easy, and transportable cookies I could make for a Thanksgiving feast.


  3. Suzy says:

    Hey!! Thanks :) I have two suggestions…my favorites are these frosted pumpkin cookies ( They are awesome, really easy to make, and the frosting dries hard so you can stack them. I usually add pecans to them.

    I also like Cowboy Cookies ( They are easy and yummy.

  4. Stephanie Zanoni says:

    When are you posting another treat for us? I love treats!

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  7. michelle says:

    can I make ahead and re-whip before i frost the cupcakes?

    • Suzy says:

      Sure, it can be stored for a couple days if sealed up properly in a airtight container. I wouldn’t recommend refrigerating it as it tends to harden and take on a weird consistency.

  8. katy says:

    HI Suzy!
    Thank you so much for this recipe!
    I love your site!!
    Just one quick question!!
    For the chocolate cupcake can i use just regular milk instead of butter milk?
    because i live in korea and we dont have butter milk here..

  9. STP says:

    Do you think I could double the chocolate, mixing bittersweet and milk chocolate? I made them as is, and loved them, but I want to try something different as well. Thanks!

    • Suzy says:

      I think mixing both bittersweet and milk chocolate is a great idea! As for doubling the chocolate, I would probably start slow and see if adding that much chocolate changes the consistency. You may have to add a little flour to make up for it. Let me know how it goes!

      • STP says:

        Hi! I have come up with a new recipe based off of this one. I didn’t think I would want to use cocoa, I mean why would I when I could use freshly melted chocolate?! But, I did! I now use cocoa powder (1/2 cup) and 2/3 cup of white sugar (no brown sugar), plus a few milk chocolate chips in the center of each cupcake before baking. They are fabulous! It’s very different from the original magnolia, but it’s a great recipe! Worked for me because I wanted to have a couple of chocolate recipes under my belt. (And, I add like a tablespoon of vegetable oil, for moistness)

  10. I have tried and tried to make these cupcakes. They just never turn out. I live in Salt Lake City in high altitude. What do I do to alter the recipe to accommodate for it? What kind of unsweetened chocolate do you use. When I make them they just are not as chocolately as the ones you buy at Magnolia’s bakery. I have used just the Bakers brand unsweetened chocolate and they come out so light brown looking. The ones at Magnolia’s bakery were so dark and moist. The first time I tried them, my Kitchenaid would only go warp speed and they were dried out and nasty and hard on the tops. So I bought a new mixer and tried again. Still dried out but I cooked them less time and they were soft on the top. I then I realized I was not setting the butter out to TRULY be room temperature and soft soft soft. So then I changed that. Then someone told me to add more butter because they were turning out not moist. I also added more unsweetened chocolate to make them more chocolately but stupid me I didn’t think ahead and add more sugar and they were too bitter tasting and still just a light light brown. I know I am just a total nut but I so badly want to learn how to make a decadent moist intoxicating chocolate cupcake like the ones you buy at the bakeries. I say to myself – it’s just a cupcake but why can I not get this down. This science experiment is taking over my mind and house. Soooo truly befuddled…… please help.

  11. Karla says:

    Hey there…try this adjustment for high altitude. I’m from Atlanta and many baking recipes failed when I moved to higher altitude out West!

    High-altitude baking

    Most sea-level recipes work up to around 3,000 feet, but above that, they need the following adjustments. Keep in mind that every recipe is different and any or all of these adjustments may be required. Keep notes of how you adjust recipes until you know what works best for your particular location.

    6,000 feet
    7,000+ feet

    For each teaspoon, reduce baking powder 1/2-1/4 tsp
    1/4 tsp

    For each cup, reduce sugar up to 2 tbsp
    1-3 tbsp

    For each cup, increase liquid 2-4 tbsp
    3-4 tbsp

  12. Jenny Henry says:

    WoWo yummy soon as faster I’ll run to my kitchen to make them hmmm

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