Why not just make a brownie or make a cupcake? But then I made brownie cupcakes. And we ate them. And we wanted MOAR. Brupcakes? Cownies? It doesn’t matter what you call it, brownie cupcakes are a fabulous treat you’ve maybe never heard of. I know I hadn’t.
I made my first brownie cupcake three years ago. Here I was thinking brownie cupcakes would be a waste of baking time. I mean, what’s the difference?
A brownie and a cupcake combine to create the ultimate portable snack. You don’t have to worry about slicing brownies and inadvertently drying them out or go through the process of frosting them. Instead, you can just grab one (or two) and go. Frost them or not. Either way, they just WORK.
I don’t think I was ever more disappointed than when I walked over to grab a brownie cupcake — and they were gone. That says something. Well, sort of. I mean we do have a teenage boy in the house. But, he wasn’t the only one mowing through them. These brownie cuppie cakes are a fun change of pace.
You can read through a few tips and tricks or jump straight to the recipes below using the handy dandy Table of Contents.
Cookbooks Used in this Article:
- Cookbooks Used in this Article:
- How Do You Make Brownie Cupcakes?
- Just like a Brownie
- What Do You Need to Make Brownie Cupcakes?
- How Long Do You Bake a Brownie Cupcake?
- What's the Difference Between Using Cocoa Powder or Using Melted Chocolate in these Recipes?
- Brownie Cupcakes (Using Melted Chocolate) Recipe
- A Fast-to-Fix Kind of Cupcake
- Brownie Cupcakes (Using Cocoa Powder and Chocolate Chips) Recipe
- Do You Frost a Brownie Cupcake?
- Can You Fill a Brownie Cupcake?
- Chocolate Ganache Filled Brownie Cupcakes
- Can You Freeze Brownie Cupcakes?
- Pick Your Poison
- Related Resources:
How Do You Make Brownie Cupcakes?
If you can make a pan of brownies, you can make one of these recipes. In fact, it’s a great way to get out of the brownie-making rut, even though you are still basically making brownies. It’s a different shape.
Recipes? Oh, yes. I’ve included two recipes for brownie cupcakes.
One recipe uses melted chocolate and the other uses cocoa powder. Sometimes, you don’t mind foofing around with melting chocolate. Other times, you just want to scoop and measure and be done, am I right? Both involve melting butter (and cooling it slightly, so don’t skip that part) but that’s about as intense a baking project as it gets.
You can read about the differences between using melted chocolate and cocoa powder in your baked goods below.
Just like a Brownie
These are super simple. For making your homemade brownie cupcakes, you’ll use the same sort of ingredients you would in a fudgy brownie recipe. Expect to see flour, sugar, butter, chocolate (in some form), salt, and maybe vanilla extract. Nice, eh? Convenient too.
Just remember not to overmix your batter and you’ll be fine. It’s so important I’ve managed to drill it into the heads of our boys. I’ve heard our youngest remind my husband not to stir the batter too much. Once you add in the liquid, take it easy on the mixing. You don’t need to stir all fast and aggressive-like. Be gentle. Over-mixing causes strands of gluten to develop, resulting in tough brownies. You don’t want that.
What Do You Need to Make Brownie Cupcakes?
Grab your favorite bowl, a spoon, your wet and dry measuring cups, a muffin tin or silicone muffin cups, a non-stick spray like Baker’s Joy or PAM with Flour for Baking or cupcake wrappers, and have at it. There is no special brownie cupcake maker. If there is such a thing, you don’t need it anyway.
You don’t need a mixer for this one either. In fact, there’s probably a good chance your brownie cupcakes would end up overmixed. You don’t want to overmix your brownie cupcakes or they will end up flat and tough. Stick to the hand mixing using a wooden spoon (or whatever spoon you like). Don’t worry — it’s fast.
Grab your muffin tin and get to bakin’. Brownie cupcakes don’t need a special pan. Your usual muffin tin or silicone muffin cups are perfect. I would suggest using the normal size muffin tin, unless your recipe says otherwise. It just feels as though a mini version may not turn out as well. I guess I keep visualizing mini hockey pucks. If you try such a thing, do let me know. I’m curious.
