Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream

I was compensated by Nielsen-Massey Vanillas for my time in developing this recipe and post. All opinions are my own.

Happy Monday! Is there a better way to kick of the work week than with cupcakes? I don’t think so. That is why today I am sharing these Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream. There are many wild and crazy cupcake flavors out there now a days, I figured it was time to get back to the classics.

When it comes to desserts, especially ice cream and cupcakes, one common question is: are you a chocolate or a vanilla? Me? I’m both. You see, most of the chocolate desserts that we love wouldn’t be what they are without vanilla. Chocolate cake? Vanilla is in there. Chocolate cookies? Yep, in there too. Chocolate Ice Cream? You know it. Chocolate and vanilla compliment each other so well, you’d be hard pressed to find a chocolate dessert that doesn’t have vanilla.

When I say vanilla, I don’t mean that stuff labeled  “vanilla flavoring”. No, I am talking the good stuff. The Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract. Which is exactly the kind of vanilla extract that  Nielsen-Massey  sent me to use in this recipe. I have used Nielsen-Massey products in my kitchen before and have always been a big fan. I was really excited to get the chance to work with them. Not to mention another excuse to make dessert. :)

When it came to the recipe development, I knew that I was going to make chocolate cupcakes.

Because cupcakes.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream

I knew that I was going to use Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract in the chocolate cupcakes because you can’t have chocolate cupcakes without vanilla. But I wanted to take the whole chocolate-vanilla combo one step further and top the cupcakes with vanilla buttercream. Finally, to go one deliciously tiny step further, I sprinkled some Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Sugar on top. The result is a decadent, classic cupcake that is sure to be a favorite.

Be sure to follow Nielsen-Massey on Instagram to get more vanilla recipe ideas!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream

Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Recipe

Makes 20 Prep Time: Cook Time:

Chocolate Cupcakes Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Pure Bourbon Vanilla Extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup boiling water

Vanilla Buttercream Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 - 3 tablespoons whole milk
  • Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Sugar



Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cupcake tin with cupcake liners.


In a bowl of a stand mixer fixed with the paddle attachment, combine sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix together.


Add in canola oil, buttermilk and vanilla. Mix on medium speed just until it starts to come together. Mix in eggs one at a time. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Slowly pour in boiling water. Mix for 2 more minutes. Batter will be thin.


Fill cupcake liners 2/3 way full. Bake in preheated oven for 15 - 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.


Remove cupcakes from oven and allow to cool completely .


Make frosting by creaming together butter and powdered sugar in a stand mixer. Beat in vanilla extract. Beat in two tablespoons milk and continue beating until a thick spreadable mixture forms. If frosting seems too thick add remaining tablespoon milk.


Spoon frosting into a piping bag and pipe onto cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle with vanilla sugar. Serve.



Leave a Comment

  • Reply
    Lauren Allen
    April 20, 2018 at 10:40 am

    I will be making this, it sounds good. This might surprise you but I am a 11 year old baker and I will make this for my class so thank you.

    • Reply
      April 21, 2018 at 9:49 am

      I love to hear about kids cooking so young! I hope that your class enjoys it!

  • Reply
    Heather |
    February 22, 2016 at 6:30 am

    For me, it really depends on my mood (and the dessert). Sometimes I want chocolate, others vanilla – and I’m totally liking the combo of the two. These cupcakes look incredible!

  • Reply
    Kacey @ The Cookie Writer
    February 22, 2016 at 5:10 am

    REAL vanilla is so essential. Pay the bit of extra money, people!! These look so good and I would have no problem sampling one, or two, or three…

  • Reply
    February 22, 2016 at 4:59 am

    Everyone needs a good chocolate cupcake recipe in their back pocket! And these are just beauties!