Don’t let the looks of these chocolate-filled cupcakes deceive you! While simple on the outside, each vanilla cupcake hides a rich dark chocolate filling on the inside.
Stuffed Cupcakes With Dark Chocolate
Somehow, we’ve come to expect that cupcakes will be topped with lofty spirals of cloyingly sweet frosting. While these cupcakes look impressive, the taste is usually one-note—and that note is sugar overload. I much prefer a simple cupcake that allows you to truly appreciate all the textures and flavors involved. These chocolate-filled cupcakes are the perfect example.
These cupcakes are finished with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar; the lack of frosting means you can really taste the depth of the vanilla flavor, which comes courtesy of vanilla extract and vanilla bean paste. And inside each cupcake is a piece of bittersweet chocolate for the perfect contrast with the sweet vanilla cake.
This recipe appeals to me because it’s simple, quick, and mixed in one bowl. But, best of all, it produces the kind of cupcake I grew up eating—a cupcake that’s about the cake, and not about elaborate decorations.
Notes on Ingredients
Scroll down to the recipe card to find the ingredient quantities and recipe instructions.
- All-purpose flour – Learn more: How to Measure Flour
- Baking powder
- Unsalted butter – Learn more: Unsalted or Salted Butter: Which is Better for Baking?
- Granulated sugar
- Egg whites – You can use the leftover yolks to make Almond Gâteau Breton which uses exactly 6 yolks. (Not ready to make a cake right now? Freeze the yolks for another time!)
- Milk – Whole milk is always best for baking, as the extra fat yields a tender crumb.
- Vanilla bean paste
- Vanilla extract – Use store-bought or homemade vanilla extract.
- Bittersweet chocolate – Don’t substitute chocolate chips; you’ll need pieces from a bar, as you’ll push one piece into the center of each cupcake.
- Confectioners’ sugar
Can I Use Vanilla Extract Instead of Vanilla Paste?
Yes, you can substitute the vanilla bean paste with an equal amount of vanilla extract. Note that vanilla paste is more like vanilla bean, though—it’s much more fragrant than vanilla extract, and it gives baked goods those signature flecks of vanilla bean like you see in French vanilla ice cream.
How to Make Chocolate-Stuffed Cupcakes
This is the kind of easy cupcake recipe that comes together in under an hour from start to finish. Here’s what you’ll need to do.
Prepare. Preheat your oven to 350°F and line 12 cups of a standard muffin tin with paper liners.
Mix the dry ingredients. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
Mix the wet ingredients. Use an electric mixer on medium speed to cream the butter and sugar until they’re light and fluffy. Beat in the egg whites, milk, vanilla bean paste, and vanilla extract.
Finish the batter. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the dry ingredients; mix just until combined.
Assemble. Divide the batter into the prepared muffins cups, filling them about 3/4 full. Gently insert a piece of chocolate into the center of each, pressing down until the chocolate is partially covered with batter.
Bake. Place the cupcake pan in the oven and bake for 22 to 25 minutes, or until the cupcakes are a pale golden brown.
Cool. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then carefully remove the cupcakes and let them finish cooling directly on the racks. (Learn more: Why Every Baker Needs Wire Cooling Racks)
Garnish. Dust the cupcakes with confectioners’ sugar, then serve.
Tips for Success
If you’re new to baking, I recommend starting with my baking tips for beginners. Here are some additional pointers for this chocolate-filled cupcake recipe.
- Use softened butter and room temperature eggs. They’ll hold more air when beaten, giving your cupcakes a light, airy texture.
- Don’t over-mix the batter. Doing so will overwork the gluten strands in the flour, resulting in dense, flat cupcakes.
- Use a gentle touch when adding the chocolate. Do not try to cover the chocolate piece completely with batter, as the cake will rise and cover it. If you push it in too far, it will settle to the bottom and maybe even come out of the bottom of the cakes.
As you may have guessed, you can really use any kind of chocolate bar in this recipe. For a milder flavor, choose a high-quality milk chocolate. You can also add a frosting or ganache on top if you’d like to jazz things up a bit.
How to Store
Store chocolate-filled cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 to 4 days.
Can This Recipe Be Frozen?
Yes, you can freeze these chocolate-filled cupcakes. Place them in an airtight container or freezer bag and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. To thaw, let them sit at room temperature before serving.
28 Comments on “Chocolate-Filled Cupcakes”
Love the photo! I think cupcakes are rather tasty with just a sprinkle of pwd sugar & I agree…frosting all them can be a messy chore (unless you assign it to a child–ha!) I have been tempted to buy the vanilla bean paste & your suggestion has convinced me!