You can grease your muffin tin with a nonstick cooking spray made for baking or you can grab the cupcake wrappers.
Without a big laundry list of ingredients, it doesn’t take long to whip up these pantry-friendly brownie cupcakes. Isn’t that swell? It leaves you plenty of time then to peruse this ginormous list of brownie cookbooks.
How Long Do You Bake a Brownie Cupcake?
Just like with brownies and cupcakes as separate items, you don’t want to overbake your combination brownie and cupcake either. Baking sucks the moisture out of baked goods. You already knew that, even if you didn’t realize it. That’s why we test our goods with a tester to see if they are done or not, like if the item is set and if it’s baked through.
For brownie cupcakes, you want them to have a crumb or two, nothing gushy or mushy. Zero crumbs usually means overbaked. Your recipe, if you are using one other than those below, will tell you what to expect. Overbaking, as you probably know from experience, creates a dry finished by-product. It’s also incredibly disappointing. Good thing it’s easy to avoid.
You shouldn’t need more than 25 minutes to bake a cupcake, max — and that’s at a 325* F temperature. The other recipe uses a 350* F temp and it baked roughly the same time. Different combos of ingredients bake in different ways.
What’s the Difference Between Using Cocoa Powder or Using Melted Chocolate in these Recipes?
If you’ve already read how to bake brownies, then you already know everything about the difference between cocoa powder and melted chocolate, and can feel free to skip past.
But. If you haven’t read my massive, dare I say EPIC article on brownies, then you can head over. I’ll wait. Or, you can get the gist of it right here.
Are you ready for a surprising little fact? Cocoa powder packs more chocolate flavor into your baked good recipes. I know. I was surprised too when I first saw that little fact. Basically, cocoa powder-based brownies result in a softer, more chocolate-tasting brownie. Melted chocolate, on the other hand, gives fudgy brownie lovers that chewy texture, with less sweetness.
The extra flour in the recipe below, however, makes this recipe for cupcake brownies using melted chocolate perfect for cakey brownie lovers (like me). They are amazing in every way (with beautiful craggle tops).
Brownie Cupcakes (Using Melted Chocolate) Recipe
- Muffin tin
- 1 Cup Butter
- 1 (Generous) Cup Semi-Sweet, Dark, or White Chocolate Chips
- 4 Large Eggs
- 1 1/2 Cups Sugar
- 1 Cup Flour
- 1/4 teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 325* oven.
- Line pan with cupcake liners or grease the pan (I used Baker's Joy).
- Melt together Butter and Chocolate Chips in saucepan. Stir until smooth.Let cool! If you DO NOT let it cool, the mixture will COOK your egg whites and leave a stringy white swirl in your brownies. It should NOT be hot.
- Combine Eggs, Sugar, and Vanilla. Mix well.
- Mix in the COOLED Chocolate Mixture.
- Mix in Flour BUT do not completely mix in the Flour before you add in the Chocolate Chips.
- Combine ingredients until smooth. Do Not overmix. Once it's smooth—you're done!
- Fill your cupcake cups half full.
- Bake 20-30 minutes or until a tester comes out with a few dry crumbs.
- Remove from pan to cool so your cupcakes don't keep baking and over-bake.
A Fast-to-Fix Kind of Cupcake
Sometimes, melting chocolate just feels like a big, extra mess and a time hog. It’s not. I know, it’s not. It’s, what, a pot and a dry measuring cup, and a wooden spoon? But, I can’t help feeling that way every now and again. When I do, I’ll turn to these little chocolaty treats.
I know there is more chocolate flavor in recipes using cocoa powder, and if I want to frost the top of a cupcake brownie — this recipe would be perfect. Look at those flat tops.
This recipe came from this book. Wait. Two books? Well, The 150 Best Cupcakes by Julie Hasson (2012) is a newer, larger version of The 125 Best Cupcakes (2005). While the table of contents may be less than helpful, flip to the handy dandy index to sort through the ingredients you want to play with and the cupcake recipes that match.
