2 cup sugar
plus 2 tbsp
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
plus 2 tbsp
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
2 eggs
1 1/2 lbs cream cheese
room temperature
1/2 lb unsalted butter
room temperature
2 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
or ½ a vanilla bean, scraped
  • electric hand mixer
  • mixing bowls
  • Cupcake tins
  • wire rack
For the Cake
Preheat the oven to 350F (or 325F convection bake). Line muffin pans with paper cupcake liners.
Sift sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds, scrape down the bowl, then beat 2 minutes more. Slowly add the boiling water, stirring gently to combine. Let the batter sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before portioning to let the dry ingredients evenly absorb the moisture (the cupcakes will bake more evenly and have a better crumb).
Fill each cupcake liner three-quarters full. Bake until the tops are firm and a tester comes out clean, about 18 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool completely directly on the rack before frosting.
For the Frosting
With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth. Gradually add soft butter in pieces and mix until smooth and well blended. With the mixer off, add sifted powdered sugar, vanilla and mix slowly at first until powdered sugar is incorporated, then mix on medium speed until smooth. Use immediately.