They look scrumptious, Jen!
I’m not a fond of buttercream, so I usually go for chocolate icing or ganache. I prefer simpler cakes, though.
And I have bought vanilla paste (I can’t find it here, luckily for me King Arthur delivers in Brazil) and can’t wait for my box to arrive… 🙂
I too fell in love with vanilla bean paste- There’s nothing better than seeing those gorgeous flecks in your baked goods, and it just tastes so much more flavorful than the extract.
The cupcakes look and sound wonderful, and filling the center with chocolate is a great excuse to leave off the fussy icing off the top!
Sounds like a really good one–and these definitely don’t need icing. I recently tried filling muffins with peanut butter and my problem was that it exploded out the top:)
JEP, I love that vanilla bean paste. I think you’ll be pleased.
Patricia, I would be lost without King Arthur’s deliveries. If not for them, I would have to do without a lot of things.
Hannah, those little flecks make me giddy!
Julie, I can empathize with your cupcake filling problems. A few of these lost the chocolate completely out of the bottom. I’m glad I experimented a bit to get some of them to work.
Wow, so simple yet so utterly irresistible! I agree, those cupcakes with huge domes of buttercream look cute but are kind of sickly to eat. Yours on the other hand I could definitely dig into!
I’m so out of the loop — I’ve never seen vanilla bean paste before! I’m going to look out for it; it sounds like something I would like to work with.
Based on Julie’s peanut butter experience, I think we should try them again but slathering a little peanut butter on the bottom of the chocolate. Maybe the two forces would cancel each other out?
These sound delicious! I’m going to have to start looking for vanilla bean paste…
Anita, those big tall cupcakes are pretty if not practical to eat. Maybe someday I’ll be brave and try them.
Alicia, I love, love, love vanilla bean paste. Probably my favorite baking find of last year.
Quinn, you are such an engineer.
Deborah, if you can’t find the vanilla bean paste, try King Arthur Flour’s website or Williams Sonoma.
I need to find some vanilla bean paste! And I’m with you, frosting is a pain!
These sound scrumptious and look divine.
Love your blog, great recipes and fab photos.
We have featured you as our Blog of the Week. Here is the link if you would like to have a look.
Brilynn, it seems that lots of people feel the same way we do about frosting. I’m glad I’m not alone.
Thanks, Wanda! How wonderful!
I think you can keep the chocolate from sinking by tossing them with flour before adding, it works well with fruit and I have seen it done before with chocolate chips. Maybe that would help?
Megan, thanks for the tip! I’ll have to remember that one.
Even seen I bought 1/4lb of vanilla beans from ebay few months ago I have been using them a lot in my bake. I think I may switch to vanilla bean paste after my stash runs out. Love the flecks in your cupcake.
Mandy, that’s a lot of vanilla beans!
I love your page. I am going to make these when I get up this afternoon.
Hendria, I hope you enjoy them!
Your photos are awesome!
Try baking the cupcakes for a few minutes, then stick the chocolate in them. This may keep the chocolate from sinking to the bottom.
It’s what I do when I make “lucky penny” sheet cake for St. Patrick’s Day for my class.
Thanks, Julie! That sounds like a good idea.
I hope you give the cupcake more of a chance. You don’t have to do pretty piping to make the frosting look nice. Sometimes I just shmeer it on and it works just fine. Yours sound great. I’ve never used vanilla bean paste and would like to check it out.
Thanks, Stef! I’m sure this won’t be my last cupcake attempt. They’re far too good to ignore!
These cupcakes sound awesome! I love this website! I am going to try these cupcakes this weekend! I am going to bake them in icecream cones! I’m sure you have seen those cupcakes baked in icecream cones! Well this sounds like the perfect batter for the icecream cones! I’m so excited to try it! I’m baking them for a little league fund raiser!
Oh, a note about frosting! I totally blew myself away this weekend, because I had not made icing before. My mom had always made it and sadly she passed away a year ago. So, my first attempt turned out great! I was so happy! took 1 cup of confectioners sugar, 2-3 TBS of milk, 1 TBS butter, 1 half squeezed lemon juice, grated lemon rind of an organic lemon (organic b/c i want to avoid the pesticides). I mixed it all together until it was a good consistency. It was perfect for my lemon poppyseed muffins I made for an afternoon get together!
Love this blog great pictures and thanks for the info on Chocolate-Filled Cupcakes ymm…………