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Frosted Chocolate-Buttermilk Cupcakes


Dutch-process cocoa powder has a more mellow flavor and darker color than regular cocoa powder, which works well in this recipe.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Yield: Makes 12

Source: Everyday Food, January/February 2005


  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-process
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 6 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg white
  • Light Cream-Cheese Icing
  • Candy decorations (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard 12-cup muffin tin (or two 6-cup muffin tins) with paper liners. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

  2. With an electric mixer, combine cocoa and 3 tablespoons hot water until a thick paste forms (this process intensifies the chocolate flavor). Add butter, buttermilk, egg, and egg white; beat until combined. Whisk in flour mixture until smooth.

  3. Scoop (or spoon) batter into prepared tin(s). Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.

  4. Use an offset spatula or butter knife to spread Light Cream-Cheese Icing over tops. Decorate as desired.

Cook's Notes

To divide evenly, use an ice-cream scoop to ladle the batter into the muffin cups. This also prevents drips.

Reviews Add a comment

  • carolwilkins
    8 MAY, 2010
    My bunch loves these cup cakes. I even have a grandson that isn't big on cakes and sweet baked good but he loves these cupcakes. It is good knowing I can make a sweet that is a little healthier.
  • Joie44
    17 APR, 2010
    I wasn't overwhelmed by this recipe. I guess it's ok for low fat but I probably wouldn't make these again.
  • kooohkies
    22 DEC, 2009
    Hi.. how come when I baked this the top of my cupcake is hard. I followed every step in this recipe. I don't know what went wrong. Although I changed the oven temperature from 350 degrees to 175 celcius. Help!
  • LakerLover
    15 FEB, 2009
    These cupcakes are killer w/ some minor changes: Add 6 Tbsp of oil w/butter and during cocoa process, add dry choco pudding. This will keep the cupcakes extra moist and turn out extra chocolately!
  • emiefox06
    13 FEB, 2009
    I made these but instead of the cream-cheese icing , I used Martha's buttercream frosting - I got rave reviews from all my friends. I guess the buttercream defeats the purpose of making a "light" cupcake...but they were wonderful!
  • MissesBojangles
    19 JUN, 2008
    I made these last night and they were very good for a lower fat recipe. You may need more frosting if you follow the cream cheese recipe.
  • gracieb83
    10 MAY, 2008
    These are SO good and SO easy. They were a BIG hit in my church group from the kids and the adults. I frosted with real butter cream frosting, not the low-fat recipe - so that negated the light-ness, but super good
  • gracieb83
    1 MAY, 2008
    based on my calculations, without frosting - 126 calories, 4 grams of fat, 25 mg cholesterol, 158 mg sodium, 21 gram carb - 13 sugar, 2 protein.
  • MS11339485
    31 MAR, 2008
    Does anyone know what size ice cream scoop to use? They come in many different sizes in the cooking stores and I was just wondering which is the best for cupcakes.
  • MS10498747
    21 MAR, 2008
    Very easy to make and a healthier alternative to regular chocolate cupcakes. Using buttermilk is a brilliant idea and the cream cheese frosting makes them taste decadent, not health conscious.