Category Archives: Ina’s Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream

“Hey yogurt, if you’re so cultured, how come I never see you at the opera?” -Stephen Colbert

I could start off apologizing for how long it has been since I last blogged. Instead, I thought I’d show you a picture of my cupcake and consider this a fresh start. Can we move on from this? Great!

Okay, I should probably give you the quickest summary of what is going on in my life, and then I promise we can start discussing chocolate cupcakes with vanilla buttercream.

  • I started pastry school in Philly in September, but it was not a good fit for me, so I decided to take this year to get a full time job and make money.
  • I was fortunate to get a serving job at Dublin Square in Cherry Hill and got to experience opening a brand new restaurant, a rather eye opening experience. It also doesn’t hurt to have some of the greatest coworkers in the world.
  • In September I am going back to Johnson and Wales to obtain my Bachelor’s Degree in Food Service Management and I could not be any happier. This year off was absolutely necessary for me to figure out which direction I wanted to at least start to take after having my culinary degree.
That about sums it up for my life! I’m still the same old SammyRoo with the same ridiculous passion for food :).
Okay back to cupcake business. I adore cupcakes. They are delicious, small, and there positively endless possibilities with what you can do to them. I personally think a lot of society’s everyday problems can be solved with cupcakes. Yesterday I made Ina Garten’s chocolate cupcakes and threw together my own vanilla bean buttercream icing. Ina uses not-your-average cupcake ingredients (such as buttermilk and sour cream), but the end result is a moist cake that focuses more on the deep flavors of chocolate rather than a standard super sweet cake.

The batter starts with butter, granulated, and brown sugar that gets creamed together. Whenever I’m baking anything, I love doing everything by hand, no mixer. When people talk about “love” being the ingredient that makes their dish special, thats what I think of as my love. Even though it may take a bit longer, I find people enjoying what I make all the more fulfilling. 

The eggs then get added, one at time, and then the vanilla. WARNING: If you attempt to make something with an extract containing the word imitation“, it will never be at its’ full potential. Trust me, it is worth spending a couple extra bucks on the real deal. That’s what I’m talkin’ about. Buttermilk used to originally be the remaining liquid left over after churning butter from cream. Before I became familiar with the product, I would always cringe at the word, thinking it was ridiculously fattening and terrible for you. In this case, the buttermilk is merely a fermented milk that gets a sour-like taste from lactic acid. Thats why a lot of deep fried meats are soaked in buttermilk before getting breaded because the acid starts to break down and tenderize it!  I consider it a “liquid sour cream”.

Now you may think the second picture was the vanilla, but you are wrong.It’s actually brewed coffee. I don’t know who discovered this, but coffee has this unbelievable way of severely enhancing the flavor of chocolate. I used 4 tablespoons and combined it with the buttermilk and a cup of sour cream.

Okay, as far as dry ingredients are concerned, there are two that HAVE to be sifted every single time, no matter what: confectioners sugar and cocoa powder. If you don’t sift these ingredients you will end up with huge lumps in your batter that no matter how much you mix and no matter how many curse words you say, they will never break. For my chocolate cupcakes I went for the best of the best cocoa powder:

There really isn’t much else I can say about that.

It’s finally time to put all of the ingredients together. I rotated the dry ingredients and the buttermilk mixture back and forth to original butter and sugar mixture, and the final batter was a big bowl or rich, thick, chocolate heaven.


I used to have a serious problem with making my cupcakes even. I’m hardheaded and wanted to prove that I could “eyeball” it and then end up with undercooked, overcooked, enormous, and miniature cupcakes that made me want to never cook again. After a few years, I finally got over my hard-headed attitude and invested in an ice cream scoop and have succeeded in consistency.


It really is a beautiful thing.

Okay, time for a very simple, but delicious vanilla butter cream. Ingredients? Butter, the seeds of one vanilla bean, vanilla extract, and lots of (SIFTED) confectioners sugar.

Okay my camera decided to not focus during my pictures, but to get those precious gems of vanilla beans, you take a paring knife and slice it all the way down the middle. Then, just simply use the back of the knife to scrape out the seeds.

It looks like ice cream!

And finally……..

I believe that the icing of a cupcake is underrated. It’s what makes them go from “aw” to “awesome”.

The cupcakes came out fabulous. They were so moist and it blew my mind how intense the chocolate flavor was with that little amount of coffee. Here is the recipe for Ina’s cupcakes: If there is anything I can leave you with about these cupcakes it’s that these are definitely more of an adult cupcake. I personally would not use her recipe for a child’s birthday party because they prefer the sugary chocolate candy flavor. Regardless, I hope you enjoyed this and I am so looking forward to coming back around to my blog!

Have a great weekend!



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