Chocolate Sour Cream Cupcakes with Brown Butter Frosting

If you’ve never baked with browned butter, you are in for a treat here.  It’s quite amazing how much flavor can be added to a simple buttercream just by cooking the butter until the milk solids are a toasty brown. And may I suggest that you use one of the European butters that are widely available now (i.e. Plugra, Kerrygold) to really take it over the top!

I’ve paired this wonderful frosting with a very simple cocoa based chocolate cupcake that can be thrown together with a small saucepan, a bowl and a whisk.  The flavor is mild, similar to a red velvet cake, and the crumb is tender and moist.

It’s an easy bit of baking to warm the soul (and the kitchen) on this frosty day in January.

Chocolate Sour Cream Cupcakes

Serves 20-24
By author margaret at The Right Recipe


  • 2 sticks butter (unsalted)
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 Large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 12-count cupcake pans with liners.
2. In a small saucepan, combine the butter, cocoa, salt and water and cook, stirring, until melted and combined. Remove from heat and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and baking soda. Add half of the melted butter mixture and whisk until completely blended. Add the remaining butter mixture and whisk. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking each to blend completely before adding the next. Whisk in the sour cream and vanilla until smooth.
4. Fill the cupcake pans, about 2/3 of the way full. Bake until cupcakes are set, about 10-12 minutes. (the centers will be puffed and bounce back gently when touched) Cool completely before icing.

Browned Butter Frosting

Serves enough for 24 cupcakes
By author margaret at The Right Recipe


  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (cut into pieces)
  • 8oz cream cheese (softened)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar


1. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat and cook until the milk solids at the bottom of the pan turn a rich brown color. The butter will take on a nutty smell. Watch carefully that the butter does not actually burn. Pour into a large bowl and chill in the refrigerator until it hardens to the consistency of softened butter.
2. Beat the browned butter with an electric hand mixer at medium speed until smooth. Beat in the cream cheese and the vanilla. Slowly sift in the powdered sugar while mixing to make a spreadable frosting.


  • Reply
    Thalia @ butter and brioche
    January 11, 2015 at 4:54 am

    These chocolate and sour cream cupcakes just look incredible! I am loving how you have photographed them especially.. the images are just making me crave one to devour even more.

    • Reply
      January 16, 2015 at 9:45 pm

      Thanks for the kind words. I’ve enjoyed visiting your site and am anxious to try your Cookies and Creme Macarons
      They look amazing. I will let you know how they turn out.

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