Inspired by the Starbucks Double Chocolate Chip Frappuccino, these insanely chocolaty cupcakes are flavored with just a hint of coffee, bursting with chocolate pieces, then crowned with a lusciously whipped frosting.
There are squiggly little red lines all over my computer right now as I try to figure out the correct way to spell Frappu— Frappe—Frappuc (omg… one “c” or two?)… Frappuccino without looking it up. Well there it is, I finally had to give up and Google it, and good thing I did because evidently my computer doesn’t recognize frappuccino as a real word, anyway (it keeps suggesting cappuccino”), so those squiggly lines aren’t going anywhere.
Spelling (and misspellings) aside, while it’s pretty well-documented that I don’t like coffee, every few weeks I’m struck by an insufferable craving for a frappuccino… but there’s a very particular kind that I crave every time.
I’m absolutely head over heels for Starbucks Double Chocolate Chip Frappuccinos. Those ridiculous, fancily-named drinks are irresistible with their rich chocolate with just the slightest hint of espresso (though of course you can get it without)… and that chocolate drizzled whipped cream just takes the cake.
Every time I sip on one it takes me back to being a kid, sipping on a big glass of highly-coveted cold chocolate milk (before I decided that I hated drinking milk, chocolate or not).
While I could’ve tried my hand at replicating the frappi-howeveryouspellit myself, I fancy myself as a baker rather than a barista, so cupcakes it was.
To make the oh-so-chocolaty cupcake portion of this recipe, I slightly modified my recipe for my favorite, one-bowl chocolate cupcakes.
While the original chocolate cupcake recipe is pretty much perfect as-is, I made a few tweaks to make them copycat-frappuccino-worthy. Each cupcake is flecked with tiny bits of finely chopped real dark chocolate, and the flavor is further intensified with a few heaping spoonfuls of instant coffee for a subtle hint of espresso flavor in each melt-in-your-mouth bite. These additions make for decadent, richly flavored cupcakes that are packed with flavor, but aren’t at all dense.
Even though these cupcakes were extremely well-received by everyone who tried them, it was the frosting that really had everyone buzzing.
This light, mock-whipped cream frosting is made out of homemade, hand-whipped cream (don’t worry, it’s easy to do!) which is then folded in a mixture of cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla. The cream cheese does an excellent job of keeping the frosting from becoming too sweet (or too bland), while still making it light as a feather and airy. Unlike regular whipped cream, it also stays nice and stabilized for at least two days after it’s been piped (I can’t vouch for any longer than that, as it was a struggle to get a cupcake to last to the two-days post-baking point without being eaten).
Also, even though they’re called “chocolate chip” frappe–whatchamacall’ems, the chocolate pieces inside a frapp
euccino are smaller than your average chocolate chip, so we’re using finely chopped dark chocolate pieces here instead.
Make sure to chop them splinter-fine for flecks of melty chocolate in every bite.
Copycat Starbucks Double Chocolate Chip Frappuccino Cupcakes
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cups natural unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- ⅔ cup ⅔ canola oil vegetable oil would also be fine
- 1 cup milk
- 2 eggs lightly beaten (preferably room temperature)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup very hot water
- 2 Tbsp instant coffee
- 6 oz premium dark chocolate chopped into very small pieces.* I use a Ghirardelli baking bar
- 8 oz cream cheese softened to room temperature
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar divided
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 cups heavy cream
- Chocolate syrup for drizzling
- 2 oz dark chocolate finely chopped or mini chocolate chips . if desired
- Preheat oven to 350F and line muffin tin with cupcake liners (or lightly grease and flour).
- In large bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Stir in canola oil and milk, stirring until combined.
- Add eggs, one at a time, stirring after each addition.
- Stir in vanilla extract.
- Measure out your hot water (carefully!) and stir the instant coffee into the hot water.
- Add the water to the batter and stir until the mixture is evenly combined (it will be a thin batter. When you first add the water/coffee to the batter will separate a bit, so stir until it is even in texture and smooth. Be careful with the hot water as it may splatter as it is stirred, and it will be hot).
- Fold in finely chopped chocolate pieces.
- Fill prepared muffin tin cavities just over ⅔ of the way full. Occasionally scrape the bottom of the bowl and stir to evenly-redistribute any chocolate pieces that may have settled on the bottom of the bowl.
- Bake at 350F for 18-22 minutes (use the toothpick test to check).
- Allow cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
- Stir together cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar, and vanilla extract until well-combined. Set aside.
- In a clean, dry, separate bowl, combine your heavy cream and the remaining ½ cup powdered sugar. Using a mixer with a whisk attachment, beat on high-speed just until stiff peaks form (stiff peaks exist when you can dip a knife or spatula into the mixture and the peaks that form when you remove the utensil hold their shape without the point of the peak significantly folding or receding back into the mixture -- a small amount of folding or receding is OK, don't overbeat the cream!)
