After my “chocolate cake with a twist” cupcake challenge, I felt inspired to try out an idea.
I wanted a lot of chocolate and a lot of pistachios.
Quadruple chocolate pistachio cupcakes.
A few different parts come together to form a sweet, nutty, and decadent dessert. It’s delicious!
I may be biased, but I think these cupcakes could easily be served during late-night dinners at a classy restaurant.
The flavors are amazing together, and all the separate parts are easy to make.
Here’s what they’re made up of:
- A (super yummy) chocolate cupcake.
- A filling of homemade Lindt milk chocolate pistachio truffles.
- A chocolate olive oil mousse frosting.
- A topping of chopped pistachios and leftover finely ground pistachios.
I used a Martha Stewart cake recipe. The result was chocolatey, moist, and soft.
Yet, it’s a firm cake that holds up well for fillings and heavier frostings.
The only thing I changed about the recipe was the pistachio flour.
I replaced about ¼ of the flour with finely ground pistachios to give that extra little kick of nutty flavor.
While I could have used ganache filling for a molten cake kind of thing, I really wanted a truffle.
They’re super easy to make, and you can still get the molten cake effect when you’re ready to eat them.
Refrigerate your cupcakes overnight. Then, put one straight into the microwave for 10 to 14 seconds for a gooey, molten middle.
I used a chocolate olive oil mousse that’s actually supposed to be served in glasses.
It’s a real mousse!
But it works great as a frosting too.
This high-class topping makes these cupcakes an adult delicacy that shouldn’t be wasted on the kids.
This dessert may be restaurant special-of-the-day quality, but it’s super easy to make.
If you’ve made cupcakes, even out of a box, you can make these.
These are just brief instructions. For the full list of ingredients and detailed step-by-step instructions, scroll to the recipe card at the end of the article.
How to make the cupcakes
In one bowl, whisk together cocoa and hot water until smooth.
In another bowl, whisk together flour, ground pistachios, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
Melt some butter with sugar in a saucepan and stir to combine. Beat the mixture, adding in vanilla and then the cocoa mixture until well combined.
Add in half the flour mixture and sour cream and beat again.
Cook the cupcakes and then cool them on a wire rack.
Once cool, cut a hole in the cupcake for the truffle. Once you’ve made the truffles and the frosting, you can assemble the cupcakes.
Note: if you have a favorite cupcake recipe, feel free to use it here! Any cupcakes will work.
How to make the truffles
Melt chocolate and cream together in a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water.
Stir in vanilla, then let it cool
When the mixture is firm, use a melon baller or two teaspoons to scoop the truffle mixture out.
Form them into balls, then roll them over chopped pistachios. You have truffles!
How to make the frosting
Place chocolate in a heat-proof bowl over simmering water and stir until melted. Stir in olive oil, then remove from the heat and cool for 5 minutes.
In a chilled bowl, whip cream until it stands in soft peaks.
Fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture until combined – and this is your mousse/frosting.
Substitutions and variations
Cupcakes, like most desserts, are pretty adaptable.
You can switch out your cake batter, frostings, and fillings for something entirely new.
Check out these substitutions to see what might suit your palate.
- Different frosting: If chocolate mousse isn’t your thing, a simple chocolate ganache or buttercream would do well. A super easy alternative to other frostings is marshmallow fluff frosting.
- Different filling: Instead of using the truffle, you can fill the middle with ganache for that molten cake experience. You can also try chocolate pudding, caramel, buttercream, or more bits of crushed-up pistachios.
- Different cupcakes: Any cupcake recipe will work! If you’ve got a favorite, go ahead and give it a spin with the rest of this recipe. While chocolate pairs well with pistachio, there are some other nice combinations. Citrus, fruity flavors, mint, and savory butter flavors all work well. If you don’t like pistachios, then do your own thing! This is a great framework for making delicious cupcakes with any kind of filling and icing.
Quadruple Chocolate Pistachio Cupcakes
For the cupcakes
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cup hot water
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup finely ground pistachios
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon + a pinch salt
- 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 1/2 tablespoon 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup sour cream room temperature
For the truffles
- 100 g best quality milk chocolate chopped
- 35 ml double cream
- 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- about 20g chopped pistachios
For the frosting
- 100 g dark chocolate 50% cocoa, chopped
- 50 g dark chocolate 70% cocoa, chopped
- 100 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup 250ml thickened cream, chilled
- chopped pistachios and finely ground pistachios to sprinkle
For the cupcakes
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.
- Whisk together cocoa and hot water until smooth. In another bowl, whisk together flour, pistachios, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
- Melt butter with sugar in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring to combine.
- Remove from heat, and pour into a mixing bowl. With an electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat until mixture is cooled, 4 to 5 minutes.
- Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
- Add vanilla, then cocoa mixture, and beat until combined.
- Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the sour cream, and beating until just combined after each.
- Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three- quarters full.
- Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool 15 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely.
- Using the cone method, cut out a hole in the center of the cupcakes then stuff in a truffle. Cover the truffle with a trimmed part of the cupcake you cut out, if desired.
- Frost cupcakes with chocolate olive oil mousse, then sprinkle with chopped pistachios.
For the truffles
- Melt the chocolate and cream together in a glass bowl set over a small pan of simmering water.
- Stir in the vanilla, then pour into a small bowl. Once cool, put in the fridge to chill for 2-3 hours.
- When firm, use a melon baller or 2 teaspoons to scoop out and form balls, then roll each truffle in the chopped pistachios.
For the frosting
- Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water (don’t let the bowl touch the water) and stir until melted.
- Stir in the olive oil, then remove from heat to cool for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a chilled bowl using chilled beaters, whip the cream to soft peaks (I used Katie, my KitchenAid mixer to do this!).
- Gently fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture until combined.
- Spoon into a piping bag fitted with the tip of your choice and pipe onto cupcakes.
- Sprinkle with pistachios.