You won’t find many images. Twenty-four total images in the new 2012 edition are a bump up from the sixteen in the previous version). There is a slight bit of an interior redo but the bigger, different is the addition of twenty-five vegan recipes.
If that’s not your thing, go for the older cookbook (if you don’t mind the cover or the inside). I think you will still gain value from either of these cookbooks if cupcake baking is your thing (as it should be or may soon be).
My (now ex) husband had already eaten two of them (like I’m not going to notice, or something). Was it worth frosting the remaining brownie cupcakes? Well, he ate two without saying anything. That’s a good sign. I encourage my fam to TELL ME if something I’ve made is missing something or lacking — and then to help figure out what. They do the same. It’s a valuable skill I want to develop in my sons.
I considered adding a dollop of piped buttercream right on top in the middle of the cupcake and then scattering a few sprinkles over the top. Wouldn’t that be sweet?
But then I decided:
- These brownie cupcakes don’t need anything.
- If I DID frost them, I would need to rethink how I would store them.
- Although images would look so cute, it’s kind of nice to just make something and eat it without extra fussing.
If you decide you absolutely must have frosting, and hey, I don’t blame you one bit (we may be soul mates or something).
In fact, I am sort of wishing we were neighbors. I did make a second batch a month or two or so later and frosted them. I just piped a simple froofy thing using a large decorating tip.
Brownie Cupcakes (Using Cocoa Powder and Chocolate Chips) Recipe
- Muffin tin
- 3/4 Cup Flour
- 1/2 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
- 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1/4 teaspoon Salt
- 2/3 Cup Sugar
- 2/3 Cup Brown Sugar Packed
- 3/4 Cup Butter Melted and Cooled
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon Almond Extract
- 3 Large Eggs
- 2/3 Cup Semisweet Chocolate Chips
- 325* oven.
- Line pan.
- In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.
- In large bowl, combine sugar, brown sugar, and butter.
- Mix in the vanilla extract and the almond extract.
- Add eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition.
- Carefully add in the flour mixture, and stir to combine. Once you see only a few flour-y streaks, tread slowly. You don't want to overmix the batter.
- Stir in the chocolate chips.
- Bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a couple of crumbs. A crumb-free toothpick = overbaked.
- Remove from the oven and cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes (away from the heat source).
- Pop the cupcakes out of the pan to cool completely. Store in a covered container when completely cooled.
Do You Frost a Brownie Cupcake?
When you see “cupcake,” do you think “frosting?” Me too, of course. It’s mostly why I eat cupcakes in the first place. Cupcakes are a vehicle for frosting, are they not? But in this case, you have choices. These aren’t your typical cupcake. Why treat it like one?
I admit, the first time I made brownie cupcakes, I was all ready to start making buttercream. I was grabbing the butter and everything. But then — I hesitated. Hey, I’m surprised too. I mean, I could eat frosting with a spoon. Okay, yes, sometimes I do (I especially love using a little dab of leftover buttercream over ice cream).
Should Brownie Cupcakes Have Frosting? Guess what? You don’t have to get fancy. Brownie cupcakes don’t need to have frosting. If you are going to pipe on your icing, then you can use whichever recipe you like more. When I remade the brownie cupcakes, I added frosting to them. Just for kicks.
Can You Fill a Brownie Cupcake?
Yes, you can fill a brownie cupcake. In a way. Brownies aren’t like a cupcake. I mean, these recipes don’t make a tall, lofty cupcake. If you press into a brownie, it doesn’t hold together well.
There is a better idea.
Take a look at the chocolate ganache brownie recipe below. Even if you don’t use that recipe, it will give you a good idea for how to “fill” a brownie cupcake.
If you are taking these brownie cupcakes (brupcakes?) somewhere and those chocolatey handheld delights must dress to impress, use the recipe below. It’s pretty, impressive, and delicious.
