Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Honey Pecan Frosting

There’s a number of reasons I prefer making cupcakes over full cakes. Number one is probably my ineptitude with cake decorating. Beyond that, they just seem easier–easier to make, easier to serve, easier to eat, and they taste just as good. It had been a long time since I last made cupcakes, and I wasn’t about to endeavor on a full on cake.

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Honey Pecan Frosting

For these particular cupcakes, I opted for the flavor that always seems to draw my wife and I to cakes: chocolate. I wanted it to have some intrigue to it though, so its not just chocolate–I wanted something darker. So for the cupcake batter, the foundational flavors are both cocoa and molasses for something a bit more like Devil’s Food. Then, to compliment that: a tangy cream cheese frosting flavored with toasted, honeyed pecans. All together very tasty and a fun change from the everyday chocolate cupcakes out there.

  • Cupcake batter
    • 1.5 cups flour
    • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 1/4 cup dark molasses
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • 1/4 tsp baking soda
    • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
    • 1 cup buttermilk
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Honey Pecan Cream Cheese Frosting
    • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
    • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
    • 2 cups powdered (confectioner’s, not just finely granulated) sugar
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • pinch of salt
    • 1/2 cup pecans
    • 1/8 cup honey
    • 1/4 cup cream

Mix the wet and dry in separate bowls

Begin by sifting the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and baking soda into a bowl, and then mix salt into that. Set this aside.

In a second bowl, mix the buttermilk and molasses. Set this aside.

Mix the dark chocolate cupcake batter

Cream the butter and add in the sugar, mixing until the sugar has dissolved into the butter. Then, add in the eggs one at a time, mixing until fully integrated before moving on to the next one, and then finally, mix in the vanilla.

At this point, you want to bring it all together. Add a third of the dry mix into the butter bowl and mix just until fully incorporated. Then add a third of the buttermilk bowl, mixing until incorporated. Repeat until done, mixing only as much as is required.

So with the batter ready, pour it into paper linings in a muffin pan. I got about 18 cupcakes from this, so plan accordingly. Transfer to a 325°F oven for 20-25 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.

Bake the chocolate cupcakes

Once the cupcakes are done, give them 5 minutes before you get them out of the pan and then give them an hour before you try to frost them.

Toast the honeyed pecans

During all of this, you should get started on the frosting. Begin by covering the pecans in honey and toasting them in a 350°F oven for 10 minutes.

Grind the pecans into a paste

Then, grind the nuts (and the honey) finely in a food processor until somewhat paste-like in consistency.

Steep the pecan paste in cream

And then, warm up the cream in a saucepan, cut the heat, and steep the pecan mixture in it (covered) for an hour. Don’t bother straining this mixture when time is up–its too thick.

Beat the honey pecan cream cheese frosting

Finally, bring all the frosting together. The cream cheese and butter need to warm up to room temperature for an hour or two. Then, beat the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer, creaming it for about one minute. Add the butter to this and cream this into the creamed cream cheese for an additional minute or two. Finally, add the salt, vanilla extract, and pecan cream, mixing briefly to incorporate, and last of all, the sugar. Mix this until entirely incorporated into the frosting.

I’d recommend you chill the frosting in a pastry bag for 30 minutes or so to firm it up a little bit before you try to decorate your cupcakes (or it won’t stay very nicely formed). Divide the frosting evenly among them and then enjoy!

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13 Responses to “Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Honey Pecan Frosting”

  1. Steph Says:

    The frosting looks heavenly! I have to try your frosting.

  2. lisa (dandysugar) Says:

    I love the sound of that delicious frosting. Pecans and honey are a great combination. Great choice for devil’s food cupcakes!

  3. Toni Says:

    Mike, I always love the way you photograph each step. It’s terrific! And as for the cupcakes, I’m not sure I’d have quite as many to frost as you did. I think some of them would be gone by the time I finished making the frosting! But pecans and honey? Oh yes!

  4. Mediterranean Diet Blog Says:

    This recipe sounds (and looks) delicious, I’m going to try it tonight! Thank you!

  5. Dragon Says:

    I love these cupcakes!

  6. sunita Says:

    Mike, those cupcakes are to die for…love the frosting :-)

  7. Karine Says:

    Your cupcakes look amazing! And the combination of honey and pecans must be great!

  8. the caked crusader Says:

    For someone who claims he’s not a cake decorator these look pretty amazing!

  9. ingrid Says:

    Unlike yourself and your wife my family and I aren’t chocolate eaters. NOW, that frosting is a whole other story! Just give me the bowl and a spoon! Thanks for sharing. I was intending to make a banana cake today. I think I’ll use your frosting to top it! YUM!
    ~ingrid

  10. jonathan Says:

    that looks incredible

  11. ingrid Says:

    Hi!
    I made your frosting and just as I suspected it was awesome. I had probably a little less than a 1/4 cup of it left over and ate it with a spoon. I’ll probably get a stomach ache now but man it was good!
    Thanks for sharing!
    ~ingrid

  12. Small Talk | Keep Calm & Carry On Says:

    [...] 4. Dark Chocolate Cupcakes  [...]

  13. Madison Davis Says:

    i love to eat dark chocolate because it is very tasty and it is full of antioxidants too:”.

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