Blackout Cupcakes

I held Sunday taste tests with friends that grew up in Brooklyn in order to re-create the famous blackout cake from Ebinger’s bakery. Here is the result with chocolate cake, chocolate pudding icing, and a chocolate crumb topping.

Reprinted with permission from Baking for Friends, ©2012 Tate’s Bake Shop, LLC.

Blackout Cupcakes

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    Softened butter and all-purpose flour for the pans 2 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
    3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped 20 tablespoons (2 1/2 sticks) salted butter, at room temperature
    2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped 3 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
    2 cups cake flour (not self-rising), preferably unbleached 1 cup boiling water
    1/4 cup natural cocoa powder 1/2 cup cornstarch
    1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda 1 1/2 cups water
    1 teaspoon instant espresso powder 1 1/4 cups sugar
    1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
    1/2 cup buttermilk 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
    3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 2 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped


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    • 1

      For the Super-Moist Chocolate Cake: In a microwave oven on Medium (50%), in a microwave-safe bowl, heat 2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate and 3 ounces unsweetened chocolage, stirring at 30-second intervals, until just melted, about 2 minutes. Let cool until tepid but still fluid.

    • 2

      Sift the flour, natural cocoa powder, baking soda, espresso powder, and salt in a medium bowl. In a glass measuring cup, stir together the buttermilk and 2 teaspoons vanilla. In a large bowl, beat the brown sugar and 2 sticks (16 tablespoons) butter with an electric mixer set on high speed until the mixture is pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. One at a time, beat in the eggs and yolk, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Beat in the tepid chocolate. With the machine on low speed, in thirds beat in the flour mixture, alternating with 2 equal additions of the buttermilk mixture, beating until smooth and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Gradually beat in the boiling water.

    • 3

      Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line fifteen 3-by-1 ½-inch muffin cups with paper liners. Lightly butter a 9-by-2-inch round cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper or waxed paper. Dust the inside with flour and tap out the excess.

    • 4

      Using a 1/3-cup food portion scoop or a spoon, transfer the batter to the muffin cups, filling them about three-quarters full. Spread the remaining batter in the cake pan. Put the pans in the oven and bake until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Remove the muffin pans and set on wire cooling racks. Continue baking the cake until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 5 minutes more. Set the pan on a wire cooling rack. Let cool in the pans on the racks for 10 minutes.

    • 5

      Remove the cupcakes from the pans and transfer to the racks. Run a knife around the inside of the cake pan to release the cake, invert onto a rack, and remove the pan and paper. Let the cupcakes and cake cool completely.

    • 6

      For the Chocolate Pudding Icing: In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch into ¼ cup of the water to make a smooth paste. In a medium saucepan, whisk the remaining 1¼ cups of water with the sugar, Dutch-processed cocoa powder, and corn syrup. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Whisk the cornstarch mixture again, and stir into the cocoa mixture. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring often, until the mixture is as thick as pudding and very dark brown, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in 4 tablespoons butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add the chocolate. Let stand for 2 minutes and stir until the chocolate is melted. Pour into a small bowl and press plastic wrap directly against the surface of the chocolate mixture. Refrigerate until chilled.

    • 7

      Crumble the cake well with your hands. Put into a pie plate or shallow bowl.

    • 8

      Stir the icing well to smooth it out. Using a 1/3-cup food portion scoop, mound icing on top of each cupcake. Gently spread the icing to the edges of each cupcake to shape the icing into a dome. Roll the edges of each cupcake in the crumbs to coat, then the top. (The cupcakes can be refrigerated for up to 1 day. Let stand at room temperature for 2 hours before serving.)

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