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  • Writer's picturedeborahreinhardt

Decadent Chocolate Cupcake Recipe

Boost a box cake mix with cocoa powder, milk and butter to turn out these fudgy cupcakes with a surprise center.

chocolate cupcakes light chocolate frosting and cream center
My Decadent Chocolate Cupcakes

For busy people who must balance a career with responsibilities at home, baking might be the last thing on their to-do list. But this recipe for Decadent Chocolate Cupcakes turns out two dozen little fudgy beauties in about 45 minutes, bowl to table. They’re a special dessert the entire family will eat up and are fancy enough to give as a gift.

The time savers in this recipe are a chocolate cake mix and ready-made cream cheese frosting, both of which have been enhanced with just a couple ingredients you likely already have in the pantry.

H3: To make my Decadent Chocolate Cupcake recipe, which yields 2 dozen cupcakes, you’ll need these ingredients:

  • 1 box Duncan Hines Classic Devil’s Food cake mix

  • 2 ounces sifted flour

  • 1 cup reduced fat milk

  • 3 eggs

  • 1/3 cup melted butter

  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder

  • 1 (12-ounce) can whipped cream frosting

  • 3 tablespoons chocolate hazelnut spread

February is National Chocolate Lovers Month (really, isn’t that EVERY month if you love chocolate, but I digress), and I’m remembering the book Delectable Destinations I wrote almost six years ago. It’s a guidebook to outstanding chocolate makers around Missouri that also includes a few recipes. These chocolate cupcakes were in the book and were inspired by a marvelous chocolate hazelnut spread made by outstanding chocolatier Shawn Askinosie in Springfield, Missouri. Shawn doesn’t make the spread anymore, but you still can get his divine bean-to-bar chocolates that are sustainably and ethically sourced.

Whenever I featured these chocolate cupcakes on the book’s Facebook page, people frequently commented how good they looked, and they are! Decorate them as simply or as fanciful as you’d like. Although a professional taster will pick these out of the line up as made from a box mix, they are very close to made-from-scratch. I think the milk (instead of water) and additional sifted flour improves the cake’s crumb, and swapping melted butter for vegetable oil adds a richness, as do the 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder.

But my favorite part of these chocolate cupcakes is the surprise cream center. When you think of the gourmet cupcakes that are sold in bakeries or grocery stores, most have some sort of filling. The cream cheese frosting that’s kissed with chocolate hazelnut spread just works—inside and out.

And for one- or two-person households, little cupcakes or tarts are perfect; who wants an entire cake sitting on the kitchen counter all week?

Okay, let me rephrase that…who thinks it’s a good idea to have an entire cake sitting on the kitchen counter all week. I mean, if it’s there, I’ll definitely eat it.

While this recipe yields 24 cupcakes, they can easily be frozen if you’re not sharing with friends, grandkids or other family. Simply bag and freeze prior to filling and frosting them.

Try this recipe for Decadent Chocolate Cupcakes and let me know how they turned out for you. I’ll bet some of you have other ideas for filling or frosting the cupcakes, so please share, and happy February, you chocolate lovers!



Three Women in the Kitchen is an award-winning food blog offering today’s home cooks comforting, hearty recipes with a personal touch. The website also pays tribute to Deborah’s mother, Katie Reinhardt, and paternal grandmother, Dorothy Reinhardt (the “three women” in the kitchen). Whether you’re an experienced or a novice cook, you’ll find inspiration here to feed your families and warm your heart. Subscribe today so you won’t miss a single delicious detail.

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