For the cupcakes:
- 3/4 cup (95g) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (45g) unsweetened natural cocoa powder (not Dutch processed)
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (100g) packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (120ml) buttermilk
- 1/3 cup (80ml) vegetable or canola oil (or melted coconut oil)
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
For the chocolate buttercream:
- 6 ounces good semisweet chocolate — bars or chips
- 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted or salted butter, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups (152 g) confectioners’ sugar
- flaky sea salt such as Maldon
To make penguins:
- 14 Oreos
- 14 orange M&M’s or Reese’s Pieces or Jelly Beans (you need something orange)
- 28 chocolate chips or brown M&M’s or Reeses Pieces
- Bake the cupcakes. Heat the oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan plus two ramekins (or other similar vessel) with cupcake liners — don’t be tempted to spoon all the batter into 12 cups… the cupcakes won’t bake properly.
- Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, granulated sugar, and brown sugar together in a large bowl until thoroughly combined. Add the buttermilk, oil, beaten eggs, and vanilla. Stir until just combined. The batter will be thin.
- Pour or spoon the batter into the liners, being sure to fill only halfway. Bake for 18-21 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
- Make the frosting. To make the buttercream, chop the chocolate (or don’t if using chips) and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature. Alternatively: Melt in the microwave at 30 second to 1 minute intervals until spreadable.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes. Turn the mixer off and scrape down the sides. Add the confectioners’ sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy. On low speed, add the chocolate to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Don’t whip. Sprinkle in a big pinch of sea salt. Mix to incorporate. Taste. Adjust with more salt to taste. Use immediately or chill until ready to use.
- To make the owl cupcakes: Frost the cupcakes. Halve each Oreo: I find if you press the Oreos together and gently twist the halves apart, you’re more likely to get some white on each half — it doesn’t have to be perfect. Place two halves on top of each cupcake. Place a chocolate chip or
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: one-bowl, chocolate, cupcakes, buttercream, easy, simple, owls, children