- Fold your cream cheese mixture into the whipping cream mixture. With the mixer on low-speed, stir until well-combined (again, try not to over-whisk).
- Pipe frosting generously onto cooled cupcakes.
- Drizzle with chocolate syrup and garnish with chopped chocolate or mini chips, if desired.
- Serve and enjoy!
**This recipe makes enough batter for just over 24 cupcakes. You could either discard the excess batter (blasphemy!) or wait for your pans to cool and bake the extras. In my case, I used the leftover batter to make a few mini cupcakes.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.
Other Recipes to Try
Dark Chocolate Mini Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting
Petite Vanilla Bean and Almond Scones
Easy One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes
Hi. These look amazing and I can’t wait to make them. Could I use milk chocolate instead of dark chocolate as I find it too strong. Also could I grate the chocolate since you’re cutting it so small. Thanks🙂
Hi Zoe! I think those changes will work just fine. 🙂
OMG! These are the best ever!! I didn’t have enough milk but I did have a bottle of mocha frappuccino soooo I substitute the milk and water plus added espresso powder. Also put espresso powder in the frosting. Better than drinking the frapp!!!!
Sugar Spun Run
Way to improvise, LW! I am so glad that the cupcakes turned out so well for you and that you enjoyed them! Thanks for commenting. 🙂
Oh boy these sound yummy. Wonder if you could use espresso powder instead of the instant coffee? I made my own powder and it helps bring out the chocolate flavors.
Sugar Spun Run
Hi, LW! Someone else mentioned that they used espresso powder and had success. I personally have not tried, so I’d love to know how it turns out for you if you do. 🙂
Well first I will say, I GOT 31 CUPCAKES! 😱
I honestly didn’t even look at how many it would make but wow, I am currently freezing the ones that aren’t fitting in my cake stand (hopefully the tip I read will help preserve them since the four of us should not be consuming so many…even though I would in a heartbeat!)!
Secondly, I don’t taste the coffee at all so I would suggest to anyone wanting a coffee taste to use more than what’s directed (same amount of water though) or a stronger freshly brewed coffee.
Having said all that, this is a really delicious cupcake! I love sweets and I am a chocolate addict but I never ever look forward to eating cupcakes because they’re always so bland, dry, too heavy, and spongy, this is the exact opposite! It’s hard to not eat them quickly since they are not so dense. And the frosting, wow, it’s perfect! Again, not a heavy cream cheese frosting and not just a bland whipped cream!
This is an absolutely perfect, chocolatey, better-than-a-cupcake recipe I have ever had!
*The directions are also very easy to follow*
(PS I wrote this April 6, 2016 but had to save it in my notes because for some reason it would post lol, only just resurfaced so I could make it again!)
I am so glad you enjoyed the cupcakes so much, Cortney! Thank you for the wonderful comment. 🙂
Can I just use coffee from my pot or does it have to be instant?
Substitute the hot water in the recipe for hot coffee from the pot (and omit or reduce the instant coffee) and you’ll be good to go! I hope you love the cupcakes! 🙂
I’ve had these before and they’re delicious! My question is, do you think they would freeze ok? I want to make them for a bridal shower next Saturday… I’m thinking of freezing the unfrosted cupcakes and topping them off the day of or the day before.
Hi Karis! Yes these will freeze well. Enjoy! 🙂
Oh my gosh! These are sooooooooooooo good! my family loves them to! Unfortunately, they aren’t all gone yet because I haven’t been able to have one for the last few days because my head is clogged!
Anyhoo, the point is, these are one of the best things I’ve tried in ages!
Thank you so much, Corrin! I am so glad you enjoyed the cupcakes! I hope you feel better soon. 🙂
I HAVE to try these!! O_O I’m not a Starbucks person, but I love coffee flavored things! 🙂
I have to many things I have to try from this website! I DON”T KNOW WHERE TO START! ;-;
I think you are going to love these, Corrin! This is a great place to start. 🙂
Oh. My. Gosh. Looking at these pictures my mouth is practically watering!!! I cannot wait to taste these!!! I never leave a review without trying it, but something compelled me to comment. My goodness, I’m dying, I can’t look at these pictures anymore! Why don’t I have the ingredients to whip these up?! You’re torturous, Sam! Lol!! JK!
Dying ever so slowly,
Hi Selah! I guess you have to go get some ingredients! 😉 I hope you love them. 🙂
Can I use mini dark chocolate chips in the cupcakes instead of the baking bar?
My only concern is that they won’t quite melt into the mixture the same way and could settle to the bottom of the cupcakes rather than being dispersed throughout the batter.