Chocolate Ganache Filled Brownie Cupcakes
- Muffin tin
Brownie Cupcake Recipe
- 1/3 Cup (2 ounces) Bittersweet Chocolate Chips (I used Milk Chocolate Chips)
- 1/3 Cup (1 ounce) Dutch-processed Cocoa Powder
- 1/2 Cup Boiling Water
- 2 Cups (14 ounces) Sugar
- 2/3 Cup Vegetable Oil (Canola is fine)
- 2 Large Eggs
- 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
- 1 1/3 Cups (6 2/3 ounces) Flour
- 3/4 teaspoon Salt
- 1 1/3 Cups (8 ounces) Bittersweet Chocolate (I used Milk Chocolate Chips)
- 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
- 1 teaspoon Coarse Salt (the original article author suggests Maldon sea salt)
Peanut Butter Ganache
Make Brownie Cupcakes
- 350* oven. Prep muffin tin with liners or a spray for baking.
- Set Chocolate Chips and Cocoa Powder in a large bowl. Pour boiling water over the items and, using a whisk, stir until the chips are COMPLETELY melted. It will become smooth and lump-free.
- Whisk in Sugar, Oil, Eggs, and the Vanilla Extract until the mixture is combined. You don't need to beat the heck out of it.
- Now, add in the Flour and the Salt. Whisk to combine and, once you see a few streaks of flour, tread carefully. You want to incorporate the ingredients without overmixing. Stop as soon as the streaks are gone!
- Grab your 1/4 cup measuring cup (the one made for dry ingredients) to dole out the batter among the muffin cups. Go back and refill the cups equally with any remaining batter.
- Bake for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out with a couple of dampened crumbs (NOT mushy or gloppy).
- Cool on wire rack in the tin for 15 minutes. DO NOT REMOVE FROM THE TIN. Grab your 1 1/4" diameter shot glass (or other object of similar size), and give it a quick spray with your baking spray. With the cupcakes STILL IN THE TIN, while holding onto the top of the shot glass, press gently into the middle of the cupcake, about 1" deep. If you need to reapply the spray at any point, do so.
- After creating indentations in all 12 of the brownie cupcakes, remove them from the tin and leave them on the wire rack to finish cooling. This will take roughly one hour.
Make Your Ganache (Pick Your Poison: Peanut Butter or Chocolate)
- For Chocolate Ganache: Melt together the Chocolate Chips and the Heavy Cream in the microwave at 50% powder, whisking often until melted. Or, use a double boiler (or a bowl set on top of gently simmering water, with the water NOT touching the base of the bowl), and whisk occasionally until melted.
- Use 1 Tablespoon ganache per brownie cupcake. After filling the cupcakes with ganache, sprinkle with the Maldon Sea Salt or Jimmies, as desired. Let the Ganache set for four hours.
- For Peanut Butter Ganache: Melt together the Milk Chocolate Chips and the Peanut Butter in the microwave at 50% powder, whisking often until melted. Or, use a double boiler (or a bowl set on top of gently simmering water, with the water NOT touching the base of the bowl), and whisk occasionally until melted. Stir in 1/8 teaspoon Salt.
- Use 1 Tablespoon ganache per brownie cupcake. After filling the cupcakes with ganache; sprinkle with Jimmies, sprinkles, or leave plain; as desired. Let the ganache set for four hours.
Can You Freeze Brownie Cupcakes?
Absolutely. You can treat a brownie cupcake like any other cupcake. Freeze away.
After your brupcake is cooled. Completely cooled. You can pack it up like you would any other brownie. Wrap it in saran wrap, use freezer containers, you know the drill. Brownies made history for their portability. These travel too.
Just don’t forget to mark the date on the container. While it won’t go bad, it will end up losing flavor and the texture will change over time. How much time that will take depends on your freezer. For more about that, take a look back at the “how to” brownies post linked above.
Pick Your Poison
Or, you know, your favorite type of brownie. If you tend to like a cakier brownie, then you’ll likely tend to prefer a cakier brownie. Use the same sort of recipe. Pay attention to whether your favorite recipes use cocoa powder or melted chocolate or a mixture of both.
Consider if you need to travel too. The ganache-filled brownie cupcakes set wonderfully, while any brownie cupcake frosted with buttercream will need a little more tender, loving care.